Colm Wilkinson enlists West End and Broadway stars to train young Irish actors

Colm Wilkinson enlists West End and Broadway stars to train young Irish actors
Dave Quane, Bridget Salaja, David Shannon, Séimí Campbell, Colm Wilkinson, Deborah Kelleher and Rua Barron pictured at the launch

A new company aiming to support and train young Irish actors is to bring musical theatre masterclasses with West End and Broadway stars to cities such as Cork and Dublin.

Theatre legend Colm Wilkinson launched the Irish Youth Musical Theatre (IYMT) in recent days and has enlisted a number of well-known Irish stars to deliver masterclasses across the country.

Dublin-born Wilkinson rose to fame internationally in the 1980s when he originated the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and for starring as the titular role in the original Canadian production of the Phantom of the Opera as well as originating the role in the workshop a year before its West End opening. He also represented Ireland in the 1978 Eurovision Song Contest as 'C.T. Wilkinson', earning fifth place with 'Born To Sing'.

Bridget Salaja, Séimí Campbell, Deborah Kelleher, Rua Barron, Colm Wilkinson, David Shannon, and Dave Quane
Bridget Salaja, Séimí Campbell, Deborah Kelleher, Rua Barron, Colm Wilkinson, David Shannon, and Dave Quane

The IYMT will offer professional training opportunities to young actors aged between 14 and 24, with an initial 'West End Studio Series' that will visit Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Cork and Galway in the coming months.

Irish stars of West End and Broadway taking on ambassador and tutor roles include:

  • Rachel Tucker, who starred in Come From Away and Wicked;
  • David Shannon, who has starred in Phantom of the Opera and Matilda, will deliver an audition masterclass in Galway on March 8;
  • Killian Donnelly, known for Les Misérables and Kinky Boots and who will be performing in Ireland this year as The Phantom in the touring production of Phantom of the Opera, will be delivering an acting through song and audition technique masterclass on March 22 in Dublin and;
  • Fra Fee, previously seen in The Ferryman and the 2012 film version of Les Misérables, will teach the acting through song masterclass in Cork on April 26.
  • David Shannon encouraged young actors of all abilities and from musical societies across the country to join them for these workshops.

    "It’s great that we finally have a national training company based on excellence, inclusivity and creativity," he said.

    Deborah Kelleher, David Shannon, Colm Wilkinson, Dave Quane, and Séimí Campbell
    Deborah Kelleher, David Shannon, Colm Wilkinson, Dave Quane, and Séimí Campbell

    The cross border initiative is run in partnership with the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM), under the patronage of Wilkinson, and the artistic direction of Irish London-based theatre director, Séimí Campbell.

    "As the National Conservatoire for Music in Ireland, the Royal Irish Academy of Music is delighted to be partnered with this exciting new initiative, as together, we will offer intensive training to the best young musical theatre talent in Ireland, by the best industry professionals - both Irish and international," said Deborah Kelleher, director of RIAM.

    For more information, see iymt.ie.

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