“There's theatre in life, obviously, and there's life in theatre,” so said novelist and filmmaker Charlie Kaufman.
It's an appropriate quote for Athlone Little Theatre as it prepares this autumn to launch its first full programme in several years, and it's set to be an exciting season with something for everyone from the theatre fan, to the wannabe actor or set designer.
Among the highlights include several new productions in the works, including a new comedy directed by Joe MacCarrick before Christmas, new drama workshops with playwright and writer Mick Donnellan and director Chrissie Killian, a Culture Night event in Athlone Castle and a monthly 'Plays, Poetry and Prose' event, where anyone can come along read their favourite poem, monologue, a passage from a book or whatever takes your fancy!
The jam-packed programme kicks off with Athlone Little Theatre's AGM on Wednesday, September 14, at 8pm. New members or anyone who fancies getting involved in any aspect of the theatre during the year are most welcome to attend.
New drama workshops will kick off shortly afterwards twice a week for four week from Monday, September 19 with Athlone-based playwright and writer Mick Donnellan, and director Chrissie Killian at the helm for what promises to be a fantastic and fun learning experience for anyone who has ever had aspirations of being on-stage or wants to learn more about their craft and take part in future productions.
Once the workshops conclude, attentions will turn to casting our next play, a comedy with director Joe MacCarrick in the hot seat. This production will run before Christmas and is sure to bring much needed merriment for the dark winter nights.
Athlone Little Theatre members will also be contributing to Culture Night on September 23, so anyone who missed the staged reading of 'An Gorta Mór' Bis by Thomas Milan has a second chance to catch it in Athlone Castle. The epic poem is based on Famine history, and was very favourably received earlier this summer.
On the final Friday of every month, Athlone Little Theatre will hold readings of 'Plays, Poetry and Prose' hosted by Ronan Flynn. This promises to a fun, social night where members can read their favourite poem, monologue, or piece of writing they admire or find funny or moving. Several Zoom versions of this event during the pandemic were hugely entertaining and we doff our cap to our twinning partners South Bank Theatre in Belfast for introducing us to the concept. We're looking for participants to read and appreciators who can simply come, listen and enjoy.
Next up is an absolute classic – 'Philadelphia Here I Come' by Brian Friel – set to run at the end of February, directed by Billy Nott. It will be followed by another amazing piece of theatre in shape of 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' by Edward Albee, and directed by Ollie Hegarty in April.
“We're really looking forward to a very exciting programme of theatre this autumn and winter in Athlone Little Theatre, and we are looking for fresh talent in lots of areas, so anyone who fancies being on-stage, or learning about lighting, set design, helping out with the box office, or acting as ushers should come along to our AGM and become a member for the coming year. There is a role for everyone to help us bring top class drama to Athlone and keep the theatre alive and relevant,” commented Chrissie Killian, Athlone Little Theatre's Chairperson.
She is also looking forward to launching a new mentorship programme for anyone wants to learn about directing allowing someone to act as an assistant director on a production, with an established director.