Roscommon Drama Festival – nine nights of the very best in Irish amateur drama

After a hugely successful run last year, Roscommon Drama Festival once again presents a packed nine night programme of theatre from Friday March 6 to Saturday March 14. Opening night welcomes back last year’s winners Cornmill Theatre Company to the stage with Kevin’s Bed by Bernard Farrell. Both funny and bittersweet, this play plays out the events surrounding a 50th wedding anniversary – all is laid bare and truths are told, for better or worse.

Tom Murphy’s The Wake is performed by Bunclody/Kilmyshall Drama Group on Saturday March 7. In true Murphy style, this is a dark comedy telling the story of the homecoming of a weary wanderer, who returns from New York expecting an open and welcoming family but her dreams couldn’t be further from the truth. Galway group KATS are old hands at participating in drama festivals throughout Ireland. They will produce Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman on Sunday 8th March. An extremely gifted and successful playwright, McDonagh has received acclaim in recent years for writing and directing the film In Bruges starring Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell. Winner of the 2004 Olivier Award for Best New Play, The Pillowman is a viciously funny and savage tale about a writer living in a totalitarian state who is interrogated about the content of his short stories. This is a complex fable about life and art, fact and illusion, cruelty and creativity – a festival must see!

Shoestring Theatre return to Roscommon on Monday March 9 with Marie Jones’ A Night in November. A seriously funny show about Kenneth who, after reluctantly finding himself on the terraces for a crucial Northern Ireland v Republic of Ireland soccer match, soon finds himself on an adventure of a lifetime that brings him across the Atlantic to New York.

Glenamaddy Players return to the arts centre on Tuesday March 10 with Joseph Tumelty’s All Souls Night. A play set in the centre of a sea-faring family. All soul’s night is approaching and Kathrine, the matriarch, is grieving for her drowned son; the family business is in trouble and a son goes out into a storm to retrieve items from a ship wreck. A tale of and of how stubborn actions can have devastating consequences.   

The inspiring and heart-warming story of Johnny Belinda will be staged by Compantas Lir group on Wednesday March 11. Set on a remote island in Canada, Belinda, a young deaf girl has spent her life on the outskirts of the community. Having never learned to communicate she somes to the attention of the village’s new doctor who decides to teach her sign language. Belinda blossoms under his care until her world is suddenly turned upside down. A beautiful story and memorable night’s entertainment.

 Another great Tom Murphy Conversations on a Homecoming will be performed by DADS (Dunmore Amateur Dramatic Society ) on Thursday March 12. Set in a Galway pub in the 1970s a group of friends gather together to welcome home Michael, the villages long-lost prodigal son from America. A night of drinking and reminiscing follows and a few home truths are revealed. The penuiltimate night of the Festival brings to the stage, a John B classic with Sive, the story of an innocent girl thrown into a life of hardship and sorrow in a remote area of North Kerry. Keane’s first play, this is unarguably one of Ireland’s greatest modern plays. Saturday March 14 sees the results of the Roscommon Drama Festival announced together with the final production, produced by Kilmuckridge Drama Group. Juno and the Paycock was first staged to huge controversy over 80 years ago. A wonderful marriage of comedy and tragedy, this classic is packed with wonderful play-on-word- language and plenty of comic asides – a perfect night to end a great festival.

Tickets for all events are available from Roscommon Arts Centre box office (090 ) 66 25824. A limited number of season tickets are also available


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