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Joe Moran as Lurch, Alan Graney as Gomez, Pat Kelly as Uncle Fester, Aoibheann Malone as Wednesday, Ailish Flaherty as Morticia Addams, Tiernan Kilroy as Pugsley and Rachel Culligan as Grandma in rehearsals for a previous Ennis Musical Society's production of The Addams Family in 2019. Photograph by John Kelly.

Ennis Musical Society is desperate for men!

Society ideal for those looking for love says chairperson as plea issued for male voices

“WE need men”. That’s the message from the Ennis Musical Society who have put out a desperate plea for the men of county Clare to get involved in their upcoming show Legally Blonde.
As if taking part in a fun show isn’t enough of an incentive, chairperson of the society Rachael Culligan reveals that the society is the ideal place to be for those looking for love. She describes the group as “almost the Tinder of Ennis” with many couples meeting and falling in love after joining. “It’s kind of a wonderful dating service I would say,” she laughs.
The Ennis Musical Society are holding auditions for the show in January, and Rachael is urging men to put themselves forward. Auditions had been scheduled to take place this weekend, however the society have decided to pause those plans due to Covid-19 and they are instead looking forward to seeing people show up on January 9 before heading straight into rehearsals.
The show, which is taking place in glór from March 31 to April 2, is open to anyone over the age of 16 and those who want to join the chorus do not have to audition.
Rachael tells us that a shortage of male performers has forced the society to seek cast members from outside of the county in recent years, however they would love to see some local talent take to the stage.
“Every year we have lots of women taking part, but we don’t have the men. It’s quite sad because if you go back over the years, the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and even the ‘90s we had male choruses. But now, we continuously have to go outside of Ennis and our community. We’ve had to go to Galway and Limerick to ask men to come and perform. It’s terrible because Clare is so full of talented men. They don’t all play GAA, some of them I’m sure would love to get involved.
“We are very much a community group. We happily welcome people from other societies, every single person is welcome here. But we would love to cast from our own community where we can. Unfortunately that hasn’t been possible for a number of years when it comes to men, but we’d love that to change.”
The 2022 show has six main parts for men, but the society are particularly hoping to once again have a chorus of men for the show. “A lot of people say it’s more fun in the chorus because you are with a group. For years we have been missing basses, barritones and tenors. Every year we get adjudicated by the Association of Irish Musical Societies and we get award nominations but we never get nominations for the choruses and the reason they give is there are no male voices. If we could get some men in the door that would make a big difference.”
She adds with a smile, “So many men who join the musical society end up marrying somebody in it. It’s a long standing tradition.”
For those not seeking Cupid’s arrow to strike, the society is also a place to make firm friendships, Rachael says.
“You will never make friends anywhere else like you will in a theatre group or musical society. Maybe it’s the shared emotions you go through when you’re in a show, everything from fear and nervousness to elation. And you share that with the people on stage and that creates a bond. It’s just a wonderful place to make friends, especially if you are new to the town. We’re very accepting of everyone. We have people who don’t want to go on stage at all and do backstage. People painting sets and helping with costumes. We really have a great time. It’s not just for people who want to perform, it’s a group for those who want to be involved in the community in a really nice, accepting friendly environment.
“Since Covid I think people are looking to reconnect with others and there is no better way to do that than something like this. And even after the show is over we meet up all the time, it’s an all year round meeting place.”
The society were unable to perform this year, and their 2020 production was cancelled after just two performances because of the pandemic so the society are looking forward to getting back on stage in March with Legally Blonde.
“People are living for this show, they need it. The shows get you through the winter because they are something to look forward to. I’d say January is now my favourite month because the rehearsals are starting and you are going down a couple of times a week having a great time. We’ve the most fabulous production team on board, Jessica Bray who teaches with the Ennis Academy for the Performing Arts, Laura Jane Allis who owns and teaches at Breakthrough Dance studio and our musical director is Shane Farrell.
“A lot of people would be familiar with the movie starring Reece Witherspoon and the show has a similar story but of course we have singing and dancing. It’s a really, really fun musical. It was performed in Shannon a few years ago and they won tonnes of awards for it. It is one of the most popular musicals around at the moment and I would say we will have people travelling from around the country to be in it. We’ve already had people from Galway even as far as Mayo and Cork asking how they can get involved, but we would love to cast from the community if we can.”
The society were overwhelmed by the support they received in 2020 when the cancellation of their shows resulted in a massive financial hit. And Rachael is hoping that generous spirit will once again be shown by men taking the plunge to join the society.
“We lost a fortune, but the town were amazing. They saved the society from annihilation. It took just eight days to raise €14,000. Now we are calling out for the town to help us again, but this time we need help with men. This is a call out to the men of Clare, not just Ennis, to get involved.” For further details check the Ennis Musical Society Facebook page.

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