Emily Murray, Zofia Bielicka, Emma Gove and Chloe Fitzgerald captured in a frame during filming in Gortumbloe, Rochfortbridge.

New show has dancers aged from five to 72

There aren’t many activities that can provide an outlet for people of widely varying age groups – but one project currently under way locally has a youngest participant of five, while the most senior is 72.

“We have a cast of 60 involved,” says Kevin Lyster, the creative force who has instigated the project a dance and music spectacular called ‘The Voyage’, which is to run for two nights in Mullingar Arts Centre this month.

Kevin Lyster, creator and director, and field assistant Philip Hynes.

“It is done through Irish dance drama, theatrical Irish dance, music, song and narration as well,” Kevin said.

The show is set against a background of the famine: “It is centred on two young children (played by Siobhán Marshall and Marco Trigo-Lyster), who are not related, but who have both lost their entire families, either through hunger or slavery.

“These two children take off on a journey that takes them to America, so the story is about their lives and the people around them and the people who influence them and also give them the opportunity to go to America.”

In front, Eimear Wakefield and at the rear from left, Alba Trigo-Lyster, Caoimhe Strickland and Clodagh Wakefield on location in Gortumbloe, Rochfortbridge.

While everyone is now beginning to feel the pressure as the dates of the performances come closer, they have been working on it for some time, said Kevin, who is founder of the Emerald Lakes Dance Academy.

“This show was meant to be staged just as we went into Covid. We were planning to do it in 2020, but it got postponed, but since restrictions lifted, we have been able to rehearse again and we have been working really hard.”

From left, Faith Ward, Alice McDonnell, Katie Martin and Ava Loran on location at Lough Derravaragh.

Kevin is the writer, producer and director. He is also joint choreographer, with Philip Hynes.

“This is a show that is a little bit different. During the lockdown, we were allowed to do some outdoor activities so we did a lot of filming, and we did a number of trailers – which we have up online: Those are little ‘sneak peeks’ of what the show is about.

“We had Dave Treacy from Killucan with his drones and cameras out to do filming with the Emerald Lakes Dance Academy, so we were out in fields around Rochfortbridge and at Lough Derravaragh preparing cinematic interludes as well, and these will be shown during the performances and they relate to what is happening on the stage as well and they give the story continuity.

“This is going to be something a bit different and very exciting.”

Marco Trigo-Lyster and Siobhan Marshall, who play the lead roles.

As well as what Kevin describes as some “very tense” dance sequences, the show features song, and lined up as lead singer is Sinéad Mulvey, who sang for Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow in 2009. The songs are well-known Irish airs. The show is on November 19 and 20, at 8pm.

There is a video preview of the show here.