Uplift Performing Arts open new Community Black Box Theatre in Carrickfergus

Local artists, musicians and creatives are being urged to get behind a new theatre space in Carrickfergus town centre.
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It comes after Uplift Performing Arts opened their new Community Black Box Theatre on North Street earlier this month.

The facility is based at Uplift’s studio space The Wing, which opened in 2019 to meet a demand for additional classes and rehearsals.

Ryan Moffett from Uplift Performing Arts said: “Every year Uplift staff meet to discuss the season ahead and this year, the team wanted to really utilise the studio and open it up for more opportunities to let local artists, musicians, and creatives use it.

Uplift Performing Arts drama coach Neve Hutchinson gave a virtual tour of the Community Black Box Theatre.  Photo: Uplift Performing ArtsUplift Performing Arts drama coach Neve Hutchinson gave a virtual tour of the Community Black Box Theatre.  Photo: Uplift Performing Arts
Uplift Performing Arts drama coach Neve Hutchinson gave a virtual tour of the Community Black Box Theatre. Photo: Uplift Performing Arts

“This is when the idea of a local Black Box came to mind, as Uplift already owned a lot of the technical and theatre equipment.”

Equipped with lighting and sound systems, the theatre has a curtain system and a 30-seat capacity, as well as dressing room at the back with a small kitchenette and a unisex bathroom.

Ryan added: “Uplift’s goal is to have a community theatre located in Carrickfergus, like our neighbouring towns such as the McNeill Theatre in Larne and The Braid Theatre in Ballymena. This is still our goal, but in the meantime we decided to open the studio first as we had demand for additional classes and rehearsals.

"This space has proved vital to our growth and giving our members a place to call home in the community for the arts. The Wing has three floors, with the downstairs consisting of a rehearsal space, communal area, kitchen and bathroom, and the second floor is the production office and music room. The third floor is used for storage.”

On Uplift Performing Arts' programme of events in the coming months is Annie Jr at Theatre at the Mill on October 21.  Photo: Uplift Performing ArtsOn Uplift Performing Arts' programme of events in the coming months is Annie Jr at Theatre at the Mill on October 21.  Photo: Uplift Performing Arts
On Uplift Performing Arts' programme of events in the coming months is Annie Jr at Theatre at the Mill on October 21. Photo: Uplift Performing Arts
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The aim of the Community Black Box Theatre is to encourage others in the community to showcase their talents and work, Ryan added. “We are currently talking to a local teenage band who would like to use the space to showcase their music and a few covers. This would give them a great venue to test and trial their music on a small live audience. We want people who wish to perform dramatic readings, poetry, songwriters and small plays. If a member of the public has a concept or idea for the Black Box, we want to hear it.”

Meanwhile, plans for a larger Black Box Theatre in the town are being considered, with Uplift in discussions with a local business owner about another potential venue. “Our members normally have to travel to Belfast, Newtownabbey or Larne for theatre space and we would love something more local,” Ryan added.

Any artists, musicians or performers who are interested in learning more about the Community Black Box Theatre can contact the Uplift production office via email at [email protected] or by calling 07840453723.

Meanwhile, Uplift will be taking part in a number of projects in the coming months, with more details available on their Facebook page.

They include:

- Annie Jr at Theatre at the Mill: October 21, 2pm and 7.45pm. Tickets are on sale at www.theatreatthemill.com

- Halloween Havoc at The Wing - October 31 and November 2, P1 - P7 and 1st year – 6th year workshops. Book online at www.weareuplift.com

- Christmas Lights in Carrickfergus: November 25

- Victorian Street Fair, Whitehead: December 2

- UPA Christmas Show, McNeill Theatre: December 16.

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