Uplift Performing Arts leading new student exchange between Carrick and Kentucky

Carrickfergus-based Uplift Performing Arts and the Danville Sister City Committee in Kentucky have announced their first summer student exchange.

The initiative, suppported by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, will include seven students from Danville experiencing the culture and history of Northern Ireland.

In 2012 the Sister City Committee nominated Elizabeth Orndorff, a local play-write and director, to come to Carrickfergus for a month. During her time here, the Mayor at the time, Alderman Billy Ashe, contacted Ryan Moffett from Uplift to ask if the company was producing a show during Elizabeth’s stay.

Elizabeth was invited to attend the production, ‘Showtime’ at the Belvoir Players Studio in Belfast and she fell in love with the energy Uplift brought to the stage and how the group developed young people in the arts. This relationship then blossomed, Uplift was invited to run summer camps at the West T Hill Community Theatre in Danville

Alderman Billy Ashe with young people taking part in the Uplift Performing Arts initiative.

Whilst in Danville, Ryan Moffett, co-founder and executive director of Uplift, met Milton Reigelman, a member of the Sister City Committee, who pitched the idea of bringing students from Danville over to Carrickfergus and vice-versa.

Ryan explained: “The Sister City Committee has been linked with Carrickfergus from 2009 and has provided various opportunities for adults to visit and build relationships while exploring the heritage of Carrickfergus.

“Plans to run the project were originally meant to go ahead in 2020, but due to the pandemic we were unable to make this project work. Two years later and we have a fantastic group of students from Carrickfergus going over to Danville, Kentucky from the 30th July to the 9th August.”

The students attending from Carrickfergus are: Carter Magowan, Christian Perry, Ciara Campbell, Elly Kwok, Keira Aiken, Robbie McMinn and Rose Keatley.

Ryan added: “Not only will students from Carrick be visiting Danville, we will also welcome seven students from Danville to Carrickfergus from the 22nd July to the 30th. This is a fantastic opportunity to explore a new country, soak up a new culture and build new friendships. We look forward to providing this experience each year.”

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