Paperboy – The Musical!

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Pictured from left are Peter Wilson aka Duke Special, Will McKee Campbell College, past Participant in the production, Tony Macaulay, author of Paper Boy and Jon Bromwich, Executive Producer. Picture by Brian Morrison.

Youth Music Theatre UK (YMT), the leading UK music theatre company for young people, that has helped shape the careers of many, including Brit Award winner Ed Sheeran and Grammy Award nominee Sam Smith, is producing a brand-new musical adaptation of Tony Macaulay’s Paperboy.

Renowned director Steven Dexter, along with co-director Dean Johnson and choreographer Jennifer Rooney, who both hail from Northern Ireland, will be joined by Belfast-born, platinum-selling singer songwriter Duke Special and Derry born stand-up comedian Andrew Doyle to bring Tony Macaulay’s much-loved memoir to life. Following YMT’s hugely successful 2017 musical adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels, this rich creative team will come back together again at Lyric Theatre Belfast, continuing Youth Music Theatre UK and Lyric Theatre Belfast’s successful partnership.

The wide popularity of Tony Macaulay’s Paperboy has led to its success across the world; the book has been published in the UK and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

Platinum-selling, singer-songwriter Duke Special (Songs from the Deep) has composed music for a huge variety of projects including Deborah Warner’s critically acclaimed Mother Courage and her Children (Brecht) at The National Theatre, and a series of commissioned songs for the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, and for YMT Gulliver’s Travels.

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Youth Music Theatre UK’s Executive Producer, Jon Bromwich, said “Paperboy is a flagship show of Youth Music Theatre UK’s 2018 summer season, and it’s also our 15th anniversary season, so a very special one. ”

The production will be performed at the Lyric Theatre Belfast from 26-29 July 2018. Tickets are available here. 

 

 

 

 

Stories from Uganda: An exceptional young entrepreneur in rural Uganda

Yesterday I met 19 year old Benjamin Mujuni in his home in the village of Busingiro in rural South West Uganda. He’s an exceptional young entrepreneur with a high motivation and a talent for business.

Benjamin tells me that he went to Ryamugwizi Primary School (the school being supported by the REAP Project) but he was always more interested in practical work than books. When he left school he learnt how to grow crops and he started digging, cultivating and growing plants.

He started out by planting a quarter of an acre of beans. He harvested a bag of beans and with the profit from the beans he bought chickens and when he sold the poultry he bought a goat. While expanding his crops to a half an acre of both beans and maize, he farmed more chickens and goats, and each time he sold his produce (more bags of beans, more sacks of maize, more chickens and goats) he reinvested the profits in his business. Eventually he raised enough money (570,000 shillings) to buy a cow and continued to make enough profit to then purchase five cows. This is an exceptional achievement for a 19 year old in rural Uganda. He proudly shows me his cows (even though I was a little nervous around the long horned bulls!).

I ask Benjamin how he has been so successful in such a short space of time.

‘I don’t waste and I invest!’ he replies.

He tells me that he enjoys trading and doing business. The biggest challenges he faces is having a limited amount of capital to invest in the business and also losing out at times when his produce loses market value. He is concerned about the impact of drought on his business and explains that he wants to invest in a water pump and an irrigation scheme for the dry season. He also wants to be able to buy pesticides to protect his crops from pests and disease.

Benjamin’s eyes light up when I ask him about his dreams for the future of his enterprises. He tells me how he wants to continue to grow his business so that he can construct a good home and become a businessman, buying and selling produce across the region. Having met this smart and hardworking young entrepreneur I have no doubt he will achieve his goals. It’s another inspiring story from Uganda.

Stories from Uganda: A Leader with Vision

This is the story of Rev Robert Mugume, a leader with a vision to transform lives and his local community.

Robert (50) is the Regional Bishop for Ibanda with the Full Gospel Churches of Uganda, a pentecostal denomination. He grew up in the village of Birongo III in Ishongororo and married Mrs Jolly Nabasa Mugame. They have five children and two adopted children. He began serving as a pastor in 2001. While Robert was studying Theology at Glad Tidings Bible College he was inspired to work for the development of children. He developed a vision to start a school in his local community where children could have a quality education. He says his vision is to raise children holistically by supporting their physical, spiritual and educational development. In 2005 his vision became a reality when he started Birongo Primary School with 120 pupils. He connected with Fields of Life to assist with the construction of the school and today the school has grown to 530 pupils. As the partnership with donors from Northern Ireland continued a new vision developed to start a school in Ryamugwizi. This vision also became a reality.

Ryamugwizi Primary School is the school supported by the REAP Project that I’m visiting this week. It now has 310 pupils.

In partnership with Fields of Life and donors from Northern Ireland Robert has also established two primary schools in the neighbouring district of Kiruhura; Ulster Farmers & El Shaddai. Projects have been supported to drill boreholes and protect natural wells in the school communities (see yesterday’s blog) to ensure the community has clean water so that children remain healthy to attend school.

‘As a leader,’ says the Bishop, ‘I feel proud and thankful for the partners and donors from Northern Ireland.’

In the Birongo school they have built dormitories for children to enhance their access to education. Fields of Life has also gifted livestock and sewing machines to parents to enable them to generate income so that they can earn money to pay for their children’s education themselves.

‘I’m seeing the vision I had in 2001 now become a reality’, says Robert, ‘Lives and communities are being transformed.’

When I ask Robert how it feels to see his vision become a reality he smiles and says, ‘I thank God. I’ve seen transformation in the lives of the orphans and vulnerable children we are supporting.’

Robert is delighted to see children from the schools now becoming teachers, nurses and students at university.

Of course visionary leaders like Robert Mugume do not stop when one vision becomes a reality, so I ask him about his latest vision for the future. He does not hesitate to respond. He wants to see the children from the schools become successful in life. He wants them to aspire to be doctors, engineers, lawyers and bishops.

He has a vision for a secondary school in the region with the same ethos. He also wants to establish a vocational school for young people who cannot go to university so that they can gain practical skills for work. In addition Robert wants to establish income generating projects, such as businesses and farming, so that each school will raise funds to sustain itself and Robert’s vision will be secured for the future.

I have no doubt that this determined leader will see his vision sustained. Once again on my visit to Uganda I am inspired by hearing the story of a visionary leader creating hope and transformation in his local community.

Stories from Uganda: A young leader with a dream for a better future

I’m visiting Uganda with the REAP Project, a team of brilliant volunteers from Northern Ireland who have returned to Ryamugwizi Primary School in Ibanda, to continue to support the growth and development of the school and the local community. I’m blogging live from Uganda every day, sharing the stories of some of the most interesting and inspiring people I meet.

Today I want to share the story of another inspiring young leader – Caleb Malwadde, who works for Fields of Life.

Caleb was born the youngest of sixteen children in Central Uganda after the end of the Liberation War in 1986, when the current government came to power. His family had suffered hardship during the war in the Luwero Triangle and had lost their home, garden and cattle. As a result the family were very poor and felt like they were refugees in their own country. Caleb’s parents could not afford to send him to school. But then one day at the age of eight, Caleb was wandering around his village when Trevor Stevenson, the founder of Fields of Life, happened to be visiting with a colleague. Trevor noticed Caleb walking around and asked the boy why he was not at school. He asked if he could speak with Caleb’s parents. Then Trevor went to meet Caleb’s mother and promised her that he would find a sponsor for Caleb to go to school. In 1997 Caleb became a pupil at the First Fields of Life School in Uganda. He recalls starting school in P3 and getting shoes, a mattress, blankets and free meals. He speaks warmly about the transformation in his life due to the values and spiritual growth he experienced as he went through his education in the Fields of Life Academy, then Grace High School and ultimately to university, the first child from his family to do so.

When he graduated from university Caleb went to work for Fields of Life as the charity’s Logistics and Procurement Officer in Uganda.

He says, ‘I’m happy I’m working for the organisation that nurtured me and I am part of a team that is changing people’s lives.’

Like myself, Caleb has been inspired by the life and writings of Martin Luther King, so I asked him if he has a dream for Uganda.

He says, ‘My dream for Uganda is for respect for human rights and everyone enjoying the basic facilities of human life.’

Caleb believes this requires a change in mindsets and a type of politics where the government puts the people first. A type of democracy where political leaders want to give back to the community. The result of this would be a political commitment to massive improvements including clean water, food, free education and healthcare for all.

With young leaders like Caleb emerging in Uganda I believe his dream can begin to become a reality.

Belfast author to blog Stories from Uganda

This Easter bestselling Belfast author, Tony Macaulay will join a team of volunteers from Northern Ireland who are returning to Ryamugwizi Primary School, in Ibanda, Uganda, to continue to support the growth and development of the school and the local community.

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Tony will be blogging live from Uganda, sharing the stories of the people he meets every day. The daily blogs can be found here.

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The REAP Project – Realise East African Potential

The REAP Project is committed to bringing about positive change through the provision of quality education, clean waterhealth promotion and other community based projects, by collaborating with Ryamugwizi Primary School and the surrounding community in Ibanda, Uganda.

REAP is working in association with the charity Fields of Life, who have been involved in projects with local communities and churches in a number of countries in East Africa such as Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

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Belfast author supports community arts project

Tonight Belfast Author of ‘Paperboy’, ‘Breadboy’ and ‘All Growed Up’ congratulated a group of men from different communities in West Belfast on the launch of their photographic exhibition in the Shankill Library. The initiative is a project of Community Dialogue.

Tony said ‘I’m delighted to speak at this launch for three reasons. Firstly, I have great respect for the peace building work of community dialogue, secondly because men in this community who express their creativity in the arts are role models to younger people, and thirdly because the exhibition is in Shankill Library where I first discovered a love for books’.

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Youth Drama Project, Capitulate, Opens in Northern Ireland

Together Stronger Aims to Break Down Walls of Prejudice

Capitulate, product of the youth drama project Together Stronger will open in Northern Ireland on Saturday, February 15th, 2014. Formed by a partnership between 174 Trust, Youth Action Northern Ireland, and author and peace builder Tony Macaulay, the project was created as a means for teenagers to make their voices heard among their community, while also giving them an opportunity to learn and develop devising, rehearsal and performance skills. Two performances of the drama will run at the Duncairn Centre for Arts and Culture and Youth Action NI in College Square North.

The objective of the drama project was to create an issue-based piece of theatre focused on sectarianism, centered around the union flag dispute that arose in late 2012 and led to widespread protests and unrest.

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The program allows youth to provoke debate in their communities in regards to division, prejudice and stereotyping. It also provides a platform for the youth to showcase their talents and share their opinions.

Tony Macaulay states, “I am very proud of the work these young people have accomplished over the past several months, and I hope that the experience will inspire them to continue to break down walls of prejudice throughout their lives.”

Macaulay, author of the critically acclaimed memoirs Paperboy and Breadboy, entered the partnership with 174 Trust and Youth Action NI as a writer and volunteer artist for the program. He helped to develop a script with local youth and foster an environment of collaboration, creativity and cohesion. Macaulay has worked with hundreds of groups on issues such as community development, conflict resolution, equality and human rights, and helped to develop 174 Trust in Belfast in the 1980’s.

“These youth have worked very hard, and I believe strongly in the message they will portray,” stated Together Stronger Program Director Geoffrey Kerr. “I hope that it encourages others in our community to think differently about conflict resolution and the way they interact with those of different back rounds and lifestyles than their own.”

To book free tickets contact reception@174trust.org and for more information on Together Stronger, visit 174trust.org

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Peacebuilder and Writer Tony Macaulay Partners to Present the Together Stronger Program, a Youth Drama Project

Macaulay joins 174 Trust and Youth Action in Northern Ireland to engage youth

Tony Macaulay, peacebuilder and critically acclaimed author of Paperboy and Breadboy, has entered a partnership with 174 Trust and Youth Action Northern Ireland as a writer and volunteer artist for the Together Stronger Program. This youth drama project aims to create an issue-based piece of theatre focusing on sectarianism through which 13 to 18 year-olds can share their voices and talents within their communities.Image

Macaulay has offered to write a script in consultation with local youth around the union flag dispute that arose in late 2012 and led to widespread protests and unrest. Youth Action will provide a core cast of experienced young actors from their Rainbow Factory Project, while 174 Trust will attract further participation from other local young people to fulfill roles in script development, lighting, sound, extras and so on. Two performances of the drama will run at 174 Trust and Youth Action NI in College Square North.

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“The opportunity to assist in the development of this drama is an honor,” Macaulay said. “It is a wonderful chance for these young minds to develop their views and opinions, as well as showcase their talents, and I look forward to seeing the outcome of their work and collaboration.”

Throughout the creative process of the Together Stronger program, thirty young people will be given the opportunity to explore, develop and publicly express their views and opinions on sectarianism. Additionally, they will learn and develop devising, rehearsing and performance skills.

“Our objective for the youth drama project is for these young people to challenge and provoke debate in their communities around issues of sectarian division, stereotyping and prejudice,” said Together Stronger Program Coordinator Geoffrey Kerr. “With Tony’s guidance, the program will be a great success and a meaningful experience for our local youth.”

Macaulay has been involved in community development, youth work and peacebuilding for the past 28 years, and worked in establishing the community development project 174 Trust in North Belfast in the 1980s. He established Macaulay Associates in 2001 to provide facilitation and developmental support to organizations committed to creating positive social change. These goals coincide with the 174 Trust and Youth Action’s commitments to build peace amongst communities and to enable the voices of young people to be heard and valued.

For more information on the Together Stronger Program, visit 174trust.org.

As seen on: PR Web