Five years have passed since the idea of Blue Diamond Drama Academy was first muted and despite all the pre-planning and structural development of the founders of the charity, few could have envisaged the challenge of Covid-19 and its impact on social gathering not only in Ireland but world-wide.
It would seem that the first chink of bright light has come over the horizon, I am of course referring to the roll-out of vaccines for the HSE category of our students and actors. The possibility of on-stage performances may be here before the end of 2021, and that is something to look forward to.
The last year with all its challenges has seen significant developments within both the Acting Academy and the Theatre Company. The move from Churchtown House which has served us so well to the new facility at The Parish Centre, Dundrum has gone smoothly. When good times return to this performance group we are excited to return to our national stages, in particular The Mill Theatre, an ideal facility for our rehearsal and indeed production of the gathering number of plays that the group are working on.
We have been so grateful to have had the beautiful setting of Churchtown House and Dundrum has become a loved home and we are now thrilled to be working out of the hub of the village, in a fit for purpose building that has been so welcoming. One door closes, another opens!
Since we began our journey our number of students and now graduates continues to climb. The industry is listening and the opportunities for these talented actors is growing by the day and we thank the wonderful casting agents that we have worked with, Louise Kiely Casting and Maureen Hughes. Most recently we are thrilled to share the news that Danial Ryan is starring in ‘Herself’ the very talked about and widely anticipated new Element Pictures Production, we will be letting you know when it hits the big screen.
We have received support from many people, as well as State Agencies, particular thanks to the HSE, Rethink Ireland, Dalata, Robus, BlueBird Health Care and many private individuals. Renault Cars have kindly supplied us with a transport vehicle which fits in nicely with our ambitions to take our plays to regional theatres. Our Blue Diamond Van is waiting patiently to take us on tour.
A credit to Niamh, along with our wonderful tutors and volunteers who kept this show on the road all year. They not only delivered an excellent programme to our current third year students but they found ways to make incredible art and used film and other mediums to make it all happen, with smaller classes, masks, social distancing and Zoom, Blue Diamond Academy was able to not only function but thrive.
‘This has been some of my favourite work to date and without Blue Diamond this year I don’t know what I would have done.’
‘Blue Diamond kept me happy, busy and in touch with my friends all year in a difficult pandemic’
‘Without Blue Diamond I would be sad in bed instead I am still working as an actor’
‘ Blue diamond never lets me down and this year was still great’
Some highlights have been; completing our module in acting for Radio where we devised a radio drama called ‘The Strangest Time’ which we have now submitted to RTE for consideration for production.
Each student now has a very impressive showreel to build from to further their opportunities within the industry.
We finished filming our Shakespearean Production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream which we will be releasing on film late spring.
While our Theatre Company have continued perfecting audition pieces, and are currently working on filming; ‘A lockdown Life, written by the actors themselves’. They are also working on some very exciting collaborations that the actors would say ‘we have been sworn to secrecy over’..
They have also delivered our new online corporate training package, first piloted with the central bank. We will be launching this package soon.
Lastly I know our much anticipated application process for 2021 is being asked about and we hope to open the application process after the Easter break. The application form is ready to download from the link below.
We look forward to no masks, no fear and no social distancing. We look forward to welcoming you for a coffee in Dundrum and mostly, we look forward to welcoming you as potential students to our programmes, as audience members to our shows and patrons and sponsors to our charity where we will continue this incredible work by our talented students and actors.
Blue Diamond as a registered charity continues to grow and continues to work hard for all our students and graduate actors.
The future looks rewarding. We are lucky to have a dedicated and caring staff and with the reliable generosity of our main supporters and Irish people in general, I am very confident we can continue to achieve new milestones for all involved.
Dr Anthony Walsh. MD.