The Millennium Forum today celebrated the successful first year of its ‘Creative School Partnership’.  This two-year project, in partnership with the Arts Council NI through the National Lottery, the Executive Office through the Urban Villages Initiative and the Education Authority, was launched earlier this year and sees pupils from Year 9 and 10 at St Joseph’s Boys School in the city develop skills whilst gaining invaluable access to the North West’s leading arts venue. It aims to give those students who wouldn’t usually have access to the Arts a deeper insight and understanding of the benefits that theatre, Arts and culture can provide. The partnership not only provides invaluable access to the Arts, but it also enables the boys to use the Arts to support their own emotional wellbeing.

Since starting the project, the boys have already experienced exclusive backstage tours of the theatre, participated in a Stage Combat workshop, an acting masterclass with one of the cast from the West End musical, Sister Act, a dance masterclass with Shrek The Musical’s Dance Captain and many Q&A sessions with the cast of some of the Forum’s biggest touring productions (Sister Act, Shrek and The Woman In Black).

The students celebrated their successful first half of this brand new project with a chilled out event at the Millennium Forum where they were presented with certificates, showcased some of their creative videos and enjoyed pizzas for all their hard work achieved. 

Cara McCartney, Development & Creative Engagement Manager said:

“We’re absolutely thrilled that St Joseph’s Boys School has teamed up with the Millennium Forum for their creative learning adventure. This perfectly aligns with our goal of introducing young minds to the world of the arts. We are passionate about nurturing young talents and we pride ourselves in developing close partnerships with our local schools community. We know that when young people dive into the arts, they discover the power of self-expression and build resilience, often sparking a lifelong love for the theatre and the arts. I am confident that this project will positively impact the lives of the young people involved and we look forward to working with them for the remainder of this project.

Throughout the duration of the project, these pupils will get to experience the magic of West End shows, take part in tailor-made workshops, explore the behind-the-scenes wonders of the Millennium Forum and learn from the very best in the industry – professional performers who will inspire and guide them. These young talents will also have numerous opportunities to join award winning Millennium Forum youth projects.”

Ciara McCallion, Head of Drama at St Joseph’s Boys School added:

“This Creative Schools project has influenced each and every one of our pupils.  The Millennium Forum has welcomed our students with open arms and offered them all a chance to fully embrace the Arts at their local theatre. All of the boys have grown in confidence and now have an insight and understanding on everything that goes into producing theatre.”

Patricia Lavery, Head of Participatory Arts at the Arts Council, also commented:

“St Joseph’s Boys School is one of eleven schools currently taking part in the Creative Schools Partnership. They’ve been involved with the programme since it launched in 2017 and in the years since, it has been incredible to see how the school has really embraced creativity to help the boys develop a wide range of skill sets, from building literacy and social skills, to connecting with their community. We congratulate them on all their work achieved since starting the project and we wish them all the very best for the remainder of their Creative Schools journey and the work planned with the team at the Millennium Forum.”

For more information on how to become involved with the Millennium Forum Schools & Outreach projects, contact Mags Anderson, Education Officer at the Millennium Forum on 02871 272776 or email magsc@millenniumforum.co.uk


Photo caption:  Students from St Joseph’s Boys School who participated in the Creative Schools Partnerships at the Millennium Forum.  Also in the picture are Mags Anderson (Millennium Forum), Ciara McCallion (Head of Drama) and Teaching Assistants, Gary Breslin and Cathan Parkhill.