Ballyshannon Drama Festival - the best of drama from all over Ireland

The 2013 Ballyshannon Drama Festival promises to once again live up to its reputation for bringing the very best of plays, acting and production standards from right across Ireland to your doorstep. The Festival runs from this Saturday, March 9 right through to Sunday, March 17 at the Abbey Centre.

The 2013 Ballyshannon Drama Festival promises to once again live up to its reputation for bringing the very best of plays, acting and production standards from right across Ireland to your doorstep. The Festival runs from this Saturday, March 9 right through to Sunday, March 17 at the Abbey Centre.

This year’s programme offers a varied selection of American, Irish and English plays by some of Ireland’s most successful drama groups. Most of the plays are new to Ballyshannon festival, with a great mix of comedy and sometimes controversial drama.

The full line up is as follows:

Saturday, March 9 - Holywood Drama present Willy Russell’s hit musical ‘Blood Brothers’. One of the longest running musicals in the West End and a massive success all over the world from Broadway to Australia, ‘Blood Brothers’ is the heart-wrenching story of twin brothers separated at birth.

Sunday, March 10 - Pomeroy present ‘Tarry Flynn’. Like Patrick Kavanagh’s treasured 1948 novel, the new adaptation by poet/publisher Peter Fallon revolves around Tarry Flynn, a farmer-poet facing a fierce dilemma in ‘30s County Cavan. He loves his family, he loves the land, but he doesn’t love a society ruled by religion, gossip and violence. He’s burdened by an overbearing but caring mother, a staggered romance with a girl who may have been raped and a pack of male friends who make fun of his high-brow reading and low-brow courting.

Monday, March 11 - Dromore present ‘When We Were Married’ by J.B.Priestly, a hilarious comedy about three pillars of Yorkshire society who are celebrating 25 years of marriage. The plot thickens when they discover that the minister who married them was not properly qualified!

Tuesday, March 12 - Cornmill present ‘Brothers of the Brush’ by Jimmy Murphy. In the mid 1970s a group of young men left their homes in the West of Ireland, took the boat out of Dublin Bay and sailed across the sea to England in the hope of making their fortunes and returning home. Twenty five years later only one, Jackie Flavin, makes it home, but does so in a coffin. The play takes place on the day that the winners and losers of the group meet up to drink to Jackie Flavin’s memory and looks at their lives, lost in their dreams and their place in the new Ireland.

Wednesday, March 13 - Coolera present ‘The Butterfly of Killybegs’ by Brian Foster. In Killybegs in 1967, Mary watches her life ebb away as she looks after her conniving bedridden mother. Grasping a final chance of love and freedom, she befriends the shy middle-aged bachelor Patsy Doogan, and readily accepts his proposal of marriage. Patsy, however, has a secret and when it is uncovered Mary must prevent her mother from telling the local gossip. Another hilarious comedy not to be missed.

Thursday, March 14 - Phoenix present ‘Poor Beast in the Rain’ by Billy Roche, from his Wexford Trilogy. The story unfolds inside a betting parlor in Wexford where the owner’s daughter is courted by shy, young Georgie while Joe makes a grand farce of remembering old times and organizing events of his life and the cleaning woman, Molly lives in a sea of bitterness. Oblivious to the affections of Georgie, Eileen dreams of her mother who abandoned her ten years earlier by running off with the local bad boy, Danger Doyle. Doyle has returned ten years later and finds what he suspected is true - there are still hard feelings and damage left behind in the wake of what he and Eileen’s mother did.

Friday, March 15 - Yellow Moon present ‘On Raftery’s Hill’ by Marina Carr. Set on the remote hill of Raftery’s farm, this play tells the tale of Red Raftery and his three children. Removed from the civilized world of the valley, Red lives by his own rules. Dinah, the eldest, has sacrificed a future for herself to take care of her siblings, father and grandmother. Her brother, Ded, lives like an animal in the cowshed, trying to erase the all-too-accessible memories of the family’s past. Then there is young Sorrel, “the wan perfect thing in this house,” soon to be wed to Dara Mood from the valley. Red Raftery has other ideas.

Saturday, March 16 - Silken Thomas present ‘Mercury Fur’ by Philip Ridley. - Mercury Fur is set in a post-apocalyptic version of London’s East End, where terror, gangs, violence and drugs in the form of butterflies rule. The protagonists are a gang of youths, surviving by their wits. They deal the butterflies, engaging in trade with objects from places like the British Museum, looted by their butterfly-addicted customers. But their main source of ‘income’ is holding parties for wealthy clients, in which their wildest fantasies are brought to life.

Sunday, March 17 - Bradan present ‘How I Learned to Drive’ by Paula Vogel. The story follows the strained, sexual relationship between Li’l Bit and her aunt’s husband, Uncle Peck, from her adolescence through her teenage years into college and beyond. Using the metaphor of driving and the issues of pedophilia, incest, and misogyny, the play explores the ideas of control and manipulation.

The Ballyshannon Drama Festival is affiliated to the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland. This year’s Festival Adjudicator is Martin Maguire.

Shows start at 8.15pm except for Sunday, March 17, when the show starts at the earlier time of 7.30pm, to allow for the Adjudicator’s Comments.

Booking and further information on 071 985 1375 or

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