New-Bridge Hosts Powerful ‘Mixed Marriage’ Drama

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Powerful mixed marriage drama comes to Banbridge students

New-Bridge Integrated College will host more than 90 students from the Banbridge Area Learning Community on Friday (18th October) for a unique play as part of the Sharing Classrooms Deepening Learning (SCDL) Project.


Developed by the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) and the Northern Ireland Mixed Marriage Association (NIMMA), the Drama aims to help students discuss issues related to the past and reconciliation. The play is linked to real life stories of mixed marriage couples featured in the NIMMA book ‘Mixed Emotions’.


The SCDL Project seeks to create inclusive environments in increasingly diverse classrooms and is funded by the International Fund for Ireland through its Sharing in Education Programme and managed by the NICIE.


International Fund for Ireland Chairman, Dr Adrian Johnston, said:

“The SCDL Project has been successful in developing creative approaches that engage young people and get important ideas across. This play encourages young people to look at the continued impact of our past and take a role in fostering better understanding between communities. SCDL is part of the International Fund for Ireland’s Sharing in Education Programme which aims to facilitate integration, promote understanding and improve community relations in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties.”


SCDL Project Manager, Bernie Kells, liaised with NIMMA to have its book used by local teachers and said: “We foresee a great drama with accompanying teacher resources that are explicitly connected to ‘Mixed Emotions’. The play will also feature on a showcase video that we are making about the SCDL Project, excerpts of which will be used online.”


NIMMA Chairman Ken Dunn said; “This is a major advance for NIMMA and one that allows us to reach one of our target audiences, teenagers. NIMMA has a simple, straightforward message of tolerance and reconciliation and the book was written as a vehicle for that message and with an audience of young people specifically in mind. We thank the International Fund for Ireland and our partners in NICIE for their faith in the project, their commitment to it and their vision in producing it, and making it so accessible to our young people.”


For further information on the Mixed Emotions book and play visit




For further information or to request interviews please contact:

Bernie Kells, Project Manager for Sharing Classrooms: Deepening Learning on Tel. 02890 972811


Notes to Editor


About the International Fund for Ireland:

The International Fund for Ireland is an independent, international organisation established by the Irish and British Governments in 1986. The Fund’s main objectives are to promote economic and social advance and encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation between Unionists and Nationalists throughout the island of Ireland.

Contributors to the Fund are the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Since its inception, the Fund has committed more than £707m/€890m to a wide variety of projects in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties. Developing and funding initiatives that tackle segregation and promote integration to build a lasting peace in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties is a key priority for the Fund.


About Sharing Classrooms: Deepening Learning

The Sharing Classrooms: Deepening Learning (SCDL) project is funded by the International Fund for Ireland  to work with teachers in the Area Learning Communities. The project provides professional development for teachers, who, as a result of Entitlement Framework (EF) collaboration arrangements between schools, teach classes comprised of students from different schools. As full implementation of the Entitlement Framework is required by 2015, the increasing movement of students between different schools and across sectors presents unprecedented opportunities for trust-building, community relations, reconciliation work and rich learning. SCDL offers bespoke support within 17 Area Learning Communities. An added bonus for teachers who complete SCDL training is formal accreditation and CAT points (via Stranmillis and St Mary’s University College). SCDL training is also mapped to teacher professional development portfolios through the GTCNI teacher competencies and also the Professional standards for Qualification in Headship.


About the Sharing in Education Programme:

Funded by the International Fund for Ireland and managed by the Department of Education, the Sharing in Education Programme seeks to break down the barriers from our historic conflict by providing a range of opportunities for young people to learn and work together.

By supporting a variety of strategic projects that enable young people to participate in shared educational experiences, the Programme helps to facilitate reconciliation for a shared future.


The Fund’s Sharing in Education Programme seeks to break down barriers from Northern Ireland’s historic conflict by providing a range of opportunities for young people to learn and work together. To date over £16m has been invested in SiEP which was launched in 2008.


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