Sheffield student, aged 16, hoping for arts festival success

A 16-year-old Sheffield schoolboy has been chosen to take part in a prestigious music, dance, drama and spoken word festival.

Friday, 19th July 2019, 8:00 am

Declan Ryder, who is a student at Birkdale School, has been selected to perform at the British and International Federation of Festivals Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire Regional Championships.

He will represent the Don Valley Music Festival, Speech and Drama section by performing Shakespeare’s famous ‘to be or not to be’ soliloquy from Hamlet at the event, which will take place on Saturday, September 7 at the Leeds College of Music.

Declan said: “Obviously I am honoured to be selected to participate in the regional finals and await them with apprehensive excitement.

“I entered into acting classes at the Don Valley Festival initially because I love performing; adopting a new character and exploring its mannerisms and behaviour has always been a fascinating concept to me.

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“For me I feel like the stage is a place to turn to at all times. Although when you are up there with all eyes focused on you, exposed and alone, you feel empowered by your character.

“I won’t deny that I am slightly anxious about the regionals, but the overriding emotion is one of happiness at the prospect of performing like this again.”

Declan has participated in a number of regional arts festivals since the age of seven.

He won five varied classes at this year's Don Valley Festival spanning the music and drama sections, ranging from acting to musical theatre and television news reader presenting. He was also named as the most outstanding competitor in the Speech and Drama section. The winning performances at the championship event will be awarded prizes.