Through a four-year programme of drama, dance, scriptwriting and singing workshops, ImagineAction aimed to promote the links between sport and the arts to benefit children who would normally have limited access to learning these skills because of their rural location. The main aim of the project was to build confidence, promote diversity and cultural identity, encourage teamwork and incorporate the Olympic values through art.
“All of the children we involved were aged between 13 and 16,” says Emma Heatherington, project founder. “A lot of them were at that awkward age when all that matters is fitting in. Some think that you can either be arty or sporty – but not both. We’ve shown them that this is not the case and that these skills can be used together.”
In the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games, the group worked on and performed some of the most original dramatic and dance performances that Northern Ireland has ever seen. The grant has meant that the group use tutors and high-quality venues. The finale, a full-length stage production, was performed to an audience at Bardic Theatre and several of the young performers were asked to take part in a professional production at the theatre.