Suddenly, it’s all about rehearsals in amateur drama circles as preparations for the annual Drama Season get underway in various parts of County Tipperary. As Susan Troy of Moyne Drama Group told us last week: ”Drama is very much alive in Ireland and becoming much more so”.
For the first time ever, the long-established Moyne Drama Group are to participate in the annual County Tipperary Open Drama Festival at Holycross Community Centre next Spring with the John B Keane Folk Drama classic,”Sive”, which has been a perennial favourite with groups all over Ireland since it won the all-Ireland for the Listowel Players in 1959. That production effectively kick-started the long and illustrious career of the much loved Kerry playwright and author, John B Keane.
Moyne have also applied to participate in other festivals, a process which Susan Troy (Director) sees as “a great learning opportunity”. That’s the whole idea of festivals-to learn, and I think Moyne are ready to go on the festival circuit”, said Susan Troy. Mind you, this column meets Moyne Drama Group folks at the Tipp Drama Festival in Holycross annually, including Liam Troy, Johnny Quinlan, Susan Troy and Geraldine Delaney.
Moyne will stage,”Sive” with a girl in the role of Carthalawn (a theatre first, surely) in the Source Regional Arts Centre, Thurles, in middle to late January. ”This is simply because the new-look Community Centre in Moyne will not be ready”, said Susan Troy, who directed “Sive “ for Moyne 20 years ago also and played the major role of Nanna Glavin. “I have been with Moyne for nearly 25 years on and off and I have to say I love it”, she said last week. Moyne Group will have the well-known Thurles theatre and Gospel Singers personality, Susan Troy of College View, Thurles, as Director /Producer and Mairead Clohessy is Assistant Producer/Director while Dubliner, Katie Chapple, who lives in the area, will be assisting with the set, make-up and costumes. Margaret Leahy, who is in “The Constant Wife”, to be staged by Thurles Drama Group in November, will also assist with production. The cast, who have been rehearsing in Bannon’s hostelry in Two Mile Borris (courtesy Billy Lanigan) and Dwyers in Littleton, comprises of Maureen Claffey (Nanna Glavin), Geraldine Delaney (Mena Glavin), Edel Delaney (Sive), John Quinlan (Tomasin Sean Rua), John Fogarty (Mike Glavin), Eamonn Clohessy (Liam Scuab) Tommy Kennedy (Sean Dota), Liam Troy (Pats Bacach ) and Michelle Maher (Carthalawn).”They are a wonderful community in Moyne and love it ” said Susan Troy, who has also directed “Cobweb’s Glory“ by TC Murray, “Kings of the Kilburn High Road” and “Thy Will Be Done “ by Michael Carey. She has also produced pantomime in Rathdowney and she produced “Fiddler On The Roof” with Presentation Secondary School, Thurles, who staged the musical, “Cats”, at the weekend. She also produced Pantomime with Moyne Variety Group. She has also served with Thurles Musical Society. She recently did a concert with a group of young people called “Vocalize” and their Musical Director was Geraldine Delaney who is also in “Sive”, playing Mena Glavin. At least one other Tipp group has contemplated staging “Sive” which is very popular this season. ”Keane is such a wonderful playwright and the language is so beautiful in the play. Every word of it is magic.” said Susan Troy.
Susan paid tribute to Moyne Community Centre Caretaker, Patrick Moore, who “supplies ninety per cent of the props”, Eamonn Clohessy is building the set in Dwyers’ of Littleton. Holy cross/Ballycahill Drama Group are to stage “The God of Carnage“ in the Festival next March. The movie of this play, seen in Dublin by Thurles actor/Director, Liam Ryan, featured Kate Winslett and Jodie Foster. The Abbeysiders’ Director is the awards winning Pat McGrath, who has over 40 years of theatrical experience. The cast comprises awards-winning acting folks, Jacqui Lacey, Martin (“Marty”) O’ Neill, Derek Doherty and Salome Hennessey. Salome is also with the Roscrea Players. Holycross /Ballycahill Drama Group are also discussing a pre Festival play. More anon on that.
The All Conquering Thurles Drama Group of last year, who reached the All-Ireland Finals in Athlone with Conor Mc Pherson’s “The Seafarer”, Directed by multi-awards winning thespian, Margaret McCormack Purcell of Littleton, will stage Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” for the festival circuit next season and, once again, Margaret McCormack Purcell will be the Director. The cast comprises of Martin Fitzgerald (Joe Keller), Mary Condron (Kate Keller), David McElgunn (Chris Keller), Katherine Dee (Anne Deever), Donal Ryan (George Deever), Liam Ryan (Dr Jim Bayliss), Liz Kirwan (Sue Bayliss), John Butler (Frank Lubey), Sarah Feehan (Lydia Lubey) and Cathal McElgunn (8), son of David and Kate McElgunn, plays Bert. Awards- winning actor, Liam Ryan, is directing the pre-Christmas play of Thurles Drama Group which is William Somerset Maugham’s “A Constant Wife”. The cast of this hugely entertaining play, first produced in 1927, comprises of Maria McElgunn, Gretta Murphy, Margaret Leahy, Grainne De Stafort, Caitriona O‘Mahony, Michael Healy, Paul Flanagan, Brian Gleeson and Pat Loughnane. Thomas O’ Shaughnessy is on Set Construction and Joe Barry is on Set Design. Kevin Kirwan is on Sound and Sean O’ Dwyer and Gerry Taylor are on Lights. This group are currently rehearsing in Thurles Sarsfields Social Centre. This play will be staged in the Source Regional Arts Centre, Thurles, November 5-10. Michael Healy and Paul Flanagan are, of course, from Loughmore Drama Group. And Michael Healy is one of the most loyal of Tipp Drama Festival supporters. Meanwhile, the Inch Players are preparing for the new season also and held their annual general meeting last Monday night when their new play for next Spring was discussed. Comedy is king in Inch where they have the great gift of making many people laugh with their hilarious productions annually.