This week on the blog we have none other than Glen Mitchell bringing us on a journey. Specifically, the journey he set out on when he joined Droichead Youth Theatre three years ago!
I am eighteen years of age and verging on nineteen. I started Droichead Youth Theatre when I was fifteen years old, a lot has changed since then. I had friends from School (St.Joseph’s) and they were good friends and I wasn’t an unsociable person once I had gotten to know someone, however I’ll admit I was shy when it came to introductions. And so I wasn’t socially inept or a social champion, but due to my nature of personality (which I still hold to this day) I was an introvert and so didn’t mind being by myself in fact a lot of the time I preferred it and so when it came to going out with friends I would be down town sometimes for as little as two hours.
I was in TY in my school and our teachers had organised that Christina Matthews the Artistic Director of D.Y.T. come to the school and get all of us hard men to act, and so by the end of the class our shoulders were no longer squared and we had all taken the risk to look silly and enjoyed what we had experienced, I came away delighted with the minor performance my four man group had come up with. Later that evening I told my Elder brother Daniel about it and about Christina, “Christina Matthews?” he asked.
My Elder brother Daniel, the scoundrel and “wooer of women” in the family a confident and cocksure character throughout my life happened to mention he did drama with Christina when they were younger, when it had been run by a different woman. “Daniel doing drama?” I thought, this cool dude pranced around on stage? He told me about when he and some of “the boys” were part of Droichead Youth Theatre and had taken part in plays and I noted how he had said it helped him grow, take perspective and come in contact with a greater line of thought. I took what my brother had said into thought, considering my social spectrum and an admitted lack of confidence I thought I should at least give it a try, “couldn’t hurt” I thought and so I arrived at the second week of the term at ten in the morning in the Barbican centre.
Christina was relieved to see me as she had expected me on the first week, and welcomed me into a room of about thirty other people, a daunting prospect for me in a room with thirty people I didn’t know and it was a bit awkward as we stood around in a circle beside one another. We were put to work immediately with warm up exercises and then games and team building exercises and by the end of the two hour session I had gotten acquainted with most people and left feeling completely elated. Over the course of the next few weeks everyone got to know each other and at the end of two months or so we were going to make a play. I was scared. “Performing on stage” I thought, could I handle it? We prepared every Saturday, Sunday and Friday, other days as well if we could get them, and by the end of the two weeks or so we performed. It was a visual play along with acting, I had multiple minor roles and characters which suited me just fine I had plenty of involvement and nothing too major, I think “Around the World in Eighty Days” was the first play I did, performed in the Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda town.
I found myself becoming a far more sociable person not only with people at drama but my friends from school and town I would spend morning till evening with them. Drama had a serious impact on my self esteem and social life and I am and have been far happier since I joined, it really has done wonders for me. The mental image I have for myself is a far better self image than what I had up until the age of fifteen, I have a great happiness about me and I know from conversations I have had with numerous friends that I make them feel good which I take a real pleasure in knowing. All of this because I joined a club of social interaction, one I was considering shrugging off even though I had taken a liking to it and so I say if you take a liking to something Drama or not pursue it, it’ll probably change your life, quite literally.
The interests I have now are still the same with some welcomed additions, some of the best times in my life among peers have been in Drama and the ones outside of it Drama contributed to. In and out of Drama I have great friends and being what I am now I can show them the love they deserve being the people they are and how important they are to me and together the happiness and self esteem they have given me. The numerous shows I have taken part in, both with major and minor roles have also given me a direction in life few people my age have when it comes to pursuing something they take a genuine interest in. I intend on doing a course on the other side of the country because of my experiences in D.Y.T. that I have full intention of making a career out of, large or small. I can’t tell the future, but I can tell you whether it works out or not I have discovered something I will have a passion for, for the rest of my life and the significance of Droichead Youth Theatre and its impact on me will stay with me forever.
Droichead Youth Theatre offers something no other hobby can. An experience in great arts and the higher line of thought that comes with it which I have taken pleasure in, but more importantly an experience of yourself. Admitted I probably sound like a bit of a snowflake right about now but it is a truth I discovered slowly over time and only realised very recently, I discovered a part of myself, coming from Metallica’s “Nothing else matters” to Luciano Pavarotti’s “Figaro” is quite a jump and although my tastes have stayed very much the same they have also changed drastically. Drogheda as a whole has an opportunity to nourish an increasingly popular art form among the Irish race with the youth of this town.
Whether you hear good or bad from this town, I have seen with my own eyes throughout my childhood and my teenage years that the youth in this town are good at their core and care deeply about ideas that involve the group, the community and that sense of community I have felt here my entire life, if nurtured could achieve a great cultural and artistic revolution in this town, because this entire nation has an enormous amount of potential but we’re lacking something, initiative. Whether you are a parent with children reading this or a young person yourself please spread the word and take some time out of your day to see one of our plays or look at our pages I guarantee you’ll be intrigued. And so when I tell you that D.Y.T. has a lot to offer the youth of this town and the town itself, take me at my word, after all isn’t that what we live and die by.