Big thank you from

Jenny Monroe talks to Nigel Humphries

Nigel HumphriesNigel Humphries, 44, from Lisburn works part-time as a Finance and Human Resource Manager for the Belfast based Educational Shakespeare Company (ESC). He attended classes held by ESC and then became a volunteer before taking up his two days a week paid job. The ESC uses the medium and practice of filmmaking to help groups and individuals understand the potential and power of film for documenting life stories; the practical and technical side of film making and their own potential for change and personal growth. ESC is currently trying to do something about crime and is putting a lot of effort into finding ways to prevent people who have committed serious offences from re-offending. A short film made by Nigel was recently screened in Lisburn's Island Art Centre.

On the days I am working for ESC I wake up at 7.30am and leave the house at about five past eight. I get the train to Belfast and arrive at my office in Royal Avenue at 9am. The first thing I do is log on to my computer and download the latest bank statements and check them off with our software and make sure it is all accurate. I go through the post and sort it out, look at the bills to be paid and put them on the system and then write out the cheques and organise for them to be signed by the appropriate people.

Meetings for the staff and members are held regularly and talk about what is going on and coming up and tasks will be delegated.

This will take me up to the afternoon when I work on the project side of things. I am involved in the 'Bridging the divide' project -a partnership between Queen's Film Theatre in Belfast and ESC. This brings together young people from divided communities in Northern Ireland to make a short digital film. It uses filmmaking as a metaphor for teamwork, creativity and personal development. The project empowers young people to transform their own lives by turning their unique stories into films and documentaries to share with an international audience.

Bridging the Divide takes its name from the contentious Ormeau Bridge that spans the River Lagan, separating Catholic and Protestant communities in South Belfast. QFT and ESC have run this project since 2005 and have won Impetus Human Rights Awards for the films. I'm a co-ordinator and am responsible for making sure the pupils involved fill in their booklets so they can get a stepping stones accreditation. It takes place in a community centre in Belfast from 4pm - 6pm and I take two of the children at a time and go over what they are doing and discuss their work. The children play games to break the ice when they first meet and then as they get to know each other they talk about what they want to make a film about.

They discuss, plan, write scripts and act in it as well as putting it together, all under the supervision of my colleagues and myself. They also make the title scenes with Plasticine which is very creative and good fun. Once the group finishes for the day I go back to the office with the equipment and then head home. Two nights a week I go to college to study for an HND in computing. I really enjoy it. I also like to play snooker and enjoy reading.

Getting involved with ESC has totally turned my life around and helped me relate to people better. I really enjoy the film making side of thins and I hope the short film I made for ESC 's crime screening will help make a difference. I have overcome many obstacles in my life with the help of ESC and hopefully the screening will go down well across Northern Ireland.

Ulster Star