Ballymoney teen becomes Youth Theatre tutor

Brandon Lyons - actor, Youth Theatre (Riverside). (Photo: Nigel McDowell)
Brandon Lyons - actor, Youth Theatre (Riverside). (Photo: Nigel McDowell)

A young Ballymoney actor who was told to ‘follow his dream’ by none other than Jimmy Nesbitt has been named as an Associate Tutor with the Riverside Theatre’s Youth group.

18-year-old Brandon Lyons has been a member of the Riverside Youth Theatre since he was a boy of ten and now, having worked his way through the ranks, has been given the honour of being an Associate Tutor.

“It’s a huge honour,” said the former Ballymoney High School student.

“I will now be helping the tutors Neil and Paul McMaster with the Youth Theatre shows, directing my own pieces and having a say in casting the shows.”

Brandon’s first interest was in singing but it was his mum Darlene who who helped him make the move into theatre.

“My mum Darlene knew Neil McMaster as she used to direct shows for the Glebeside Community Association.

“Neil said to mum that I should try acting so I went along to the Riverside Youth Theatre.

“The first show we did was called No1 Show and it was a lot of different shows rolled into one and I played the part of Mickey in Blood Brothers in it.

“That was the first role I ever played.

“James Nesbitt came to see the show and told me that he loved it. He also told me to keep at the acting and not to give up.”

After leaving school, Brandon went to the Northern Regional College in Ballymoney to study Performing Arts.

He is currently in the last few months of his course there and is rehearsing for ‘Into The Woods’ which will take to the stage of the Riverside Theatre later this year.

Brandon will play Rapunzel’s Prince in the Sondheim musical and has already been to see the Disney film adaptation of the show.

“My favourte part to date was Jean Valjean in NRC’s Les Miserables last year and with Riverside Youth Theatre it has to be Tom Sawyer when I was 14 but I’m really looking forward to ‘Into The Woods’ and playing the Prince.”

Brandon plans to gain a degree in Performing Arts but his dream is to become a film actor.

“I am never going to give up on that dream,” he said.