Caitlin to star in musical - and Boyzone’s Shane to be in audience

Cookstown girl Caitlin Pendlebury who stars as Ellie in Punch! The Musical
Cookstown girl Caitlin Pendlebury who stars as Ellie in Punch! The Musical

COOKSTOWN teenager Caitlin Pendlebury has landed the lead role in a hot new musical with Boyzone star Shane Lynch coming to watch her perform.

The 15-year-old will star as Ellie in Punch! The Musical, scripted by Dungannon author Emma Hetherington at Bardic Theatre in Donaghmore.

The musical has been developed as part of a youth initiative ImagineAction and the project’s ambassador Shane is to be in the audience on Friday November 11 for a special production.

With music lyrics by Jim McKeown and music by Rew Donaghy and Sam Caldow, the musical is the result of the highly successful ‘ImagineAction’ project - a three year programme aimed at bringing young people from a sporting background into the arts through dance, drama and song.

Punch tells the story of a young boxer who strives to be the best he can be and all the hurdles that stand in his way.

Since 2009, the lucky 74 participants have enjoyed master-classes from Louis Walsh, George Sampson, John Partridge and Conor Grimes as well as building close relations with the project’s ambassador Shane Lynch from Boyzone.

This November Beam Creative Network finale production of ‘Punch! The Musical’ is to take to the stage with a cast of 74 young people from all over Tyrone.

It also stars Joseph McVeigh from Eglish as Ben, James Lowe from Coalisland as Ben’s rival Spud and Bardic actors Blaine Nugent, Catherine Donnelly and Brian Mills.

ImagineAction is funded by the Legacy Trust UK’s Connections Programme which is managed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Legacy Trust UK is an independent charity which is creating a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games across the UK. It has been Inspire Marked by London 2012.

Kathryn O’ Neill of Beam Creative Network is excited about bringing the production to a local audience.

She said: “ImagineAction has been a flagship project for us here at Beam Creative Network. It has been a real pleasure to see all those involved grow in confidence over the past few years and I am confident that Punch will be a real treat for all who come to see it.”

Dugald Mackie, Chair of Legacy Trust UK, said initiatives like ImagineAction are benefiting communities across the UK: “The Games are about more than sport. They are a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland millions of people across the world. We believe that these projects like this will inspire and encourage people throughout Northern Ireland to get involved and will help leave a lasting legacy for the region.”

The production runs from Thursday November 10 in the Bardic Theatre, Donaghamore through to Sunday November 13 with the show starting at 8pm. On Sunday there will be a special matinee performance at 2.30pm.

Tickets for Punch! The Musical are now available from Beam Creative Network and are priced £6 and £3 concession. For further information and to book tickets, please telephone 028 8776 9157 during office hours (9am – 5pm Mon – Thurs and 9am – 4pm Friday).