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Armagh Performing Arts Academy to stage first big show after pandemic

DFK (Drama for Kids) Performing Arts Academy are a drama group, based in Ardmore Recreation Centre in Armagh City, who pride themselves on being “cross-community” and “inclusiveness”.

They hold classes for ages four to eighteen every Saturday and organise a show every year.

This year, after a hiatus due to COVID, the Academy are back and set to perform their new production of ‘Annie Jr’, which they have been working on over the last number of months.

The Academy’s sold-out production of Annie Jr is set to run for one night only on Saturday, July 2 in the Market Place Theatre, Armagh at 6:30pm.

Nathan Tate, who is involved in the Academy, says: “Our main focus at DFK is to foster an inclusive, fun, learning environment for all of our students. We pride ourselves on looking after the mental health of our students, especially since Covid.”

The Academy will be doing a collection for the Southern Area Hospice and in the long term, alongside the show, they have been working for a number of years to raise money for a new stage.

“We like to pride ourselves on being an inclusive group. We’ve kids from all sorts of backgrounds. We also have a bunch of free places that we give funding for every year.

“We implemented the five steps to wellbeing that was provided by the Public Health Agency as part of the funding. Last year and this year we did three Saturdays focused on the five steps: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.”

The Academy also started a new class this year, called the Performing Arts Workshop, or ‘PAW’. The class is designed for the ages of 14 to 18, with the focus being on the drama and acting itself, with participants coming up with the ideas for their performances and writing scripts.

Nathan hopes that the return of the performance will help drive publicity and help them towards their goal of purchasing their new stage.

He concluded: “we’re all very excited to be able to be back doing a big show after Covid, and all of our kids are very excited too. We can’t wait to show everyone the progress and work that they have put in over the last couple of months.”

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