Mullingar native Stephen Macken has become the third person from the town to pick up a prestigious musical theatre award.
Stephen won Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the Association of Musical Societies (AIMS ) awards last Saturday for his role in the Galway Musical Society’s production of A Tale of Two Cities.
He follows in the footsteps of previous Mullingar winners Charlie Kelly, who won the accolade in 1989 for his role in Lakelands Productions’ staging of Cabaret, and Banjo Quinn, who took the trophy in 2007 for Mullingar Charity Variety Group’s production of Honk.
Stephen, who hails from Mullingar but has lived in Galway since 1996, was delighted when he discovered the Mullingar history to the award.
“The first name on the trophy is Charlie Kelly from 1989 - I had been on stage with him back with Lakelands Productions - and then Banjo Quinn won it in 2007. It’s a Mullingar hat trick,” says Stephen.
The award was made even more special by the fact that his 10-year-old daughter Emily had her first role in a production with him, playing the part of his granddaughter.
“She didn’t get to go to the awards but she watched it live with her grandparents in Athlone,” Stephen adds.
His wife Marie Therese hails from Athlone, and the two met on stage in Mullingar in a 1994 production of Guys and Dolls. Stephen himself hails from Dominick Street, Mullingar.
Musical theatre has been a lifelong passion for Stephen, who was involved with Lakelands Productions in Mullingar from 1984, and was also involved in Tops of the Towns in Moate and Clara.
The AIMS gala awards night, held in INEC, Gleneagles Hotel, Killarney, is the culmination of a year of musical theatre throughout the country. The awards ceremony was attended by just under 1,000 members from across Ireland.