Thousands of drama fans to flock to town for 61st All-Ireland finals next Thursday

Athlone is once again preparing to welcome drama theatre fans from across the country as the 61st RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival was officially launched this week.

Taking place from Thursday May 2 to Friday May 10 the drama festival is one of the highlight festivals of the year for the town and the thousands of theatre lovers who flock to Athlone to support their drama group.

At this week’s festival launch in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, the new festival director Joe MacCarrick paid tribute to his predecessor of 10 years Billy Nott and vowed to continue the work of growing and developing further upon the very solid foundations of the amateur drama movement nationally.

“The success of the festival is due to the support and participation of all the stakeholders both nationally and locally.

“There is no question that as we celebrate RTÉ’s 10 years of association with the festival, the benefits to the finals in Athlone, as well as to the amateur drama movement countrywide, have been substantial, especially in raising the profile of the festival and adding a tremendous sense of prestige to the occasion.”

Held under the auspices of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland (ADCI ), the festival sees the top nine amateur drama groups in the country compete for the All-Ireland title and the prestigious Festival Perpetual Trophy, as well as for several major acting and technical awards.

The programme of plays range in style and content and are a diverse tapestry of Irish and international theatre. The festival includes J M Synge’s classic Playboy of the Western World, Marina Carr’s By The Bog of Cats, Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa, and Ron Hutchinson’s Moonlight and Magnolias. There is American drama from Arthur Miller’s All My Sons and Tom Griffin’s The Boys Next Door. There is also the theatrically challenging The Goat or Who Is Sylvia by Edward Albee, Mercury Fur by Philip Ridley, and Ray Cooney’s comedy Out of Order.

The nine-day festival takes place in the Dean Crowe Theatre, Athlone from Thursday May 2 to Friday May 10.

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