Elise Christina Donoghue: North Star of Chichester Festival Youth Theatre on path to Acting Stardom

Elise Christina Donoghue North Star of Chichester Festival Youth Theatre on path to Acting Stardom




Initially a dancer, Elise Christina Donoghue discovered her true calling in acting when she was a mere 11-years-old and joined the Bognor group at the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre. After her mother caught wind of the existence of a youth theatre, she was quickly signed up. It didn’t take long for Elise to realize her genuine passion lay in the world of acting thanks to an intrinsic love of language and its power.

Following her mother’s advice, she has decided to mark her journey by making her grand debut in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at the tranquil West Dean Gardens. The performance will run from August 4th to August 19th.

Elise found herself drawn to the dramatic arts due to her profound admiration for the power of language. She discovered a unique beauty in the ability of words to incite deep feelings in others. For Elise, the expression of love, for instance, was more potent through verbal declaration than action. The authenticity and truthfulness behind words fascinated her and she placed immense faith in them. Even over a mere phone call, she believed the tone of the speaker betrayed the sincerity behind their words.

Elise lauds Shakespeare’s characters for their straightforwardness and their willingness to openly air their feelings, without the veils often used in contemporary plays. This openness, she feels, allows actors more freedom in their performance. Elise is particularly fond of Shakespeare’s profound imagery and the famous quotation ‘The course of true love never did run smooth from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which she believes perfectly encapsulates the play’s plot. The linear journey is fraught with unexpected twists and although the language employed is straightforward, the surrounding circumstances add invigorating complexity.

In the rendition of the play, Donoghue breathes life into the character of Helena. Elise is absolutely smitten by Helena’s persona- her vulnerability, her honesty, her openness. The power Helena emanates by openly laying out her unreciprocated feelings on the table fascinates Elise. She writes off the negative connotations associated with being emotional, suggesting instead that it is it’s a wonderful display of strength. Elise is thrilled to portray a character that isn’t afraid to show her emotions, who believes in her worthiness to be loved, and who fights for it.

The whole play will be performed as an open-air promenade in West Dean Gardens, which introduces an additional element of challenge for the cast.’We have an excellent vocal coach on our side, guiding us in finding and raising our voices to match the outdoor conditions. We have to bring the outdoors in, even during our indoor rehearsals,’ explains Elise.

This whole experience is elevating for Elise, offering her priceless experience and preparation for her upcoming journey to the Oxford School of Drama. An avid theatre lover and lifelong learner, she relishes the daily evolution that education provides. Impending on the horizon is her audition for a three-year course she looks forward to with unwavering excitement.

In summary, Elise Christina Donoghue’s debut in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre is a milestone in her journey towards theatrical excellence. She began as a dancer only to find her true calling in acting, inspired by the power of language and words. By stepping into the shoes of her character, Helena, a journey in an open-air promenade production of Shakespeare’s play awaits her- a journey she warmly welcomes. Always open to learning and personal growth, her experiences will undoubtedly prepare her for the academic challenges that lay ahead at the Oxford School of Drama.