'Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.' My mother is a wise woman and without a shadow of a doubt, this has been her most-used quotation over the years. Another of her favourites is 'have a big glass of water and everything will be okay.' You could be at death's door or encountering the biggest crisis you've ever faced but good old Mary has always had a fervent faith in a trusty glass of H2O to ease all of life's woes. Has it worked? Each and every time. Fair play to you, mummy.
Procrastination is the thief of time and so after many years of pondering, I recently made a massive decision to focus all of my energies into something that I have been passionate about from the age of four - Speech and Drama.
Many of you reading this will remember going to the classes that I attended as a child and teenager with the wonderful Carmela Kielty as the teacher. A formidable woman whose genius and literary knowledge knew no bounds. Classes were in the old Banbridge Leisure Centre and I still remember the first acting scene that I was ever given from 'A Little Princess' by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was a beautiful scene when Sara was sitting on the attic floor looking up at a tiny window and talking to her doll. At that moment, I became Sara and I delighted in the novelty of the experience. It was that experience that ignited a flame of passion in me that would never go out.
Throughout the years I used to look forward to my class with Ms Kielty every Wednesday afternoon when I could learn more and more from her and build upon my knowledge and skills. Sometimes I even went to her Newry class on a Saturday as well. I would perform each piece with such enthusiasm and Ms Kielty would give guidance, critique and recommendations for improvement. Every time she gave me a new piece to perform I was so excited and couldn't wait to learn it off and practise it at home* (*torture my whole family who were reciting it in their sleep).
PASSION FOR PERFORMANCE
I soon began to compete in festivals all over Northern Ireland and undertake Speech and Drama examinations and it became my favourite hobby. My Irish Dancing classes were ignored and my piano classes were pushed aside. I put on shows at break-time for my class-mates at St Mary's Primary School, Banbridge (some of whom still remember this!) and auditioned for every school play and drama society I could find. I played Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz at St Mary's and realised that I had developed a love of performance.
As a teenager, I continued with my love of Speech and Drama and made some great friends along the way who shared my passion for it. As I moved towards adulthood, I was faced with a big decision - whether to follow the route of professional acting or to opt for what was perceived to a less risky, more stable choice. I chose the latter and became a lawyer. Since the age of eighteen I have missed the void in my life that was Speech and Drama. I donated a prize to the Banbridge Festival of Performing Arts, the 'Sinead Lunny Trophy', I kept in touch with people still involved in the scene, I attended performances to watch others, but I wasn't fulfilled.
I launched my Speech and Drama school in March 2017 and thankfully it appears to be going from strength to strength. I have big plans to continue to grow it and I am delighted to have at last seized the day and am following my dream. It is a big step and definitely challenging but at least I know that if things get tough, a big glass of water will make everything okay.