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Shane Kelly as Wan Word and Noel Hogan as PJ, during Sliabh Aughty Drama Group's rehearsal of Unforgiven in Mountshannon on Saturday.
Members of Sliabh Aughty Drama group in a previous production of 'Unforgiven'. Photograph Arthur Ellis.

Stage set for feast of drama in Scariff

IT’S CURTAIN up in Scariff for the 74th Clare Drama Festival which begins on Friday, March 24 in the Community College hall. 

Chairman, Eamon Moroney, has promised a feast of entertainment for nine nights. The festival will be officially opened by Coman Keaveny, Chair of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland. (ADCI) The adjudicator Tom Byrne ADA is no stranger to Scariff audiences, but in a different capacity, having directed Bradán Players for many years.

The first performance will be Brideview Drama Group from Waterford with The Fatherby Florian Zeller. This play is a thrilling exploration of who we are to ourselves when our signposts disappear with age. Saturday, March 25 sees Kilmeen Drama Group from West Cork with Blithe Spiritby Noel Coward. This comedy will resonate with Clare Drama festival audiences, who have fond memories of Scariffs 1993 All Ireland winning performance of the play.

On Sunday, March 26, Ray Leonard Players from Claremorris bring Jimmy Murphys The Kings of the Kilburn High Road to the stage. This is the story of six young men who emigrated to London in the ‘70s. Twenty years later, they gather for a funeral. Only one is successful and only one makes it home albeit in a coffin.

On Monday, March 27 Sliabh Aughty Drama Group will perform two comedy pieces: ’The Last of the Last of the Mohicansby Hugh Leonard and Losersby Brian Friel. 

Neighbours Castlewood Players bring The Chastituteby John B Keane on Tuesday, March 27. It tells of a bachelor farmer on a quest to find a good woman. 

Wednesday, March 29 welcomes Thurles Drama Group with a performance of The Seafarerby Conor McPherson. During a poker game fuelled by drinking and fighting, characters gamble for high stakes.

On Thursday, March 30 Corofin Dramatic Society bring Stolen Childby Yvonne Quinn and Bairbre Ní Chaoimh. Set in 1990, this humorous yet moving play tells the story of a woman adopted at birth who enlists the help of a colourful private detective to search for her mother and uncover the secrets of her family history. What begins as a personal odyssey for Angela Tierney to discover her past, soon becomes a fascinating exploration of one of the darkest chapters in the history of modern Ireland.

On Friday, March 31, Wayside Players from Wexford present The Fieldby John B Keane. Bull McCabe has spent five years of labour cultivating a small plot of rented land, nurturing it from barren rock into a fertile field. When the owner of the field decides to auction it, he believes that he has first claim to the land.

The final night Saturday, April 1, welcomes Dalkey Players with By the Bog of Catsby Marina Carr. Hester Swayne a woman abandoned once and discarded later, threatens a whole community as she awaits her mothers return to the Bog of Cats. Forgiveness, vengeance, and desperate forces figure in the tangled history embodied in her own powerful drama as it makes its way through heartbreak.

Clare Drama Festival was one of the founding members of the ADCI in October 1952 when members of drama festivals from across Ireland met in Athlone to discuss plans for an All-Ireland Drama Festival as part of the 1953 An Tóstal celebrations.

Despite the many challenges it has faced over the years, the ADCI continues to be a thriving organisation in Ireland today, working to host drama festivals in communities across the country, featuring drama groups who travel from near and far to entertain audiences.

About Fiona McGarry

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