The much loved comedy actor Frank Thornton who died, aged 92, on March 16th last at his home in Barnes London, will possibly be best remembered as the impeccably tailored Captain Peacock, who played the store supervisor role, in the 12 year running BBC Television sitcom “Are You Being Served?,” which began in 1973.
Frank was born Frank Thornton Ball at Dulwich, South London, on January 15th 1921 and was educated at Alleyn’s Church of England School. He worked as an insurance clerk for a short time, before discovering his passion for comedy & all things theatre.
I wonder how many people living in Thurles today can remember back to 1940, when on leaving the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA,) Frank made his professional début, aged 19, in the still standing, old Confraternity Hall (Formally Thurles Jail,) here in Thurles, in Co Tipperary.
In the Thurles Confraternity Hall, back then, he took on the actor’s profile of the hearty, extravagant ‘Brian Curtis,’ in the dramatist, Terence Rattigan’s play “French Without Tears,” and later honed his craft, touring with this and other plays around the small towns and village halls in the then Irish “Fit-Up” tradition. The “Fit-Ups,” were the travelling shows that went from town to town around Ireland, and were so-called because the actors literally transformed or fitted up each town hall they visited, from the arranging of the seating to the organising of lighting and sometimes even building the stage.
The St. Patrick’s Day festival weekend is in full swing here in Thurles, with many events taking place in the Cathedral town. With our major colourful parade taking place on Bank Holiday Monday March 18th, many of you will be wondering where the best entertainment and ‘craic’ is to be found on this St. Paddy’s day, March 17th.
Look no further than The Arch Bar, (Pat Hayes) Liberty Square, here in the centre of town, where a marathon 12 hour Traditional Irish Music Session is taking place, beginning at 12.30pm until 12.30am. Amongst the many artists who will be dropping in over this 12 hour session is top recording artist Nora Fogarty. Here is a song from her album, “One Star Awake” called Caledonia.
To play the song, please click the play button on the right hand side below.
This song is for Katie & company in Australia, Maureen, Eileen, Patrick & family (Loughmore connection) in the USA and all the many other ex-pats who are regular daily readers of Thurles.Info and to whom we wish a very special Happy St. Patrick’s day.
The event is being hosted in aid of North Tipperary Hospice/Suir Haven, the Thurles Cancer community based counselling support centre, located on Clongour Road, (Tel: 0504 21197) here in the town. Admission to this marathon Traditional Irish Music session is totally free, but if you would like to drop your loose change into the collection boxes strategically placed around the venue, your donation, however small, will be greatly appreciated.
Do remember this latter counselling support centre, whether one is living with cancer or affected by it, including family, carers and friends, offers emotional support, practical help and information in a safe, positive and confidential environment, free of charge.
If you are a Musician, a Performer or a Singer and you would like to showcase your particular talent why not celebrate St.Patrick by giving a performance of your particular God given talent, at what promises to be a major community event.
Eamon O’Dwyer of TippFM Radio‘s weekly popular specialist programme “Down Your Way,” will be calling in during the event, to chat and record some live music, by those performing.
To all readers & contributors to Thurles Information – A Very Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all.
Cast of Thurles Musical Societies “Titanic The Musical,” to be staged from Tuesday March 19th to Saturday March 23rd inc.
Reporter Noel Dundon (Thurles Musical Society PRO.)
Thurles Musical Society will stage “Titanic The Musical,” in the Premier Hall, Thurles from Tuesday March 19th to Saturday March 23rd, in what is anticipated to be a spectacular piece of theatre.
A company of more than 70 strong have been preparing for the hit show since just after Christmas and have worked very hard under the watchful eye of Director Peter Kennedy and Musical Director/Chorus Mistress Mary Rose McNally. With music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone, the show opened on Broadway in 1997. It won five Tony Awards including the award for Best Musical.
Titanic is set on the ocean liner RMS Titanic which sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912. The discovery of the wreckage of the RMS Titanic in 1985 attracted Yeston’s interest in writing a musical about the famous disaster.
“What drew me to the project were the positive aspects of what the ship represented,” states Yeston.
Humankind’s striving after great artistic works and similar technological feats, despite the possibility of tragic failure.
The dreams of the passengers on board: 3rd Class, to immigrate to America for a better life; 2nd Class, to live a leisured lifestyle in imitation of the upper classes; 1st Class, to maintain their privileged positions forever. The collision with the iceberg dashed all of these dreams simultaneously, and the subsequent transformation of character of the passengers and crew had, it seemed to me, the potential for great emotional and musical expression on stage.
The high cost of Titanic’s set made it impossible for the show to have traditional out of town try-outs. Titanic’s previews began at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1997 with major technical troubles: ironically, during previews the model ship on-stage would not sink. These difficulties were mostly resolved by opening night, but the show received mostly negative reviews.
During the previews, the cast had feared the show would close. Nevertheless, the show became a surprise hit. Many credit at least part of the show’s success to former talk show host Rosie O’Donnell who championed the show, featuring members of the original cast on her daytime talk show and giving away tickets to members of her studio audience. The show got a further boost when it won the 1997 Tony Award for Best Musical among other awards. The release of James Cameron’s film Titanic in December 1997 helped fuel worldwide interest in the disaster.
There were seven Tipperary people on board the Titanic including a man from Thurles – Denis Corcoran who was a fire man. And, one of the Titanic survivors Katie McCarthy from Ballydrehid, just outside Cahir has a number of descendants on stage with Thurles – an amazing twist to a truly amazing story.
Among the main role players in this production, which is a Premier County premiere, are John Scott (Captain Smith), Cathal O’Donoghue (Andrew), Frank Tuohy (Ismay), Michelle O’Connell (Kate McGowan), Danielle Martin (Kate Murphey), Catherine Britton (Kate Mullins), Barry Derby (Bride), John Hayes (Barrett), Gary Dempsey (Murdoch), Geraint Fyler (Fleet), Damian Sweeney (Hartley), Pat Hayes (Etches), Donal Taylor (Edgar Beane), Maria McElgunn (Alice Beane), Noel Dundon (Charles Clark), Cathy Keane (Caroline Neville), Barry Cagney (Jim Farrell), Gerard O’Hagan (Isodor Strauss), Rosalie Butler (Ida Strauss), Sarah Keane (Mrs Astor), Breda Byrne (Charlotte Cardoza), and Leonie Wettengel (Mademoiselle Aubert).
The show brings a huge challenge to the doors of the Thurles Society with particular emphasis on the Set and Stage Design team led by award winning Manager Tommy Sweeney – the sinking of the ship is worth seeing alone and will leave audiences in amazement at the work undertaken.
The opening night of this production is a Charity Night in association with the Thurles Lions Club with the proceeds going towards the “Trabolgan Holiday Project.” All tickets on this night will cost 15 Euro with a cheese and wine reception beforehand to help set the scene.
Tickets thereafter will be €15 and €8 for children. There is a special OAP rate on Wednesday evening. And, this year we have introduced a special deal for anyone bringing a group of six adults for all performances (except Tuesday) where they will be charged just the price of five. Twelve adults will be charged the price of ten tickets and so.
Tickets can be booked at Hickey’s Pharmacy, Liberty Square, Thurles from Tuesday March 12th or over the phone at Tel – 0504 21423.
Don’t miss this chance to see a really fabulous show right here on your doorstep.
It goes without saying, dancing, apart from obviously being enjoyable and a way of making friends socially, is one of the best forms of physical exercise.
Learn Social Dancing In Thurles
The latest round of dancing classes will commence here in The Premier Ballroom Thurles, on Tuesday22nd January at 8.30pm sharp and will continue for six weeks.
The classes are suitable for anyone over 16 years of age and wishing to learn the basic steps of social dancing, (i.e. waltz, foxtrot and quickstep,). Also, these classes are ideally suited to the requirements of newly engaged couples, who may be fearful of that first dance, on that eagerly awaited “Sunny Saturday Afternoon,” in the not too distant future.
The total cost, inclusive, of this six weeks course is a meagre €20, which covers all costs associated with this course. An enjoyable six week course is guaranteed and this event is as usual being organised and subsidised by the very professional ‘Thurles Club for Dancing.’
Want further information? Why not contact Tom Gleeson on Telephone 087-9732837.
What better way to spend a dreary Saturday afternoon in January than by listening to the romantic sounds of Johann Strauss. Now in its 9th year, a Viennese Strauss Gala is back here again in Thurles on tour on the stage of The Source Arts Centre, by popular demand.
This time they will arrive with a sparkling new production, authentically costumed, cleverly staged and wonderfully choreographed.
This truly breathtaking show is a magical mixture of music, song and dance and re-creates the nostalgia and romance of the grand ballrooms of 19th century Vienna. With little imagination required, you the audience will be introduced to a by-gone age of glamorous Soirees ( parties or gathering held in the evening, in someone’s home,) and the show will also highlight some of the great operettas of Emmerich Kalman, Johann Strauss and Franz Lehar, including de Fledermaus, The Merry Widow and many, many more.
The European Orchestral Ensemble will accompany four Soloists from major Opera companies including Opera North, English National Opera and D’Oyly Carte. It doesn’t get any better than this, for a truly authentic feel of a Viennese Gala this show will appeal to the romantic as much as the music aficionado.
Fine and elegant costumes simply add to the pleasure, bring home wonderful memories after an afternoon with Strauss. For lunchtime specials or afternoon tea reservations, ring Matt or Sheena at Tel: 0504-58858.
Date: Saturday 26th January, Time: 1.30pm Tickets: €20/€15 concession. Note: For all show bookings go to www.thesourceartscentre.ie or ring their Box Office at Tel: 0504 90204.
Highly entertaining for lovers of true romance and a ‘must see,’ for students of music in all schools.