Laois student wins best male actor award at the Oscars of school theatre in Ireland

Liam Oxley scoops big prize at Bord Gais Energy Student Theatre Awards

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Laois student wins best male actor award at the Oscars of school theatre in Ireland

Liam Oxley stars in Heywood's Musical

A Laois secondary school student has won a big award at the prestigious Bord Gais Energy Student Theatre Awards.

Liam Oxley, of Heywood Community School, was voted Best Male Performance in a Leading Role for his part in the musical 'Little Shop of Horrors' which was staged in the school last November.

The play itself was also shortlisted for ‘Best Musical’ in the awards which were announced last week.

As part of the shortlisting, the school was invited to perform an extract from their show in the Bord Gais Theatre in front of a live audience of students from across Ireland. Only four schools nationwide made the shortlist. Niall Mulpeter was the Heywood CS production's Musical Director. 

Liam was nominated for for his portrayal of the hapless shopkeeper Seymour Krelborn.

“When I got the news I was overcome with shock. I never imagined that I would be shortlisted for such a prestigious award," Liam told the Leinster Express after being nominated for the award.

Thomás Dunne, a 3rd year at St Mary's CBS Portlaoise, was also nominated in the Best Short Scene Script category for his play titled The Wedding Van.

The Laois finalists attended the ‘Oscars’ style awards ceremony, on May 17 in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, hosted by a special guest MC.

All shortlisted schools will receive their own plaque and a group school photo at the ceremony in honour of their achievement.

The awards were hosted by RTÉ 2FM presenter Eoghan McDermott. More than 1,700 primary and secondary school students representing 63 schools from across Ireland attended. They were entertained by The Strypes!

The Awards were set up by Bord Gáis Energy to recognise and reward participation in the dramatic arts in schools around Ireland. This year, 2,616 entries were received from a record 309 primary and secondary schools.

Special guests at the Awards ceremony included members of the Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards judging panel; actor and author Amy Huberman, Dancing with the Stars runner-up Aoibhín Garrihy, best-selling novelist Sinéad Moriarty, writer and storyteller Dave Rudden; Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Manager Stephen Faloon and Bord Gáis Energy sponsorship programme manager Tanya Townsend.

Open to primary school pupils from 3rd – 6th class and all secondary school students, the Awards featured 12 categories including performance and production categories such as Best Overall School Musical, Best Costumes, and Best Performance in a Leading Role to written categories such as Best Dramatic Review and Best Short Scene Script. A new category, Best Original Production, was also added to the 2017 Awards in appreciation of the exceptional quality of original productions entered in 2016.

Commenting on the Awards, Dave Kirwan Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy said: “We set up these Awards four years ago to recognise and reward the incredible effort that goes into schools’ drama all around Ireland at both primary and secondary level. Today was about celebrating all the hard work that the students, teachers and parents put into schools’ drama whether it is acting, writing or directing.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of our winners today and everyone who entered this year’s Awards – the talent, creativity and enthusiasm shown by students, teachers and parents has been exceptional!”

Bord Gáis Energy will be announcing dates for the 2018 Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards in the coming months. Schools who wish to enter next year’s awards can register their interest on bgesta.ie.

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