Amateur Drama Circuit – An Important and Valid Irish Art Form

Crowds from throughout the county are complimenting some great theatre all this week at the Kerry Drama Festival at Castleisland’s Ivy Leaf Art Centre.

The nine-night long event got off to a flying start on Friday evening as festival director, Jerome Stack with adjudicator, Brendan Murray and guest Kevin O’Shea took to the stage.

Three insightful and short introductory speeches followed.

The festival’s 30th anniversary didn’t go unmentioned as Jerome recalled how Cork actor, Flor Dulea RIP held the distinction of being the only festival adjudicator to have been a found-on during a late night raid by Gardai on a local public house.

List of Achievements

The 2017 adjudicator, Mr. Murray’s list of achievements and credits took up much of Jerome’s speech. After he reached the end of the list he pondered aloud: “I don’t know if we can afford this man at all,” to loud applause and laughter.

Mr. Murray said he was glad to be back in Kerry after nine years and he looked forward to the plays of the festival.

He reminded the audience that there would be many opinions on the productions of the week ahead and that his is just one of those.

Due Recognition to Drama

He also said that he was glad to see the Arts Council giving due recognition to the amateur drama circuit in Ireland as it is an important and valid art form in Irish society today.

Jerome then introduced Kevin O’Shea who won the first festival in 1988 with Philadelphia Here I Come.

Mr. O’Shea outlined the difficulties of castling a play in small, rural towns and villages.

He told the audience that he had gone to mass three times one Sunday in a bid to spot likely characters for a play he was planning for Charleville some years ago.

Brian Friel Classic

Along with winning the first festival in 1988, Kevin repeated the feat in 2009 and then too with the Brian Friel classic.

The adjudicator on that occasion was none other than Brendan Murray.

Before he let the festival off down the slipway, Kevin O’Shea also gave the punters a run-down on the vagaries of life on the road with trucks loaded with props and running out of diesel in God forsaken places on dark and wintery nights.

There are still four great nights of drama left in the festival and adjudication night after Saturday’s performance of The Field.

Four Nights to Go

Tonight, Wednesday, March 8th. Little Gem, by Elaine Murphy, performed by Holycross Drama Group; Thursday, March 9th. Seafarer by Conor McPherson, performed by Kilmeen Drama Group; Friday, March 10th. Living Quarters by Brian Friel, performed by Brideview Drama Group; Saturday, March 11th. The Field by John B. Keane, performed by Amphitheatre Company.

Final adjudication and presentation of trophies. Adjudicator: Brendan Murray, ADA.

Shows nightly at 8pm. Admission: Adults €10. Concession: €8. Season Ticket: €60. Concession: €50. Booking service telephone contact: 086 10 54 515

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