Not Just Another Stage School

NPAS Smash Logo

Just down the street from Google’s European HQ on Barrow Street, the rough stone walls of The Factory building houses the National Performing Arts School.

Set up 20 years ago by Eamon Farrell and Jill Doyle to teach the skills needed to make a living in the world of film, TV and theatre production, the Factory is a lively hub for acting, dance and singing. It draws hundreds of children and adults to Ringsend every week for hour-long classes in ballet, jazz dance and music. They even teach Bollywood dancing. On weekends and after school, kids as young as three take classes. The emphasis is on having fun and building confidence. They learn what they are good at and whether they want to pursue it.

People also come from all over Dublin and beyond, for week-long intensive courses in movie making, acting and drama, while its Glee Club summer camps in July and August draw children from as far away as Sligo and Waterford. One class of students on an Easter course made a movie in one week. “We are very much a national school. Kids meet people from lots of different backgrounds and cultures here,” said a spokesman for NPAS.

For those who want a performing career, a casting agency runs alongside the school, which organises photo shoots and helps with auditions. A few Factory children have just been cast in a new movie. One of NPAS’s most famous graduates is Hollywood A-Lister Colin Farrell, brother of the co-founder Eamon. Colin took dance and drama classes at NPAS before getting his first movie breaks. Also based at the Factory are a number of Irish film directors such as Kirstin Sheridan, daughter of Jim Sheridan. The party for Kirsten’s most recent film was also held there.

Last month, students were hard at work rehearsing the NPAS Summer show Choices in Life, which took place at The Olympia Theatre on June 1st and 2nd.

By Shan Kelly