One of the biggest names in film and television will become patron of Bright Young Things - the drama school set up by Magherafelt woman Lisa Duffy.
James Nesbitt, who has been on our screens recently in the popular drama The Missing, takes up the new role, at a time when arts is facing severe pressure from Stormont budget cuts.
A delighted Lisa Duffy said she was honoured to have James Nesbitt on board and said it was an endorsement of their ethos at the drama group - for which she picked up an award at last year’s Mid Ulster Business Awards.
“Bright Young Things has non-selective admission, every child and young person is welcome regardless of their ability.
“This is our ethos and James Nesbitt strongly supports our belief,” said Lisa.
“We are delighted to announce James Nesbitt as our patron, especially at this time when funding to the arts is under threat by Stormont.
“Drama for young people nurtures confidence, teaches children how to communicate effectively and ignites their creativity.
Instilling these qualities in our young people, helping the future generation develop skills to carry them effectively through life, is core to BYT ethos.
Lisa added: “James Nesbitt recognizes the value of BYT and what we stand for and it is an honour that he has formally announced this ambassador role with Bright Young Things.”
The actor described Bright Young Things as ‘dynamic’ in their efforts to give young people confidence.
“Supporting drama for young people is close to my heart,” said Mr Nesbitt.
“I loved my time growing up in Northern Ireland doing youth drama, that is where it all began for me. I am delighted becoming a patron for BYT.
“It’s wonderful to be part of a dynamic organisation committed to fostering confidence, communication and creative expression in our young people.”
Mr Nesbitt said he had recently urged the NI Executive not to impose more cuts to the arts sector, by supporting Art Council for Northern Ireland’s campaign.
“I’ve now taken my support one step further by becoming patron of Bright Young Things to demonstrate my commitment to arts sector and young people in Northern Ireland.
“Without the arts, we’re just left with politics and we don’t want that.”