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Amateur drama festival takes to the airwaves to beat lockdown restrictions

SATURDAY will see the start of the very first Clare Drama Radio Play Festival, which takes to the airwaves on Scariff Bay Community Radio (SBCR).

The inaugural event brings the station together with the long-established Clare Drama Festival to ensure that actors and their audiences get to enjoy the finest local theatrical productions in their own homes.

Proceedings kick off on the East Clare community radio station with a special festival programme hosted by Eoin O’Hagan at 8pm on Saturday next. Thereafter, the drama will continue on Saturdays, and Sundays, presented by Festival PRO Tom Hanley, from March 7 until the final night on Easter Sunday, April 4.

“The Clare Drama Radio Play Festival is a perfect addition to the schedule of SBCR and an antidote to the continuing lockdown for both the listeners to the local station as well as the devotees of amateur drama throughout Ireland,” a spokesperson for the station said. “This brand new drama festival is going to be a feast of drama for those starved of it because of Covid-19. At this time of year, drama festivals would normally take place all over Ireland with the amateur drama groups involved performing as part of the competition that makes up the All Ireland Drama Circuit in both ‘open’ and ‘confined’ groups. With the cancellation this year of the circuit and all the festivals, both SBCR and the Clare Drama Festival decided to work together to give the drama groups of Ireland an outlet for their craft. In doing so their audiences would also have an opportunity to experience a festival in a different way, over the airwaves.”

A call-out for entries was made earlier this year and received a very strong response. “We are thrilled that nearly 20 groups have decided to enter one act plays,” organisers said, “the majority being new plays written especially for radio.”

Live professional adjudication of each performance will be provided by Paul Brennan of the Association of Drama Adjudicators (ADA) and each play will be judged on its acting, direction and sound production.

Even though SBCR is a local radio station with a short transmission range locally in East Clare on 88.3 and 92.7FM, the festival will be available worldwide on Scariffbayradio.com or via the TuneIn radio app.

A range of local organisations have been instrumental in getting the festival on air. Organisers said, “We in SBCR and The Clare Drama Festival are thankful for the support of Derg Credit Union, Clare County Council, Clare Arts Office, the Community Radio Forum of Ireland CRAOL, The Amateur Drama Council of Ireland (ADCI), The Drama League of Ireland (DLI), the Association of Drama Adjudicators (ADA). We would also like to thank the board of SBCR and the committee of The Clare Drama Festival for their unwavering support of The Inaugural Clare Drama Radio Play Festival, and we look forward to entertaining the listeners throughout the festival.”

Clare Drama Festival is one of Ireland’s longest running amateur drama festivals having started in 1946.More details are available from Eoin O’Hagan on 087-2523503 or by email 1eoinohagan@gmail.com. Tom Hanley can be reached on 087-6841549 or by emailing cdradioplay@gmail.com.

About Fiona McGarry

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Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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