Backstage Youth Theater member Daniel Penrose Picture: Mark Stedman
BYT member Daniel Penrose has just been selected for a National Youth Theatre production this summer. A fundraising event will take place on May 10 in the Backstage Theatre with special guest, Katie Gallagher
Tell me a little bit about your Longford background.
I live in the same house I grew up in, about five minutes walk from town and I remember loving cycling everywhere with my friends. I went to Melview NS, and I'm currently in 5th year in Ballymahon Vocational School.
How did you get involved with the Backstage Youth Theatre?
The first time I saw BYT was seeing my cousin perform in the panto. I loved every bit of it, and it was the first time I thought; "Hey, I could do that too!"
What roles have you enjoyed most since joining BYT?
I've only done three on-stage performances for BYT. One was in the summer production of Beetroot, and the other two were for the last two Pantos. I think I enjoyed Beetroot more, as we got to develop our own characters with the director, Helene Montague.
What does it mean to you to be selected as part of the National Youth Theatre Ensemble?
It means the world to me. It's a huge honour being selected as one of only sixteen young actors in the whole country to perform with the National Youth Theatre. We'll be performing Ask Too Much Of Me by Dylan Coburn Gray. The play itself was inspired by the cast during week-long residential sessions and workshops.
What are you most looking forward to about this new venture?
Performing on the Peacock stage of the Abbey theatre (August 19 to 24) and meeting like-minded people who enjoy performing as much as I do and creating a great piece of theatre together.
What do you hope to achieve from this new venture?
I hope I make new connections and friends, meet some amazing people, and enjoy myself. Above all, I hope the audience enjoy it!
Going forward, do you see yourself pursuing a career in theatre?
A career in theatre or acting does seem daunting, but I would love for this to be my full-time job.
Tell me a bit about the fundraiser taking place in the Backstage Theatre?
While most of the costs for NYT are covered through grants, they still leave some optional fundraising to the cast members to raise awareness for the programme. BYT is hosting a fundraiser show that showcases the talent within the group and allows members to try different things, from directing a comedy sketch to producing a film. We also have lots of songs and music and special guest and past member Katie Gallagher. (The fundraiser will take place on May 10 in the Backstage Theatre. See backstage.ie for ticket information)
What kind of support have you received so far in your theatre career?
I really wouldn't have the courage to do any of this without my best friend Kaj and my family. They're always there for me, and I wouldn't be here without them.
What valuable skills and lessons do you feel you've learned since you got into theatre?
I've become much more confident and socially outward. I'd really recommend that everyone try acting or theatre at least once, as you get to meet great people who are genuinely passionate about what they do, and just have a laugh.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I'd like to thank Paul Higgins and BYT for giving me the opportunity to follow my dreams, and if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have this once in a lifetime experience with the National Youth Theatre. Also it goes without saying I'd like to thank everyone involved with NYT and Youth Theatre Ireland!