Archive: April 2010

Lurgan native Conleth Kane to battle it out on RTE's 'Fame' The Musical

27 April 2010

26 year-old Conleth Kane from Lurgan is set to battle it out live in the Helix this Sunday on RTÉ’s Fame: The Musical in association with Spar.

In a first for Irish television, Fame: The Musical is offering one boy and one girl the chance to kick-start their career and land the lead role in the nationwide tour of Fame: The Musical.

Conleth moved to London in 2003 to pursue a professional performing career as he says; that’s where all the musical theatre opportunities happened to be.  As well as being a jobbing actor he also teaches drama one day a week.  He has performed professionally in Walt Disney’s international tour of Beauty and the Beast and as an understudy in a UK touring production of Joseph.  Conleth has also appeared in a number of episodes of BBC drama series, Casualty, in 2009 as a student doctor.

The search for the stars of Fame: The Musical was launched in January and thousands of applications were received.  Twelve finalists were chosen from the hundreds of performers who went on to audition at locations in Dublin, Cork, and in London's West End. 

The first six finalists performed last night, (Sunday 25 April) and 22 year-old Drew Millar from Glasgow was the first to say goodbye to his 'Fame' dream.  Conleth will perform alongside five other finalists this Sunday 2 May. 

In the end, only two performers will be chosen to fill the coveted roles of 'Nick' and 'Serena' in a nationwide tour of Fame: The Musical

Conleth says, Getting the role of Nick in the Irish production of Fame: The Musical would be an amazing coming home for me.

Conleth always knew he wanted a career in musical theatre and started writing to agents when he was just 14 year of age.  At 15 he applied to drama school in London and got offered a place. His parents insisted he do his GCSEs after which he attended a Performing Arts School in Belfast. He then applied to courses in London and was accepted into The Arts Educational School to study Musical Theatre. In an attempt to raise money to pay the £11,000 fee for his first year, Conleth wrote to 300 companies in Northern Ireland and raised money in pubs by going around with a bucket for his cause. He raised the full amount in only 4 months.

Conleth says, It’s really important to me that I do well in this competition to prove to everyone at home in Lurgan that their donations were well worth it! I really appreciate their support and will give the performance of my life this Sunday. 

Conleth will perform the Mamma Mia hit 'The Winner Takes It All' this Sunday. 

Executive Producer, Larry Bass says, As is in evidence from this first live show, Fame: The Musical has uncovered some real, previously unseen talent. The standard that has emerged has been really high, and I’ve no doubt that these performers will continue to enthral audiences as the competition heats up over the next seven weeks. They all really want to win, as the prize on offer is a real career opportunity.

As well as performing for the public vote, the finalists must also win over the judges; stage producer, Robert C Kelly, actor and director Simon Delaney and actress and singer Erica Gimpel, who starred as 'Coco Hernandez' in the original 'Fame' TV series

Fame: The Musical live on RTÉ One this Sunday at 6.30pm with Results show at 8.30pm.

Dressed to a Tea from the catwalk to the races

20 April 2010

This summer, Down Royal Racecourse will be hosting a series of chic and sophisticated Afternoon Teas to add an extra special touch to a day at the races.

The fashion teas, which will be held on the 3rd and 28th May, will allow guests to enjoy complete decadence and luxury with a traditional pre-race afternoon tea.  For added style and glamour, guests can unwind to music from a harpist and enjoy a fashion presentation of the season’s must-have trends from Hillsborough boutique, Candy Plum.  The stylish boutique will also be presenting a £250.00 gift voucher for the Best Dressed Lady at the teas.

Mike Todd, Manager of Down Royal said; I am thrilled to bring this new dimension to race days.  It’s a perfect opportunity for ladies to get really pampered and enjoy a day at the races and my staff will be on hand to make sure that they are treated like royalty.

Hosted by Pamela Ballantine, who will also give race tips and advice, the teas are the perfect way to relax, indulge and mingle in the most luxurious surroundings before the excitement and tension of the races. 

In addition, each guest will receive a Down Royal’s Little Black Book of Racing, a Vichy sample product and entry to a raffle to win a hamper of Vichy product, kindly donated by Clear Pharmacy Banbridge.

Tickets are priced at £30.00 and are available from Down Royal on 028 9262 1256 or online at

Alice in Wonderland reinvented in Belfast - curiouser and curiouser?

13 April 2010
The Queen of Hearts in the Alice in Wonderland themed hair show

Michael Quinn, who is renowned in Northern Ireland for his innovative and creative hairdressing, grabbed the attention of a fashion hungry audience with his Alice in Wonderland themed hair show on the closing night of Belfast FASHIONWEEK.

The hair show, which was inspired by the highly anticipated Tim Burton interpretation of Alice in Wonderland, provided a spectacle of a tea party for all to feast their eyes upon. Every inch of the hair creations - from the rabbit’s ears, to the Mad Hatter’s hat and the tail of the Cheshire cat was created using real hair.

Styled to perfection, the extraordinary hair pieces were complimented by costumes with a modern and stylish twist, inventive make up and body painting and innovative and intricate nail art.  The choreography of the characters and the loud music added the finishing touches to what was a remarkable and memorable show.

'It has been impossible to avoid the hype around the Alice in Wonderland film this year, and what better inspiration for a hair show than a fairytale story mixed with Tim Burton – one of the most flamboyant directors of all time. It allowed me to let my creative juices flow, and in particular I was able to focus on using hair pieces, which is where my passion lies. I’m proud of what we were able to achieve as a team, but now I have to start thinking of what to do next season!'

Michael, along with his team, spent weeks planning and developing the hair concepts, and researching the characters behind the stunning show. Audience members were in awe of the entire performance, and the hard work put in by Michael and his talented team was rewarded with a deserving standing ovation from all who were there.

James Street South

07 April 2010

Three of Northern Ireland’s best chefs have been selected to appear on BBC Two's popular culinary show, Great British Menu. The local culinary talents who will battle it out in the regional heats include James Street South’s Niall McKenna, who will be competing in the Northern Ireland region against Brian McCann from Shu and Derek Creagh formerly of Deane’s restaurant.

 The 2010 Great British Menu will retain its distinctive format, with a few twists. Celebrating the wealth of delicious produce grown, reared and fished across the UK, the fifth series of Great British Menu will see our local chefs competing against a wealth of the UK’s top chefs for the opportunity to cook a glorious banquet. The nation’s long-time advocate of local, seasonal food, HRH The Prince of Wales, was recently announced as the host for this year’s Great British Menu finale banquet – a celebration of the very finest local British produce - to be held in early summer 2010. The guest list for the banquet will be made up of some of the best British food producers and suppliers from around the country.

And in one of the series’ new twists, the National Trust, with its strong tradition of local food production, is brought on board as the chefs are tasked with sourcing as many ingredients as they can from farms, estates and the surrounding neighbourhood of an historic property in their region. Instead of their usual suppliers, the chefs will have to scour the land to unearth the very finest produce, celebrating the nation’s home grown food.

Great British Menu will be shown on BBC Two, from Tuesday 6th April.

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