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Lyric actors to tread boards at prestigious drama schools

A record number of young people from a leading Northern Ireland theatre's flagship training programme have won places at prestigious drama schools this year. Six people from the Lyric drama Studio will follow in the footsteps of Liam Neeson and Adrian dunbar when they tread the boards at drama school this autumn. The Lyric drama Studio offers young people aged 18-25 a chance to experience training in acting at a professional level. The ethos is to develop the attitude that acting is a craft which needs to be honed and that this involves a lifelong process of learning. More than 60 aspiring actors auditioned for a place on the course last year, of which 12 were successful. The course runs on Saturdays from September until March and culminates in a production performed at the Lyric Theatre to the public. Workshops are rigorous and intensive - a high degree of commitment is expected. All the course tutors are practising theatre professionals with extensive experience. Students are supported through the process of applying to and auditioning for drama schools as well as giving them a taste of what they might expect on a professional training course. The six Lyric drama Studio members heading to drama school this year include Anthony Boyle (18) from Belfast and 22-year-old Thomas Finnegan from Newry who won places at the royal Welsh college of Music and drama. Adele Gribbon (20) and 23-year-old Paul Livingstone, both from Belfast, successfully auditioned for The Lir, Ireland's National Academy of dramatic Art at Trinity college in dublin. Tripti Tripuraneni (21) from Belfast is taking up a place at the Guildhall School of Music and drama and Patrick Strain (21) from Newtownards is heading to east 15 drama School in London. "I had a great time doing the Lyric drama Studio. I made some great friends and contacts in the industry," Ms Tripuraneni said. "The knowledge I gained was invaluable and it has prepared me well for my time at drama school. I would recommend it to any young person considering a career in acting."

Philip crawford, the Lyric's creative learning coordinator, said he was thrilled that so many young people had secured places at prestigious institutions. "I have no doubt that the training we provided in the drama studio and the commitment they made to the course has been instrumental to their success," he said. The deadline for applications to this year's Lyric drama Studio is Saturday August 10. Application forms can be downloaded from www.lyrictheatre.co.uk/learning.

n For further information email Pauline McKay at paulinemckay@lyrictheatre.co.uk.

n SUCCESS: From left, Patrick Strain, Anthony Boyle and Tripti Tripuraneni, three of six students from the Lyric Drama Studio who have gained places on professional drama courses this autumn

PICtuRe: Neil Harrison

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