Donegal Drama Circle Celebrates 40th Birthday

- Pays homage to heroes of 1916 with Tom Murphy's 'The Patriot Game'

Donegal Drama Circle Celebrates 40th Birthday

Donegal Drama Circle this year celebrates 40 years of bringing quality drama to Donegal Town.

The group has brought “drama” into the lives of many children and teenagers.

Art Kavanagh and the late Paul Buckley were at the helm in the 1980's, with the “WizKids” which entertained young and old alike.

More recently, since 1996 right through to the present, thousands of young children/teenagers have been involved with musical and drama productions, under the direction of Amanda Crawford.

Young directors are now coming to the fore, particularly Christian Carbin, and another young protege of Amanda's, who joined the Drama Circle as a teenager for its first production of “Grease”, Karen McCrudden, is now the Circle's musical director! We wish them “Break a leg” for the next 40 years!

The Drama Circle's new production will be performed for 2 nights, on Easter Monday 28th & Easter Tuesday 29th March, @ 8 pm sharp each evening, in the St. John Bosco Community Centre, Donegal Town. This production is also part of the Official 1916/2016 Donegal County Council's Commemorative Programme.

“The Patriot Game” is an amazing play, part documentary, mostly drama, incorporating history, pathos and humour, written by one of Ireland's foremost playwright's, Tom Murphy. In 1965 Murphy, described by fellow playwright Brian Friel as "the most distinctive, the most restless, the most obsessive imagination at work in the Irish theatre today", was commissioned by BBC Television to write a play, The Patriot Game, to be broadcast in the following year on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising. However, the BBC, citing excessive production costs, shelved plans for filming it.

The play remained unseen, until twenty-five years later when Murphy revised the work for a stage production on the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Rising in 1991 and it was presented on the Abbey Theatre's Peacock stage. Murphy's 1991 version of his play went against the tendency of contemporary writers whose attitude to the Rising was one of rejection or derision. (Revisionism was rampant!) Remarkably, the stage-play proved as relevant and challenging in 1991 as the television play might have been in 1966.

The eponymous title, The Patriot Game was inspired by Dominic Behan's popular ballad of the 1960's and resonates with the realisation held by Pearse, and Connolly, that the ultimate sacrifice, that of their lives, might be necessary to ignite the long dormant desire of national freedom.

Come all you young rebels and list while I sing

For love of ones country is a terrible thing

It banishes fear with the speed of a flame

And makes us all part of the patriot game

The play takes place in the Ireland of 1991, when a company of young actors play out their own version of the Rising, playing the parts of the leading figures of the rebellion, but also occasionally embodying the English authorities in Dublin Castle, as well as anonymous English soldiers, Irish rebels, and the common people of Dublin, coping with the “inconveniences” of the Rising, with dry Dublin wit. Thus The Patriot Game consists of a play within a story within a play, The actors’ play is framed by a story told by a female Narrator, who is extremely critical of the whole venture of the Rising and wary of what Murphy calls “the nationalist emotion”. The inset play itself revisits the events of 1916 with a critical eye, and reassesses the importance of the Rising in Irish collective memory.

Divided into two parts; the first part consists of nineteen scenes giving insight into the events happening immediately before the insurrection; showing how the leaders felt about the insurrection, their fears, their dreams, their wish for liberty. Murphy cleverly juxtaposes many extracts from speeches, songs and poems, with the final scenes covering the six days of Easter Week 1916 together with the leader’s last words before their executions in Kilmainham Gaol during May 1916.

Murphy's remarkable play creates a theatrical form which accommodates emotion, and even pathos, wit too, and, in a beautifully stylised final sequence the Narrator acknowledges the traumatic episode of the Rising and the emotion it proceeded from, as part of what constitutes her identity as a Irish woman. In her final speech, she then recites a stanza from James Stephens’ poem “Spring 1916,” written in the immediate aftermath of the Rising, a moving end to a play which brings to life the leaders of the events of the most momentous week in Ireland's history. What better way to enjoy THIS Easter Monday, to revisit the memory of the founders of our nation!

Donegal Drama Circle's production is Directed by Amanda Crawford

Co Produced by Art Kavanagh & Christian Carbin

Featuring many talented, young, local, (and not so young!) actors, playing a multitude of parts, portraying those who played their part in The Patriot Game!

: Conor Friery, Christian Carbin, Amanda Crawford, Sean McLoone, Alfie Mannion, Ultan Pringle,

Siobhra Pringle, Kate Gurren, Ryan Doherty, Rossa Doherty, Aaron Friel, Seamus McHugh, Suzanne Thomas

Easter Monday March 28th 2016 @ 8pm

Easter Tuesday March 29th 2016 @ 8pm

St. John Bosco Centre, Donegal Town

€12 & €10 concessions

No Booking required

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email To contact Donegal Post, email To contact Inish Times, email

More News

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.