Kildare’s Silken Thomas Players break national record

Conor OConnel, Colin Malone, Patricia Henry, James Murphy and Liam Quinlivan in action for the Silken Thomas Player's production of Mercury Fur.
The controversial Silken Thomas Players have smashed their own record to become the first drama group in Ireland to win the open section of eight out of eight festivals on the national drama circuit.

The controversial Silken Thomas Players have smashed their own record to become the first drama group in Ireland to win the open section of eight out of eight festivals on the national drama circuit.

The group, which has stormed into the All Ireland finals, which will be held in Athlone in May, play one final show at the Moat Theatre on April 28 before it competes in the finals.

“We are delighted. It’s never been done before in the open section. We held the record with seven wins so we are thrilled this play has gone down so well,” said Conor O’Connell of the Silken Thomas Players.

Written by Philip Ridley, “Mercury Fur” is a play not for the faint hearted, but has been heralded for its thought provoking subject matter and excellent acting.

Spearheaded by director Sean Judge, the group is best known for plays such as “Bent”, “Trainspotting”, “The Normal Heart”, “Equus” and its award winning “The History Boys”.

The group is based in Lullymore, Rathangan but has a long association with Kildare Town where it was founded.

The Prosperous Dramatic Society is the only other Kildare group to join them in the 2013 finals.

They are hoping to impress with “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia” by Edward Albee, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the author of “Who’s afraid of Viginia Wolf”. The group picked up five wins, two seconds and two thirds on the festival circuit.

Directed by Lurlene Duggan, the play focuses on a family in crisis and challenges the audience to deal with many social taboos and moral issues - all through the darkest of dark comedy.

Conor added that it was unique that two of the Kildare finalists come from within a short distance of each other showing the rich talent that exists in the area.

The finals run from May 2 to 11. Last weekend the draw was made, with Prosperous Dramatic Society taking to the stage on Tuesday May 7 while the Silken Thomas Players will be performing on the final night May 10.

- Niamh O’Donoghue