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Paul Brennan of The Association of Drama Adjudicators (ADA) who will adjudicate the Clare Drama Radio Play Festival.

Drama on air as Scariff Bay gets set for feast of radio plays

WITH the normally vibrant amateur drama circuit among the casualties of pandemic restrictions, a new creative initiative aims to bring some of the best local acting, writing and directing talent to the airwaves early next year.

Scariff Bay Community Radio together with The Clare Drama Festival have launched the inaugural Clare Drama Radio Play Festival, which will be broadcast on the community station in the spring. The station will also work with local national schools to bring short plays, written by pupils, to the airwaves.

The Clare Drama Festival is one of the most popular and longest-running in Ireland and its loss, along with the cancellation of all other theatrical events, has been a huge loss to East Clare.

“The amateur drama circuit like so many other cultural activities has been in hibernation since March this year,” said Eoin O’Hagan, PRO of Scariff Bay Community Radio. “Several festivals had been up and running and with the lockdown were forced to suspend and then cancel their programmes. This has led to every drama group in the country being starved of an outlet for their craft. The audiences countrywide. have also missed their chance to see some of the best amateur drama available, in their local hall or theatre.”

The Clare Drama Radio Play Festival now aims to give these drama groups a chance to try something new. Scariff Bay Community Radio will broadcast plays in a one act format. The festival, as is normal, will run during Lent with the final broadcast and awards night on Easter Sunday, April 4 2021.

“Scariff Bay Community Radio would like to sincerely thank the committee of The Clare Drama Festival for agreeing to take their 2021 festival onto the airwaves,” said Mr O’Hagan. “It will mean so much to both the actors and directors involved in each group but also to the audiences starved of drama, of all sorts, since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.”

With professional adjudication by Paul Brennan ADA, each play will receive marks for acting, direction and sound design/technical production. As the plays will be adapted for radio broadcast, both Scariff Bay Community Radio and The Clare Drama Festival are looking for plays written for this different format.

Clare Drama Festival PRO Tom Hanley will accept applications to the festival, from amateur drama groups only, until January 8 next. The closing date for accepted plays will be February 26 with the plays to be aired, as part of the festival, during March. The event will culminate with the final awards on East Sunday.

Tom can be contacted by email to cdradioplay@gmail.com, for a complete list of rules and technical requirements.

A separate radio play competition will be hosted by the radio station for national schools in the East Clare area. They will be invited to record and enter a ten-minute play on themes from historical figures, to events or places in East Clare. Children will be encouraged to add effects to create a soundscape for their play. These plays can be entered, in mp3 formt, by email to info@scariffbayradio.com.

The plays will be broadcast each Saturday during the month of March. The winning play in the National Schools Competition will then be re-broadcast on the awards night of the Clare Drama Radio Play Festival on East Sunday.

Scariff Bay Community Radio Chair Jim Collins said, “The board of Scariff Bay Community Radio is delighted to partner with the Clare Drama Festival to bring amateur drama to the airwaves of East Clare when, due to Covid 19, congregating in large groups isn’t possible. This Radio Play Festival will enable the drama groups around the country to get back, to a degree at least, to what they do best. We also look forward to showcasing the creativity of our primary school children and think that this competition will foster an interest in and love of drama. The listeners to our community radio station are in for a feast of drama as and we consider this to be the pinnacle of #ConnectingCommunities”.

About Fiona McGarry

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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