Musical success for schoolgirl Emma

Emma Dallas
Emma Dallas

A 15-year-old Belfast schoolgirl is celebrating after discovering that she is set to join alumni including Brit Award winner Ed Sheeran and Grammy Award winner Sam Smith when she completes her place on Youth Music Theatre UK’s (YMT) prestigious residential programme this summer.

Youth Music Theatre UK, the leading UK music theatre company for young people, toured the UK and Ireland auditioning over 1,200 young people in 24 cities, and Emma is one of 300 chosen to join the YMT Company to take part in a two/three-week residential course, where she will work with professional creative teams to create a brand new musical version of Gulliver’s Travels.

This will be performed at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast from July 30 - August 1 this year.

Each participant also receives a qualification from Trinity College London, who accredit all YMT’s activities.

Ashfield Girls High School student Emma will work alongside renowned director Des Kennedy and choreographer Jennifer Rooney, who are both from Northern Ireland, and will be joined by Belfast born platinum-selling singer songwriter Duke Special, and Londonderry born stand-up comedian Andrew Doyle to bring Jonathon Swift’s classical satirical tale Gulliver’s Travels to life.

Speaking ahead of rehearsals, Emma said: “I feel very proud and privileged to have been chosen for one of the highly sought after positions with YMT and I’m looking forward to learning new skills and making new friends; who knows, I may even pursue a career in musical theatre.”

YMT Executive Producer Jon Bromwich welcomed Emma to the residential programme: “Emma is an extremely talented individual and she will join a team of creative professionals who hail from Northern Ireland in the production of Gulliver’s Travels at the Lyric Theatre. The production promises to take audiences on a journey through unknown lands with mythical creatures as we bring Jonathon Swift’s classical satirical tale magically to life.”

The production of Gulliver’s Travels is part supported with small grants funding from the Arts Council Northern Ireland. Spokesperson Joanna Johnston said: “The Arts Council is delighted to support this production of Gulliver’s Travels at the Lyric Theatre. It is important that our young people are given opportunities to broaden their creative experiences and, to perform on the stage of the Lyric Theatre will be an experience that stays with them throughout their lives. Youth Music Theatre UK has assembled an impressive creative team in choreographer Jennifer Rooney, director Des Kennedy, and the wonderful Duke Special, and I would encourage everyone to go along and enjoy this musical adaptation of a well-loved tale this July.”

n For more details on how to see Gulliver’s Travels, visit To learn more about YMT in Northern Ireland visit