Mary Doyle representing sponsors, Steelite with last year's adjudicator, Hugh Byrne
The 28th Annual Rathangan Drama Festival kicks off this week running from March 17 to 24.
“This is a wonderful cultural event, which brings some of the best amateur drama groups in the country to Rathangan,” said committee member, Mairead Broderick.
One of 37 preliminary festivals currently underway, the top nine groups in the country in the open section will go on to compete in the RTE All Ireland Finals in Athlone in May.
The top nine groups in the confined section will compete in the Bostick finals in Tubercurry.
“ Again this year, there is a great variety of productions by groups from many different parts of the country, and a number of the plays will be performed for the first time in Rathangan,” added Mairead.
“ Our audience love to see new plays and groups. We also have some old favourites – The Field by John B Keane is opening the Festival on St Patrick’s night. What better way to spend the evening than watching a live John B Classic in the local centre - no need to drive anywhere.”
She also pointed out Shadow of a Gunman by Sean O’Casey is a great favourite. “We are delighted to have the 2016 All Ireland One Act Winners, The Moat Club, Naas with their presentation of God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza. We have two other Kildare Groups - Bradán Players from Leixlip and Prosperous Drama Group; both groups are considered two of the best in the country,” she added.
The festival committee would like thank all the patrons and sponsors, without whose continued generous support, the festival could not continue.
“In particular, the committee would like to acknowledge the very generous grant from Kildare County Council,” she said.
The festival will be officially opened by Dep Fiona O'Loughlin at 7pm on the opening night at a cheese and wine reception.
The adjudicator is Rose O’ Neil from Co. Monaghan, who is visiting the festival for the first time. She has built up lots of experience attending festivals around the country over the last few years.
The community centre was refurbished a few years ago, but this year for the first time, the tiered retractable seating is in place.
“The hall now has the feel of a very intimate theatre and we are looking forward to full houses every night,” explained Mairead.
The plays commence each night at 8pm sharp.
The admission fee (including tea at the interval) is € 12 (€8 concessions & OAPs) and the season tickets cost €70 (€50 concessions & OAPs).
“This is wonderful value for eight nights of superb entertainment on your doorstep. Enquiries and bookings at 087 9670138,” said Mairead.
The full programme is as follows:
Friday March 17: Amphitheatre DG, Clare in The Field by John B Keane - Confined.
Saturday March 18: Holycross/Ballycahill DG, Tipp in Little Gem by Elaine Murphy - Confined
Sunday March 19: Moat Club, Naas, in God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza - Open
Monday March 20: Curtain Call Productions, Dungarvan in Closer by Patrick Marber - Confined.
Tuesday March 21: Prosperous DG, Kildare in The Play about The Baby - Open
Wednesday March 22: Kilmuckridge DG, Wexford in Shadow of A Gunman by Sean O’Casey - Open.
Thursday March 23: Bunclody/Kilmyshall, Wexford in Agnes of God by John Pielmeier - Open
Friday March 24: Bradán Players, Leixlip in Blackbird by David Harrower - Open.
Kathleen Burke, Andy Kelly, Maura Mangan, Nuala O Connell, Bridie Hoey, and Mairead Broderick at last year's festival