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      Tuesday 25 May 2010

      Schoolchildren at George Best Belfast City Airport were today given a masterclass from some of Ireland’s finest actors and writers at the launch of the musical Dancing Shoes: The George Best Story.
      Writers Marie Jones and Martin Lynch ended recent speculation at today’s masterclasss as they unveiled County Tyrone’s Aidan O’Neill as the actor who will play George.

      Dancing Shoes tells of the turbulent life of the flawed football genius, from his childhood days kicking a tennis ball against a gable wall on the Cregagh estate, to a life of fame, fortune and controversy.

      George Best Belfast City Airport is one of the prinicpal sponsors of the musical which will run in the Grand Opera House this summer, depicting George’s life through song.

      Writers and actors held a special workshop at the airport with pupils from St Joseph’s Primary and Victoria Park Primary in east Belfast, who learnt some of the skills required in producing a musical, from scripting and story building to improvising and acting.

      Ruth Kimbley, from George Best Belfast City Airport, said: “Everyone at the airport is excited to be involved with what promises to be the biggest production of the year. It’s fantastic that the actor who will play George and so many of the others involved are here today to work with children from our adopted schools.

      “We are sponsoring the production company through our Community Fund, which aims to support valuable community projects. We want to help young people develop their skills and this is certain to be an inspirational experience for them.

      “Who knows, we could even see some of them treading the boards of the theatre some day!”

      The musical combines the talents of two of Northern Ireland's most popular playwrights, Martin Lynch and Marie Jones, with the songwriting skills of Glasgow's JJ Gilmour and Belfast's Pat Gribben.

      Martin Lynch, whose company GBL is producing Dancing Shoes, said: “We are delighted to receive support from George Best Belfast City Airport for this show and to work with local children in whom we hope we can instill our love of writing and acting.

      “To unveil our lead actor here today in the airport named after the legendary soccer star feels very special and appropriate.”

      Directed by Peter Sheridan, the show will also star Belfast women Alana Kerr, Kerri Quinn, Maria Connolly as well as Paddy Jenkins, Conor Grimes, Matthew McElhinney, Marty Maguire and Packy Lee.

      Several of those involved in the musical will visit the airport’s adopted schools over the next fortnight to hold day-long workshops.

      Dancing Shoes will be staged in the Grand Opera House from July 28 until August 14 before travelling to other cities including Dublin and Glasgow.

      Aidan O'Neill demonstrates his ball skills to the airports adopted school kids!