Séimí Campbell, who has been studying at Trinity, is back in Donegal and that can only mean that another great show is on its way.
This dynamic young man from Donegal Town founded the award-winning Mini-Crotchets music and drama education group when he was just sixteen.
The project delivered workshops to more than 300 young people and adults with intellectual disabilities.
His shows at the St John Bosco Centre - sell out pantomimes Cinderella and Snow White and musicals My My Matilda and Caisleáin Óir - were all huge successes.
During his first two years studying Music Education at Trinity College and the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin, the now 21-year-old produced both Hairspray and A Chorus Line over the past two years for Trinity,
“I really enjoyed doing both those shows,” Séimí recalled. “And A Chorus Line was quite a change in terms of material to the kind of shows we would do at the Bosco.”
Then in Spring of 2016, Séimí co-founded Trinity Musical Theatre Society and is looking forward to their inaugural as a society this year; “They never really did big musicals at Trinity before, and with such a vast pool of talented students to pull from, we are looking forward to TMTS’s first production in Spring 2017.
His production of Mairéad Ní Ghrada’s An Triail at the Abbey Arts Centre in Ballyshannon last September also proved a huge hit and and is set to return later this year. Plans are even in the pipeline to take the production on tour, including Dublin.
During the last academic year, Séimí studied at the world famous Kodály Institute in Hungary. There, he learned a revolutionary style of music education, pioneered by Zoltán Kodály in the middle of the last century.
“It was a phenomenal experience,” he enthuses. “Children start to learn music when they are three years old, when they are attending pre-schools.”
The new method is something that Séimí is bringing to Caroline's School of Music here in Donegal Town, where he teaches piano and his head of Musicianship.
After Hungary, Séimí travelled to the UK to take up the post of Assistant Musical Director on YMT’s (Youth Music Theatre) production of Trojan Women, achieving another of his ambitions.
“YMT is really prestigious and it was a wonderful opportunity to learn from some of the top names in the industry. Of course, it was pretty hectic as we have to devise a brand new musical over just two weeks, working 14 hour shifts, seven days a week. That's a totally different way of putting a show together than I'm used to in the Bosco Centre!"
"My boss, the Musical Director, was Francis Goodhand, who is probably best known for the West End and UK/Ireland touring production of Sister Act.
“Our director was Stuart Harvey, of Bristol Old Vic and our choreographer was Alicia Frost, a Canadian dancer who is on the faculty of the prestigious Urdang Dance Academy in London.
Before Séimí heads back to start his third year in Dublin, he's been busy preparing a little treat for us all here in Donegal.
He and his team are currently putting the finishing touches to Les Misérables, which opens at the Bosco Centre on Friday, September 9th.
“This is by far our biggest challenge to date,” he said. “The quality of the singing, acting and music this show requires are what have made it so popular the world over.”
“With Les Mis, you just need the best talent, all aged under 19, and we're so lucky that we've got it. Our Valjean is played by the talented Aodhan Gavigan from Glenties. We have Bried Marie Byrne from Loughanure, who starred in the Central Hotel’s Opportunity Knocks, playing Cosette and Ryan Mulreany from Convoy as Javert. From Donegal Town, we're thrilled to have Aoife Breslin return as Eponine, Kate Gurren as Fantine and Oisin Joyce as Marius.
“Herta Kelly who has done so many fantastic shows in Inver, has joined our production team as Musical Director. She will be directing an orchestra of fourteen musicians from all over the north west, as well as the cast of 75 young actors on stage.”
“Amy Jordan and Kelly Coughlan are back as our choreographers while Sinéad O'Donnell Carey, who designed our set for An Triail, has once again created a fantastic set, with costumes designed by the gifted, Rosemary Myres.
“It has been two years since I was in Les Miserables myself in the Millennium Forum, Derry, and I’m delighted to be taking the world-famous show to ‘the Hills’ this September!’
If the team's last previous productions are anything to go by, tickets for Les Mis will be selling fast.
The show runs September 9th-12th, 7pm nightly. Tickets are Adults €12, Concessions €6, available from the St John Bosco Centre on 0877846012.
Pictured: Séimi with Herta Kelly (far right) and cast members Aoife Breslin, Bried Marie Byrne, Ryan Mulreany, Aodhan Gavigan and Katie Gurren.