Graduation ceremonies are an opportunity for students to celebrate their achievement, don their cap and gown and get together with class mates, friends and family on their special day.
A group of seven students who recently celebrated such an event are the graduates from Blue Teapot’s performing arts school in Galway. Blue Teapot runs a stand-alone programme specifically for adults with intellectual disabilities; the only one of its kind in Ireland. The students recently attended their graduation ceremony in the G hotel in Galway, having qualified with QQI level 3 awards.
Speaking at the event and representing the Class of 2016, graduate Amy Clarke spoke from the podium and said, “It helped me get over the shyness that I had. Doing the course gave me confi dence, because I hope to become an actor.”
The Blue Teapot Theatre Company was founded in 1996 by the Brothers of Charity Services in Galway. The “Teapots”, who are the professional actors in the Company, all have an intellectual disability. In 2010, this was further developed and the Blue Teapot Performing Arts School was established as an accredited provider of training for people with intellectual disabilities. Blue Teapot recognised the need to develop a programme specifi cally suited to people with intellectual disability. All the tutors in the Performing Arts School are subject matter experts with a wealth of experience in creative arts as directors, playwrights, actors, artists and musicians.
Anne Geraghty, Director of Services, Brothers of Charity, Galway said, “It has been our experience that working through the arts is hugely benefi ial for so many people. The Blue Teapot Performing Arts Programme gives participants different means of selfexpression and builds a self-confi dence that transfers into so many aspects of their lives.”
One such participant is Aoife King. When Aoife applied for a place on the performance arts course three years ago, her family had no idea how much it would transform her life. “The whole experience has given Aoife an inner and outer confidence, and an independence, along with a knowledge and appreciation of the arts,” Mr King said of his daughter’s experience. Students Damian Graham, Alan Keady, Amy Clarke, Aoife King, Eilish Lee, Katie Dillon and Maitiu Quinn are the second group of seven students from the Performing Arts School to receive their graduation QQI certificates following three years of study and training.
The QQI certification to level two and three ensures the highest professional standards, and the graduates can then progress to the Arts Alive Programme, recently established by the Brothers of Charity Services. Petal Pilley, CeO and Artistic Director said, “The aim of the performing arts school is to inspire students to fulfil their creative potential and live a meaningful life in the arts. Drama is the main focus, but it embraces dance, mask-making, puppetry, costume design – all underpinned by the performing arts.”
For further information on Blue Teapot Performing Arts School, see http://blueteapot.ie/about-us/