Jerome Stack has been the director of the Kerry Drama Festival for the past 30 years. He’s been in the position since the revival of the festival in 1988 after it had lapsed in 1971.
There’s no one in a better position than Jerome to realise how privileged local audiences have been with so many tremendous productions coming their way through the hosting of the festival in Castleisland.
Spread the Credit
Anxious to spread the credit for the revival and the subsequent success of the festival, Jerome said that a lot of thanks has to go to his fellow members and volunteers. He mentions especially, Mary Murphy and Aidan Reidy.
“Mary and Aidan have been co-directors with me in organising the festival annually. The festival had originally been held in Killarney but lapsed 1971.
Revival an Objective
“The revival of the festival was an objective of the Kerry Drama Federation in1988. Also involved in reviving the festival were: Maurice Curtin, Tralee; Nora Relihan, Madeline O’Sullivan and Oliver O’ Neill from Listowel.
“Over the last thirty years there were many standout moments including: Agnes of God, Raftery’s Hill and Conversations of a Homecoming all of which went on from Castleisland to win All Ireland Drama Finals.
“Also we had A Streetcar Named Desire, Equus, Who’s afraid of Virginia Woulfe, The Glass Menagerie and Jane Eyre. All classics in their own right.
“We also had many fantastic productions of the plays of John B Keane, plays which became the backbone of the amateur drama movement and the amateur drama festival circuit.
“The Kerry Drama Festival also hosted three All-Ireland Drama finals in Siamsa Tire in Tralee. The festival is a good learning experience for the local drama groups in Kerry by attending the festival and listening to the comments of the professional adjudicator on the night.
Seven New Productions
“This year’s festival sees seven new productions which have not been seen here before. It promises to be a great week’s entertainment with a mixture of comedies and serious plays.
“And we’re looking forward to another thirty years of drama in Castleisland,” said Jerome.
The 30th. Kerry Drama Festival 2017 will open at the Ivy Leaf Art Centre on Friday March 3rd for a nine-night run.
As always it will be held under the auspices of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland.
The list of Plays is as Follows:
Friday, March 3rd. Telephone Exchange by Niamh Gleeson, performed by Take 5 Drama Group; Saturday, March 4th. Cripple of Inismaan by Martin McDonagh, performed by Corofin Dramatic Society; Sunday, March 5th. Dead Man’s Cellphone by Sarah Ruhl, performed by Dalkey Players; Monday, March 6th. The Banshee of Crokey Hill by Tommy Marren, performed by Kilworth Dramatic Society; Tuesday, March 7th. Hedda Gabler, by Henrik Ibsen, performed by Kilrush Drama Society; 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
A Look Back at the 1988 Kerry Drama Festival
In 1988 the Kerry Drama Festival was revived as the first competitive event after it had lapsed since 1971. Several non-competitive festival had been held in both Tralee and Castleisland after the formation of the Kerry Drama Federation in 1983.
The Kerry Drama Federation officers in 1988 were: President: Nora Relihan, Listowel; Chairperson: Mary Murphy, Killarney; Vice Chairman: Oliver O’Neill, Listowel; Secretary, Liz Ryan, Listowel; Treasurers: Maurice Curtin, Tralee and Jerome Stack Castleisland; PRO: Madeline O’Sullivan, Listowel.
The 1988 Kerry Drama Festival opened on Friday March 18th with the Brewery Lane Theatre Group staging Tom Murphy’s Bailegangaire. Saturday 19th Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group with: The Diary of Anne Frank by Goodrich / Hackett; Sunday night 20th Kilmeen Dramatic Society with The Highest House on the Mountain by John B Keane; Monday 21st Zyber Theatre Company, Tralee with: Can’t Pay Won’t Pay by Dario Fo; Tuesday 22nd Glenside Theatre Group, Charleville with Philadelphia Here I Come by Brian Friel; Wednesday 23rd Kilkee Drama Group with Translations by Brian Freil; Thursday 24th Mitchelstown Dramatic Society with The Rain at the End of Summer by John B. Keane; Friday 25th Caragh Lake Drama Group staged Sailor Beware by Philip King and Falkland Cary.
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