Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Spelling Bees - not the stage version, but the real school competition

Bruiser Theatre Company’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee lives on in our household four weeks after the run in The MAC ended. While she didn’t get to see the show, Littl’un has read and memorised the show’s programme cover to cover, and is slowing reverse engineering the show by asking me more and more detailed questions about the characters and the plot. (Note to self – the show’s page on Wikipedia has quite a lot of the plot details I’ve forgotten!)
Bruiser are raising funds on Indiegogo to support their ten day Summer School that provides 14 year olds and over training in physical theatre. Generous funders get the perk of co-writing a brand new song with Duke Special!
While I’d come across the notion of spelling bees before seeing the play, I’d always written them off as an American invention and had never seen one run in Northern Ireland.

Then about the same time as Bruiser’s Spelling Bee launched onto the Belfast stage, as a school governor I became aware that we had a school child who was through to the County Antrim heat in Ballycastle later this week.

As part of their ongoing literacy initiatives, Easons are running spelling bees in every county of Ireland, with the county heat finalists being brought together for provincial finals and then the all-Ireland final in June. You can follow the full results on Eason’s website. Some of the results from the Ulster provincial heats are already in:
  • Armagh – Ryce McClatchey from Millington Primary School
  • Derry – Tara O’Boyle from St. Brigid’s Primary School in Mayogall (won after a closely-fought tie-break)
  • Donegal – Jamie Griffin from St. Bridget’s N.S. in Convoy
  • Cavan – Adam Kelly from Killygarry N.S (Adam has form as a runner up in the 2012 All-Ireland final)
  • Tyrone – James Rice from St. Patrick’s Primary School in Dungannon
  • Fermanagh – Caitlin Waterson from St. Mary’s Primary School in Teemore
  • Monaghan – Monday 27 May
  • Antrim – Wednesday 29 May
  • Down – Thursday 30 May
The Ulster final takes place on Wednesday June 19 in the Belfast Donegall Place branch of Easons and will be broadcast as part of Ryan Rubridy’s RTE 2fm show.

The All-Ireland final is on Friday June 21.

Best of luck to all the spellers. Rather you than me!

In the meantime, we’ll continue to call out words to each other at the dinner table, enjoying the pronunciation guide in the Easons-branded Collins dictionary, and marvelling at Collins’ preference for –ize endings over the more common Irish/British –ise endings.

Disclosure - this post was triggered by an Easons Spelling Bee dictionary arriving on the doorstep a few weeks ago along with the 2013 Rules for running a bee. The mini-bees that have been conducted around our dinner table threaten to reveal my over-reliance on the spell-checker.

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