Show time for Garth

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A Ballycastle composer who has provided music for the FIFA World Cup, RTE and BBC is back on the home soil this month for a musical theatre performance of Macbeth at The Lyric in Belfast.

In collaborated with Youth Music Theatre UK (YMT), Garth McConaghie, a former pupil of Dalriada, has been working on the alternative musical since 2011 and will be offering local audiences a thrilling show loaded with dubstep electronic music when this Shakespeare exclusive comes to the stage at the end of July.

Garth has been working alongside accomplished director Stuart Harvey to bring this exhilarating performance of Macbeth, as it has never been seen before, to Northern Ireland.

Garth explained: “I wrote Macbeth, the musical, in 2011 and have developed it ever since, mainly over two years of productions in England, in 2011 and 2012.

“My main objectives for Macbeth were: To attract a young audience to both Shakespeare and musicals, who wouldn’t normally be interested in either Shakespeare or musicals.

“But, also, to attract a young audience who already do like musicals but to show them that Shakespeare can be interesting, cool and relevant.

“To challenge the young performers’ musically/vocally - give them something to really get their teeth into which makes for a fun alternative experience to doing Annie or Oliver.

“And to extend the emotional experience of Shakespeare’s profound text.”

Speaking about his local roots, Garth continued: “Dalriada was and is a brilliant school for young people interested in pursuing studies in Music.

“When I was there, the Head of Music was the legendary Bobby McQuillan. It is now headed by the very able Heather Montgomery.

“I’m proud to have gone to such a brilliant school which, although not the biggest in the world, has a fantastic ethos and community spirit.”

Outlining his achievements including a Braodway performance next year, Garth continued: “I wrote a score for a short film broadcast at the 2010 World Cup Closing Ceremony, in South Africa.

“The theme of the ceremony was ‘malaria’ and the film was about the malaria problem. I’d written it initially for its first broadcast on national Comic Relief.

“It was written by Richard Curtis and narrated by Martin Freeman.

“I work regularly as a composer/musical director for the Lyric theatre and other professional theatre companies in NI.

“The childrens’ play, ‘Egg’, by Cahoots NI, with my score telling the story, is going to Broadway next year and will tour the USA for seven months.

“I also take commissions for BBC NI and RTE - currently scoring a radio play for RTE called ‘Ulster Volunteers’. Later this year, I’m writing the music for the Lyric’s adult Christmas show by Marie Jones, called ‘Mistletoe and Crime’.”

Performances of Macbeth run from Wednesday 23 July until Saturday 26 July at the Lyric Theatre Belfast.

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Garth added: “This is an exceptional opportunity for young people from Northern Ireland to develop their musical theatre skills alongside others from all over the UK.

“Our production is particularly exciting as, unlike Annie or Oliver, it allows young people to be involved in the creation and performance of brand new work in front of live audiences, with live classical instruments and urban, electronic music.

“ I’m very excited about our production debuting on the best stage in Belfast this summer.”

* For a look at a trailer of Macbeth, check out


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