There’s a creative buzz simmering around North Road in Castletownbere, where the lives of ordinary people are being immortalised through film. ‘The North Roaders’ is a new, exciting soap opera developed by local drama specialist Amy O’Sullivan in collaboration with adults with intellectual disabilities using the services at CoAction Beara. The Soap explores the lives of fictitious everyday people who live and work in the North Road area in Castletownbere.
“We have some very interesting story lines,” says Amy. “We explore family relationships, teenage bullying, the effects of the recession on businesses, and there’s also a spicy drug dealing story that unfolds over the episodes. We have a drama group at CoAction Beara, and all the characters and story lines are developed in partnership with the people in this group. There’s been a lot of careful planning along with lots of rehearsal and plenty of retakes during filming, and we’re all very proud of the episodes we have filmed so far. We’ve even composed our own theme tune to go with the soap opera, and our actors are getting to know their characters so well that often the lines between fiction and reality become blurred.”
Barry Power plays bad boy John Bower in the soap. He likes fast cars and women, but his job in the local jam factory doesn’t support his lavish lifestyle, so he’s always looking for ways to make quick easy money, which ultimately gets him into a lot of trouble. “The best thing about (the soap) is being together with friends and everyone having parts and then watching on the screen after,” says Barry.
Helen O’Neill plays Tina Watts, a 16-year-old student at North Road community college. She is a quiet girl, who is bullied by her best friend, but her loyal personality means that she sticks by her no matter what. “It’s good craic,” says Helen.”It’s fun being someone else for a while”.
Conor McAtasney, manager at Coaction Beara has been watching from the sidelines, as the soap opera develops. “Everybody loves a good soap opera – Fair City, Coronation Street, Eastenders. When the people receiving supports from CoAction were offered the opportunity to do drama classes, a mini soap was the first thing they wanted to do. I just hope the dramas remain on screen!”
The group are planning to air the soap on their very own YouTube channel ‘The North Roaders’, where members of the public can tune in monthly for their soap fix. However, to celebrate the launch of their very first episode they are hosting a red carpet event at Berehaven Holiday Resort on Tuesday, November 4 at 7.30pm. At this exciting event the cast and community of Coaction Beara along with locals and media will enjoy a champagne reception followed by the first three episodes of The North Roaders.
If you are interested in attending this event, please contact Amy O’Sullivan on 087 2121675 to reserve your seat.