Northern Ireland has developed an amazing acting industry over the years, with the likes of A-List actors Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt both coming from the humble beginnings of Northern Ireland.

Our acting industry has been even further propelled in recent years thanks to the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, which films throughout Northern Ireland – and boasts some local stars amongst its cast.

With this in mind, Bright Young Things director and Performing Arts lecturer Lisa Duffy has spilled her top 10 tips with belfastvibe on how to break into the industry – and the benefits of nurturing talent in those creative types.

1. Start Early

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Exposing children to drama from as early as 3 years old ensures that they will not only have a sound knowledge of the industry but also the communication skills to take them soaring through youth theatre and into the professional industry.

2. Get Involved


Practise makes perfect and Northern Ireland is full of youth and amateur arts organisations for everyone from age 0 – 100, the opportunities are endless.

3. Think Outside The Box


Drama is not just for the stage but can provide priceless benefits to most careers. Statistics show more employers increasingly favour CVs with evidence of performing arts in industries as wide reaching as medicine, marketing and law.

4. The Power Of Failure


Trial and error, exploration and allowing yourself to be silly is a job requirement in performing arts and provides an invaluable lesson in resilience, self confidence and learning from our mistakes. A lesson we all need – young or old!

5. Be A Sponge


The arts are about sharing ideas, adapting and reinterpreting stories so soak up every article, master class, live performance and play you can get your hands on. At BYT we are so proud to have James Nesbitt as our patron, setting an inspiring example to our bright young things.

6. Be a grafter


At BYT, like most arts organisations across Northern Ireland, we offer work experience and shadowing opportunities which will be invaluable to anyone hoping to understand the industry better. So find the organisation you most admire, be eager and volunteer your time.

7. Know Your Theory


Study, study, study! If you want to get far in the performing arts industry, you need to know the background, the key practitioners, directors and playwrights.

8. Network – Get In The Know!


Social media is full of arts events and forums. Take part in as many conversations as you can both online and in person and stay up to date with current political and social issues.

9. Make Your Own Work


You do not need to wait by the phone to make art! Write your own scripts, devise your own theatre, choreograph your own dance show and spread the word. This is the best way to learn quickly!

10. Never Stop Learning

Train, train and train some more! The performers, artists and arts facilitators that get employed over and over again in NI are those that are thirsty to learn new techniques and continuously develop their practise.

Leanne and her BYT friends

Feeling inspired? If so and you know a talented young person between the age of 3 and 18 then check out the endless opportunities available from the programmes of Bright Young Things. With thanks to international actor and school Patron James Nesbitt joining forces with BYT; two lucky young people, whose circumstances may not normally allow them to avail of private drama and confidence building classes, will have the chance to secure a fully funded place on the scholarship programme for 2016.

Applications are now open and further information is available at

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