The Mayor of Derry and Strabane has paid tribute to the ‘fabulous work’ being carried out by the multi award-winning Stage Beyond Theatre Company which launched its re-brand and new logo this week.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Sandra Duffy pictured with members and staff from Stage Beyond at the Millennium Forum. Included on right are awards the company have picked up this year.

Councillor Sandra Duffy visited Stage Beyond at the Millennium Forum as part of her official engagements to congratulate the theatre company on their recent local, regional, national and international awards recognition.

You Talking to Me! The Mayor in conversation with her puppet at Stage Beyond Theatre Company.

The Mayor was suitably impressed by Stage Beyond’s latest prestigious plaudits which include:

  • The New York Festivals Radio Award 2021 for ‘Hamlet, Prince of Derry’ adapted as a radio play for RTE Drama On One (Best Digital Drama).
  • Karen Burnett (Carer), winner of ‘Carer of the Year’ in the 2022 Derry Journal People of the Year Awards.
  • Bernie Shiels (member and Chair of the Board), winner of ‘Inspirational Trustee’ at the Northern Ireland Arts & Business NI Awards 2022.
  • Bryan Sutherland (member), RADA Shakespeare Bronze Award.
  • Dee Conaghan (Artistic Director), the NI representative featured in the National Lottery Good Causes ‘People’s Portraits’ Series for her life’s work dedicated to addressing the lack of arts provision for young adults with learning disabilities.

During her visit the First Citizen was presented with a specially commissioned mayoral themed puppet sporting a Derry City FC replica kit in honour of the Candy Stripes lifting the FAI Cup the previous day in Dublin. She also joined company members celebrating the launch of their newly branded Stage Beyond T-shirt and was presented with her own one to wear as a keepsake of her visit.

The Mayor meets her puppet version also sporting the Candy Stripe colours hot off the press courtesy of Stage Beyond.

Writing on her official social media platform afterwards, the Mayor said: “I absolutely loved visiting the Stage Beyond team in the Millennium Forum. They are such an amazing bunch with so much talent. I was delighted to hear all about their recent awards and their upcoming plans. Keep up the fabulous work!”

Stage Beyond was established 20 years ago to address the lack of access to the arts for young adults with learning disabilities including the provision of professional theatre training and flagship annual productions supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The Mayor Sandra Duffy is introduced to some of the members at Stage Beyond Theatre Company.

Dee Conaghan, Artistic Director, thanked the Mayor for taking time in her busy schedule of official engagements for such an enjoyable visit to the theatre company and hear about their ground-breaking theatre work including exciting new plans for the year ahead.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Sandra Duffy pictured with some of the members from the Stage Beyond Theatre Company at the Millennium Forum on Monday last and some of the awards the group have picked up this year. From left are Jean Dunn, Brendan Lavery, Dee Conaghan, Artistic Director, Stage Beyond, Bryan Sutherland, Bernie Shiels and Karen Burnett.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Sandra Duffy pictured with her puppet.