Young Talent Award for Annaclone actor

Christopher Grant. Credit: Neil Harrison
Christopher Grant. Credit: Neil Harrison

A young Annaclone actor has won the first Young Talent Award in the Northern Ireland Creative & Cultural Skills Awards.

Christopher Grant, 25, had been nominated by the Lyric Theatre for the award due to his enthusiasm and professionalism as the Lyric’s first creative learning intern. He not only acts but also has gained invaluable experience managing theatrical projects.

This is the first time the awards have been held in Northern Ireland and it gave an opportunity for an industry which is under serious pressure from budget cuts to celebrate the good work being done here.

Christopher first met the team at the Lyric when he got a job as a bar person but he auditioned for the Drama Studio and was delighted to get a place.

He was determined to develop as an actor and increase his knowledge at any opportunity. He later applied and was appointed as the Lyric’s first creative learning intern. The role took him to Stratford to work on Royal Shakespeare Company Open Stages and to the National Theatre for the NT Connections project.

He has gone on to work as a freelance on the Lyric’s Summer School and with other educational projects and to perform in a regional tour Mojo Mickeybo; he is currently in Aladdin at the Millennium Theatre in Derry. His experience with the Lyric means he can perform on stage but equally make a big contribution behind the scenes and through managing theatrical projects.

“It was an amazing opportunity for me. It was really the first time I’d received proper acting training and how to approach a script and it’s made a massive difference to me. I met countless professional performers at the top of their game and it really made me realise what I’d need to do to raise my game,” Christopher said.

Sara Graham, Nations Director, Creative & Cultural Skills, said: “We recognise that it’s been a difficult time in the arts but the creative industries is a valuable and important sector to the economy in Northern Ireland and it’s essential that we develop new talent and continue to build a vibrant industry.”

The event, which included a panel discussion on the impact of supporting young people in Northern Ireland, was held at Belfast Metropolitan College’s Titanic Campus.

Marie Therese McGivern, Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Met said: “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the finalists, the effort and energy that they have put into nurturing creative talent is really inspiring and I know that they will have a great impact on the future success of our creative economy.