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Martin Donoghue during rehearsals for the Corofin Dramatic Society's production of Thirty Nine Steps, a adapted screenplay by Patrick Barlow, which runs in Glor, Ennis on 20th and 21st February and at nightly. Photograph by John Kelly.

Corofin take 39 Steps to Athlone

Corofin Dramatic Society is one of nine finalists in this year’s All-Ireland Drama Festival taking place in Athlone from April 30.

Having picked up numerous awards on the open circuit, the society is returning to the stage in Clare this Saturday night in Glór and in Corofin hall next Wednesday and Thursday with its production of The 39 Steps by Patrick Barlow.

“It is certainly a busy couple of weeks,” said director John Clancy.

“We performed in Glór in February and then after that we did the circuit. The hall [in Corofin] wasn’t ready for us but it is open now and we performed there this week. We will be in Glór on Saturday and we are back in Corofin again next Wednesday and Thursday, before going to the All-Ireland on the May Bank Holiday weekend,” he explained.

John acknowledged that it is time-consuming for the cast and crew but no more so than other hobbies.

“I know a few lads playing golf and they don’t spend any less time on it than we do on this. Even in my own football days, I remember the commitment. This is a busy time of year with performances and travel and, of course, we travel big distances but that is what we do for our sins,” he said.

The show has a cast of four but there are nearly 20 involved in staging it.

“Martin O’Donoghue plays the main character, Richard Hannay. He won best actor on the road. Maura Clancy plays three characters, Annabella, Pamela and Margaret. James Raleigh plays about 15 characters under Clown 1. The other actor is Alan Maguire, who is Clown 2, who also plays about 15 characters. They would all have picked up awards over the season,” John stated.

“This is quite a difficult show to stage, so our crew, our lighting, our set and so on have all picked up awards because the adjudicators know how tough it is to stage. It is a very technical show. The actors can only go so far. Overall, there are 18 people behind this production between make-up, building sets, taking them down, lights, sound and all that,” he added.

Corofin Dramatic Society has twice made the finals and both times Maura Clancy has won best actress awards.

“All our actors would have performed in the finals in Athlone before, so there is nothing new there and hopefully the bit of experience will stand to them but we will just go and give the best performance we can,” John concluded.

Corofin Dramatic Society perform The 39 Steps in the All-Ireland Drama Finals on Sunday, May 3.

Nicola Corless

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