Quality Line-Up for Kerry Drama Festival March 1st – 8th

2018 Festival adjudicator, Walker Ewart (left) pictured with Amateur Drama Council of Ireland Chairman Aidan Reidy and festival Director, Jerome Stack on the eventual opening night of the 31st Kerry Drama Festival at the Ivy Leaf Art Centre in Castleisland. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Only the finest amateur drama societies in Ireland will perform at The Ivy Leaf Theatre here in Castleisland during the 32nd annual Kerry Drama Festival 2019.

The festival will open on Friday, March 1st and will run with eight nights of great theatre to the following Friday night, March 8th.

Bidding for Athlone

The event, held under the auspices of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland, is a qualifying ‘stage’ of the RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Finals in Athlone in early May.

If you’re scanning the menu for this festival for familiarity, fame and quality, it’s all here in abundance: John B. Keane, Martin McDonagh, Bryan McMahon, Brien Friel and others – are in there with plays as famous as their names.

The festival will be opened by Owen McMahon, a son of the late Listowel and aforementioned playwright.

Responsibility of Selection

The responsibility for the selection of groups and plays for the Kerry Drama Festival isn’t taken lightly or for granted.

Like any of the great racing festivals, the history, recent form and quality of the groups involved are studied in the run in to each event.

For example: At the finals in Athlone last May, two of the major honour winning groups and plays finished as they did in the Kerry Drama Festival in Castleisland just two months earlier.

A Tremendous Boost

In Athlone, the Co. Kildare based Prosperous Dramatic Society won the major accolades with their play Sylvia and Brideview Drama Group from Waterford came in as runners-up with Stolen Child.

This, Kerry Drama Festival Director, Jerome Stack considers a tremendous boost for the Ivy Leaf based festival.

“It means that patrons who come to see the shows in the Ivy Leaf each spring are guaranteed the best amateur drama productions in Ireland – on their own doorsteps,” said Mr. Stack.

About the Adjudicator

Ailbhe Garvey-Hughes has been involved in theatre for most of her life. She holds a Fellowship from the London College of Music and a Licentiate from Trinity College.

Best Actress Awards

Her experience began as an actor in amateur drama, where she won the ‘best actress’ award playing Jill Tanner in Butterflies are Free at the All Ireland Finals in Athlone: Later playing in many productions in An Taibhdearc – The Irish Language Theatre – in Galway.

She played with the internationally renowned Druid Theatre Company in many successful productions including those in the Dublin and Edinburgh Theatre Festivals.

Roles Played

Her roles include: A Galway Girl; Pursuit of Pleasure; The Importance of Being Earnest; Sam Sheppard’s Action; Ibsen’s A Doll’s House; Bernard Farrell’s I Do Not like Thee Dr Fell; Eugene O’Neill’s Touch of The Poet; Brian Friel’s Philadelphia Here I Come; Lorca’s House of Bernarda Alba; Neil Simon’s Come Blow Your Horn and many other roles.

Ailbhe has worked as a professional actor, director, adjudicator and teacher for over thirty years and has been a member of the Association of Drama Adjudicators since its inception.

Bookings Advisable

Booking is advisable as there have been times when the ‘Full House’ signs had to be posted.

The 2019 line-up of dates, plays, playwrights and groups is as follows:

Friday 1st March 1st 2019, Confined Section, The Rael McCoy by Tommy Marren performed by Wayside Players.

Saturday, March 2nd 2019, Confined Section, Unforgiven by John McDwyer performed by Kilworth Drama Group.

Sunday, March 3rd 2019, Open Section, Life Sucks by Aaron Posner performed by Corofin Dramatic Society.

Monday, March 4th 2019, Open Section, The Mill on the Floss by by Helen Edmundson/George Eliot performed by Dalkey Players.

Tuesday, March 5th 2019, Open Section, Philadelphia, Here I Come by Brian Friel performed by Brideview Drama Group.

Wednesday, March 6th 2019, Confined Section, The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh performed by Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group.

Thursday, March 7th 2019, Confined Section, The Honeyspike by Bryan MacMahon performed by Tarbert Theatre Players.

Friday, March 8th 2019, Confined Section, Sive by John B. Keane performed by Sliabh Aughty Drama Group.

Friday night is also final adjudication and presentation of prizes night. Shows nightly at 8pm.

Admission: Adults €10; Season Tickets: €60. Booking Service on: 086 10 54 515.

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