By Noel Dundon
The Horse and Jockey Inn, situated just five miles from Thurles Town, will host the Association of Irish Musical Societies, Annual General Meeting on Sunday with delegates from all over Ireland descending on the famous village for the event.
AIMS, the main representational body for amateur musical theatre reaches into every county in Ireland and endeavours to ensure that musical theatre is promoted in the best possible way, with on-stage excellence celebrated alongside participation.
One of the major events hosted by AIMS is the annual awards ceremony which takes place each summer in Killarney. The AIMS Awards have become the Academy Awards of Irish musical theatre with a glittering black tie banquet completing a hectic, but most fulfilling and rewarding weekend.
However, this weekend coming is all about business and the AIMS family is about to elect a new President with Richard Lavery from the Northern region expected to take over pole position from outgoing President Mary Heaney who has just completed a very busy, but successful two year term. During that time she has visited practically every musical theatrical group in the country - no mean achievement - and has helped to spread the good news about musical theatre to the wider masses.
The Honorary Secretary of AIMS is Thurles lady Mary Butler, who is also Chairperson of Thurles Musical Society. Mary is also a former President of AIMS and has been flying the flag for the Association locally for many years. She has also Directed many shows for Thurles Musical Society and the Thurles Ursuline Secondary School. Among her highlights in this regard was the staging of the European Amateur Premiere of Ragtime the Musical back in 2004, while she also staged a schools version of Evita recently.
“This is a very big weekend for AIMS and we are delighted to be hosting it here in the South West region. The Horse and Jockey Inn is the ideal location for the AIMS AGM with it being situated so close to the motorway and also very close to the rail network. We will have people coming here from all over Ireland on Sunday and they will find it very accessible and comfortable,” Mary Butler told The Tipperary Star this week.
While the AGM goes ahead on Sunday, there will be thirty AIMS counsellors in the Horse and Jockey Inn from Saturday on, with a programme of work to be undertaken by the executive members and the counsellors. The Executive meets each month, usually in Dublin, and the National Council which includes the counsellors, meets every second month to plot and steer the workings of the Association for the year.
“We have a very busy weekend planned with plenty of work to get through. We will finish on Saturday evening with dinner in the Horse and Jockey and no doubt there will be plenty of entertainment for all the visitors to enjoy also. Preparations for the AGM will be completed on Saturday and we will wrap up the AIMS year, before looking forward to what we hope will be a great season ahead in 2012,” Mary Butler said.
The fact that so many will be coming to the Mid Tipperary area over the weekend is a big boost to the local economy.
Of course Tipperary has a very rich musical theatre tradition with very strong societies dotted all over, from sourth to north, including Nenagh, Roscrea, Thurles, Carrick-on-Suir, Clonmel and Tipperary Town. All of these societies continue to bring top quality musical theatre to the stage each and every year and that helps to foster and promote a real love of the stage amongst the youth. There are also quite a few youth musical theatre groups, and indeed other theatre groups in the county, but they are not necessarily affiliated to AIMS.
One of the main advantages of being involved in AIMS is that shows are adjudicated for the awards scheme. This means that each theatrical company receives a detailed, unbiased critique of their show which points out where improvements could be made and how better to achieve on-stage success. There is also the fact that being involved in an association opens doors to other societies and other ideas and this has proven mutually benefitial for many societies down through the years.
The AIMS AGM kicks off at 2:00pm on Sunday in the Horse and Jockey Inn, where all delegates will be welcome to The Premier County and invited to sample a slice of Tipperary.