BallyEnders - A Puppet Soap Opera by CAN

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On the 1st July, CAN (Compass Advocacy Network) & Beyond Skin begin the cast recruitment and writing process for BallyEnders - a Soap Opera using puppets from the Jim Henson workshop.

CAN is a unique, user-led charity based in the Causeway Coast supporting people with learning disabilities, Autism and mental health issues. Compass Advocacy was set up in 1996 as a small self-help group for 12 individuals with learning disabilities. It has since flourished into an 18 staff strong organisation with over 60 volunteers and 250+ accessing the provided services CAN works with people with learning disabilities aged 12 and over and has retained all of the unique qualities from its inception includinremaining user-led and managed, independent, progressive and proactive.

CAN’s underpinning aim is to create an organisation for informed and empowered individuals to push back the barriers. We want people with learning disabilities to have the same fulfilling and creative opportunities as every other citizen therefore leading to our membership taking control over their own lives and destinies… “Enhancing Lives…Creating Change”

The workshop programme hosted online is supported by CFNI (Covid Response Fund) and Halifax Foundation Northern Ireland (Therapeutic Arts)


The puppetry drama workshops will be facilitated by Jamie Kooji, a Dutch born actress based in Holywood Co.Down. Starting acting at the age of 19 Jamie was cast in a Dutch Feature Film ’Scars’, which was nominated for the CIFF DC Independent Film Festival (Washington) and winner 2015 of West Virginia Film Festival. Before her move to England she produced, and starred in a show called DARE, which ended up being a massive success capturing the hearts of people across the Dutch nation. When she discovered her love for acting, she knew she wanted to get trained internationally. She got accepted at ALRA - North (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) where she trained from 2013 - 2016. After her graduation she moved to London where she conducted drama classes to a variety of age groups and living the proper ‘jobbing actor’s’ lifestyle. Jamie has worked as an actress for Japanese Television, Easyjet and Heineken to name but a few. After her ALRA training she has taught drama at ‘Northern Star Acting’ and ‘City Acting’ in London and since her move to Northern Ireland she has been teaching Acting for Camera at Rose Bruford (the first accredited drama school in Belfast). Assisting Jamie with the music element of the project is Slawomir (Swav) Cichy - a drummer, percussionist, founder & art director of Musicland academy in Lisburn. Swav who moved to Northern Ireland from Poland over a decade ago, has been Involved in many music & art projects in Europe & UK.

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