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Highlands drama given cash boost

Schools throughout the Highlands are to get their first taste of drama teaching, thanks to a coup pulled off by arts development officer Sonia Rose, at the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, writes Brian Hayward.

She has battled her way through four rounds of competition to win a Pounds 250,000 grant from the Youth Development Fund of the London-based Esmee Fairbairn Trust. Her winning proposal is an ambitious four-year project to bring drama to 15,000 Highland teenagers.

Starfeis ("aiming to catch the star in each of you") began last month with Richard Hahlo, senior workshop tutor for the Royal National Theatre preparing the 10 key drama workers. Their first role was to lead social skills workshops for every secondary 3 class in the region.

This was the first taste of drama for many, as only one of the 27 schools in the area offers drama courses. Pupils are now being invited to volunteer for youth theatres in their own communities.

Over the next few months, every school that shows interest will have a drama worker to set up small-scale youth theatre groups, which will be invited to perform at Eden Court next April.

Drama workers will also turn themselves into an outreach theatre company and tour with performances that address Highland issues and involve young theatre members.

Further information from Sonia Rose, tel: 01463 239841, ext 128

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