This year (2021), the Garage Theatre received €10,000 from The Arts Council under The Young Ensemble Scheme to do the following:

Shoot a Short Film devised & performed by the Monaghan Youth Theatre, set for public & online premieres. A platform for young people to creatively address any mental & social issues facing them in an increasingly Post-Covid world. Develop writing, filmmaking, performance with Professional Mentorship.

As proven by the Monaghan Youth Theatre’s established reputation with YTI and NYCI – creative arts is an invaluable tool in helping young people effectively & safely address challenging issues & themes. This project would allow MYT to build upon their creative talents, by not only introducing them to a much more subtle and subtextual form of expression, but an entirely new visual medium in which to present it – Film. Film is all encompassing. It’s light, music, dialogue. It’s gut storytelling writ large. It’s human expression blown to massive proportions on a huge screen. You can see the shimmer & colour of someone’s eye – a detail missed by the inherent distance of theatre. Film would provide an indispensable & intimate platform for young people to address current, real-world dilemmas. Society is not what it was & young people have certainly felt the change, so we wish to explore, discover & project this discussion on an intimate level. Film can also travel further, a chance to beam the youth’s talent to a much grander, international audience. As a rural region, there’s less opportunity in Monaghan for young people to creatively express & explore their issues in a visual way. With multiple, technical components – such as lighting, camerawork, sound design & screenwriting-filmmaking is a complex process not readily accessible to less populated areas. We’d like to change that.

Mentored by screenwriter Mark McNally (BBC Writersroom’s Belfast Voices & N.I Screen’s New Writer Focus), the young people at MYT will encounter the basics of screen storytelling. They’ll dive deep into story structure, visualising themes and character motivations. They’ll then use these tools to constructively express their issues & explore what makes them creatively tick – what story genre do they want to write. Onward, McNally will take the stories expressed & workshop them into a tangible, professionally formatted script. It’ll be a script wherein each participant will find themselves & their ideas very much present. Between the translation of script to screen is the introduction of practical filmmaking, working mechanics & equipment of filmmaking. Using his on-set experience with Derry Girls & BBC’s Doing Money, he will encourage proper set etiquette – how people should respect & communicate with one another. This’ll offer a taste of a fully-fledged film set experience. But beyond the practical, the youth will discover the language of film. Through blocking, camera & lighting angles, the visuals of film can elevate any scene to artistic & personal heights. Therefore, young people will not only assist in crafting their own story but develop the very language in which it’ll be expressed. This Short Film Project is wide ranging, yet tightly constructed, and offers young people multiple avenues in which to explore artistic expression. In writing. In filmmaking. In their eyes. All through a filmmaking experience that’s widely unavailable to them.

All money received under The Young Ensemble Scheme goes to pay artists and equipment.