The upcoming Ballyshannon Drama Festival is set to take the place by storm! The Ballyshannon Drama Festival is celebrating its 60th year and what a programme there is in store!
The festival opens this Friday night (March 10) in the Abbey Centre and continues through to Sunday, March 18. Shows start at 8.15pm except for except for the last night when the curtain will rise at 7.30pm.
The adjudicator is the presitigious Colin Dolley, GODA, who has a Certificate in Speech and Drama from London University. He is co-author, with Rex Walford,of The One-Act Play Companion and a former judge on the Annual National Festivals Play-Writing Competition.
The festival kicks off on Saturday, March 10 at 8.15pm, with Yellowmoon Theatre Company, Wexford’s production of Our Country’s Goodby Timberlake Wertenbaker. The play, adapted from Thomas Keneally’s novel The Playmaker, follows a number of convicts and Royal Marines sent to Australia in the late 1780s as part of the first penal colony in New South Wales. The play explores a number of issues and themes, including the class system in the convict camp, sexuality, punishment, the Georgian judicial sysyem, and the idea that art can act as an ennobling force.
Bradán Players from Leixlip take to the stage on Saturday, March 11 with Brian Friel’s version of the Henrik Ibsen classic Hedda Gabler. Hedda Gabler is recently married to her aspiring academic husband and has just returned from her long dissatifying honeymoon. She forsees a life of tedious convention, and so, aided and abetted by her predatory confidante, Judge Brack, she begins to manipulate the fates of those around her to devastating effect. On Monday, March 12, Backburners Drama Circle from Newtownstewart perform Closing Time, written by the award-winning Owen McCafferty. The play is a tender and comic portrait of love, dignity and emotional damage. Vera is feisty but fading. Robbie is washed-up and permantly half-drunk. Together they run a grubby, run-down pub/hotel in present-day Belfast which acts as a refuge for both the assorted “regulars” who stop there and for the owners. We watch them over the course of one day and night when Robbie fails to secure the pub’s financial future and Vera looks set to run off with the feckless Iggy.
Letterkenny Music and Drama bring their huge hit The 39 Steps to the Abbey Centre on Tuesday, March 13. This fast-moving farce was written by John Buchan and adapted by Patrick Barlow. Four actors - three men and a woman - play the entire cast of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 classic film. Richard Hannay, a sophisticated man about town, finds a dead woman in his apartment and is accused of her murder. He flees from the police, determined to find the real killer. Hair-raising and hilarious chases ensue and Hannay ends up handcuffed to a woman who gives him a hard time. She, however, falls in love with him and they try to solve the mystery of The 39 Steps together.
On Wednesday, March 14, the Phoenix Players from Tubercurry perform Martin McDonagh’s modern classic, The Cripple of Inishmaan, a darkcomedy which is not to be missed. The play is set in the Aran Islands in 1934, just as an American film director, Robert Flaherty, arrives to make Man of Aran. Cripple Billy entertains dreams of stardom and he wants to be in the film more than anyone else, if only to break away from the tedium of his everyday life.
The Lifford Players will perform Shadowlands on Thursday week. The William Nicholson drama tells the story of Oxford don and author CS Lewis and American poet Joy Gresham. It won Best Play in the 1990 Evening Standard Awards and was made in to a hit film starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.
On Friday, March 16, Corn Mill Theatre Company, Carrigallen, present The Seafarer by Conor McPherson. This black comedy was nominated for an Olivier Best Play in 2006, It’s Christmas Eve and Sharky has returned to Dublin to look after his irascible, ageing brother who’s recently gone blind. Old drinking buddies Ivan and Nicky are holed up at the house too, hoping to play some cards. But with the arrival of a stranger from the distant past, the stakes are raised ever higher. In fact, Sharky may be playing for his very soul.
It’s rural romance on Saturday night, with Coolera Dramatic Society of Sligo’s production of Louis Dalton’s Lover’s Meeting. The story is set in 1941 and the action takes place in the kitchen of the Sheridan farmhouse not far from the Midlands town of Tarmon. Lover’s Meeting portrays the story of unrequited love, romance and match-making. What appears to be a straightforward story of true love struggling to find a way turns out to be nothing of the sort. Things are not what they seem in the Sheridan household, and the event of that summer sweep the characters along to a shocking conclusion.
The festival comes to a spectacular finish on Sunday night, March 18 with Clockwork Theatre Company, Dublin’s offering, The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, by Vaclov Havel, the former president of the Czech Republic who passed in December. He was a playwright and a poet before he reluctantly became a politician. This play is a comedy which borders on the theatre of the absurd. It features fast changes and a mixed up timeframe. The clue is really in the title. Doctor Humi is working from home . His wife expects him to break up with his mistress and his mistress expects him to break up with his wife. An unexpected visit from Doctor Balcar and her colleagues from the Institute of Sociology interrupts his work with his attractive secretary and pandemonium breaks out.
The Ballyshannon Drama Festival is definitely worth a look into. A fabulous line-up of plays and productions are set to wow audiences. Come along to this wonderful festival and enjoy the drama! Concessions, group rates and season tickets available. Booking at the Abbey Centre, 071 985 1375.
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