Curtain up at Claregalway Drama Festival tonight
Mary Fleming, Seamus McNulty, festival director, and Martina Carroll at the launch of the Claregalway Festival of Drama. The festival runs from March 14 to March 22 at the Claregalway Community Centre with drama groups from all over Ireland performing the nine plays. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy
The finest amateur drama talent in the country will head to Claregalway from tonight (Thursday) March 14 when the Claregalway Drama Festival gets under way at the local leisure centre.
The event which will run until Friday March 22 will see nine of the best amateur drama groups in Ireland take to the stage in the battle for points on the All-Ireland drama circuit.
The community centre in Claregalway was this week completely transformed into a comfortable theatre with tiered seating, free refreshments, and wonderful entertainment for the duration of the event.
Tickets for the festival can be purchased at the door each night. Admission is €10 and €5 for OAPs. Season tickets for €60 are available also, representing tremendous value for someone who wants to see nine plays in nine nights. Doors open at 7pm and performances start at 8pm.
Festival director Seamus McNulty said this week that the festival is a remarkable event made possible by the sterling work of a dedicated committee and team of sponsors and volunteers. He said that the festival has made an enormous contribution to the development of amateur drama in the region and that those who attend the event are set for a week and a half of fantastic entertainment and excellent value.
Traditionally, the plays that do well at the national Open and Confined finals are plays that have been performed at Claregalway and this year is no exception with an excellent line up of productions. Five of the nine plays are for adult audiences only because of the thematic content of the productions.
The festival kicks off tonight (Thursday) with the local drama group Compántas Lir taking the stage with their awardwinning production of the Niall Williams play The Way You Look Tonight.
Brief Synopsis of Plays
Thursday March 14 - Compántas Lir – The Way You Look Tonight by Niall Williams
A play about the difference between romance and real love, fantasy and reality telling the story of two ballroom dancers and their lives before illness stilled their dancing, as well as the invisible lines of love, dreams and guilt that connect family.
Friday March 15 – Coolera Dramatic Society – The Butterfly of Killybegs by Brian Foster
Set in Donegal during the Swingin’ Sixties, this tells of a mother and daughter trapped in the past, as Mary watches her life ebb away looking after her bedridden conniving mother. When she accepts a marriage proposal, her mother has other plans! A hilarious comedy not to be missed! Adults Only
Saturday March 16 – Thurles Drama Group – All My Sons by Arthur Miller
Set in America, this tells the story of Joe, a successful business man who approved faulty airplane parts during the war, leading to the death of twenty pilots. Now, as his son is set to marry his business partner’s daughter, who Joe allowed take the blame for the disaster, dark secrets and lies are revealed.
Sunday March 17 – Shoestring Theatre Company – Eden by Eugene O Brien
This play is an enthralling and disconcertingly realistic portrayal of the breakdown of a marriage, told separately through the play’s two characters, and how they deal with the situation in which they find themselves. Adults Only
Monday March 18 – Glenamaddy Players – Moment by Deirdre Kinahan
Fast, witty and frighteningly real, this is the explosive story of trauma wrapped up in table cloths and teacakes. On a seemingly ordinary evening a family sits down to tea, joined by their son recently released from prison. He has some news to share and a conscience to clear, and it will change their lives forever.
Tuesday March 19 – Corofin Dramatic Society – By the Bog of Cats by Marina Carr
The story of an Irish traveller struggling to come to terms with a lifetime of abandonment, her courageous and outrageous attempts to lay claim to that which is hers and her fight to keep her daughter. This is the story of a woman pushed beyond the limits of human endurance.
Wednesday March 20 – Ballycogley Players – Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, adapted by Fintan Murphy
William Shakespeare’s story of identical twins, separated at birth, who in adulthood unknowingly come to the same town, which of course leads to hilarious cases of mistaken identity. This adaptation frames this play in contemporary times while retaining the witty and lyrical poetry of Shakespeare.
Thursday March 21 – DADS – War by Roddy Doyle
In the ferociously competitive world of the pub quiz, two giants of the quiz lock eyes across an Irish pub, but tonight, can George rally his team to beat the unbeatable Bertie, and bring him to his knees? It’s not just a game, it’s WAR!
Friday March 22 – Skibbereen Theatre Society – The Hen Night Epiphany by Jimmy Murphy
Bride to be Una meets with her close family and friends at the run down cottage she plans to renovate with her new husband. The booze flows, the jokes and slagging begin, but all get more than they bargain for with revelation after shocking revelation! Adults Only