Capall Dorcha Theatre Company
Capall Dorcha is a Gaelic translation of Dark Horse.
The phrase “You are a dark horse” is a popular saying coined for the underdog. It was originally a horse racing term for a racehorse that was unfamiliar to gamblers and therefore is difficult to place betting odds on. However, then the horse would go on to become a winner and confound everyone’s expectations.
Founded in 2015 by Executive Creative Producer Barry Robertson, Capall Dorcha Theatre Company has focused on creating quality theatre experiences for audiences and creative outreach experiences for young people and adults in a region of Scotland with historically low arts participation.
The elegant Gaelic translation of “Dark Horse” was the ideal name for this new theatre company with the meaning of the phrase matching the vision of the company from the outset. The idea that a new company could spring up and engage with individuals in Ayrshire, where arts participation has been so low in the past, works well with the history of the phrase.
Upon graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Barry returned to his native Ayrshire and experimented with establishing a small show. This became the successful ‘A Night of Broadway’ production, which started playing several times a year at the Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine. The show is a professional theatre production taking the form of a Musical Theatre Cabaret, performed by experienced professional singers, and bringing the show to audiences who would usually have to travel to the bigger cities to see such work and tours the west of Scotland.
Barry said “Capall Dorcha began as the local people invested in me. When I was going to drama school, I had no funding in place to pay for the tuition; I couldn’t afford it. I was working in the local community and travelling to Glasgow to get private acting lessons and attend amateur theatre that was really my first opportunity to take part in theatre as there was nothing available here in North Ayrshire. Once I found out I got accepted into the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, it was only through the generosity of local people, businesses and some small charities that I manage to attend the course in Wales and gain my education in the arts. Without this act of kindness, Capall Dorcha wouldn’t be here today. You see on my return from London after living there for a short time; I realised that by creating a social enterprise and basing it here in Ardrossan, I could give back to those who gave so much to me, allowing me to share that education with those who helped me”.
Within two years the social enterprise has grown, our theatre production ‘A Night of Broadway now tours Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire and Inverclyde and our education outreach division ‘Ensemble’ was recently awarded funding from the Big Lottery Fund allowing us for the first time to create outreach projects based in Ardrossan for the community.
To date, the organisation has had over 1500 partons visiting its theatre productions and over 2100 young people across North Ayrshire, and Arran attend a Professional Development Workshop supported by our partners and funders.
Alongside these professional theatre productions, we wanted to nurture new talent in Ayrshire and to encourage young people and adults to find new ways of creating and of expressing themselves. With this in mind, Capall Dorcha Ensemble was born, taking the form of both Youth Theatre and Professional Development. Which to date 770 young people have participated in a free professional development workshop.
support the professional development of all through our training programmes and support excellence by developing the creative talent of artists and individuals, regardless of age, ability or background. Our aim – ‘To provide the Ayrshire community with the opportunity to reach their creative potential through a theatre arts experience.’
Capall Dorcha Ensemble started after the theatre company was award funding in 2015 from North Ayrshire Council to provide an Ensemble Professional Development workshop in Musical Theatre and film, allowing us to visit secondary schools across North Ayrshire and Arran and invite those young people who wished to take part in a week-long workshop. Two years later and five Professional Development workshops later the organisation has allowed over 2100 young people to take part in the creative arts through theatre working with industry professionals here in our region.
In 2017 thanks to the Big Lottery Fund. Capall Dorcha Theatre Company was awarded funding to allow ‘Ensemble’to become a weekly outreach programme based here in our home of Ardrossan.
Launching in 2018 the organisation will:
· Establish a weekly youth theatre
· Establish an adult play reading class
· Develop Spring and Summer Workshops
· Deliver Arts Awards programme roviding professional qualifications
· Deliver free to attend drama workshops in all Ardrossan Schools
· Develop a volunteer strategy – providing and upskilling our volunteers with creative art skills.
· Provide a creative space for those living with dementia
· Create a community board that will develop the vision and direction of the community outreach work that we provide in our community with the aim:
‘To support the professional development of all through our training programmes and support excellence by developing the creative talent of artists and individuals, regardless of age, ability or background. Our aim – ‘To provide the Ayrshire community with the opportunity to reach their creative potential through a theatre arts experience.’
Please view our Guidelines Procedures and Policies document.
The Professional Development arm of Ensemble gives participants the opportunity to work with professional actors, vocal coaches, directors and other practitioners in workshops designed to provide an in-depth insight into the realities of working in Scottish theatre.
These workshops are for anyone who is looking for a higher level of experience in drama and the theatre industry. Perfect for those who would like to build on their artistic skills, gain more theatre experience and will help those who are thinking of applying for drama school or theatre courses.
So far hundreds of young people have participated in free workshops run by Capall Dorcha Ensemble Professional Development in North Ayrshire and Arran, with classes running on topics such as ‘Acting Through Song and for Camera’, ‘Introduction to Shakespeare’ and ‘Devising Script for Camera’.
Moreover, since starting this arm of Ensemble, this opportunity has been free to all since starting thanks to the kind and generous support from our funders to make this possible.