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Thurles Musical Society To Stage “Michael Collins”.

Keith O’Dwyer-Greene (Michael Collins), Marie Therese Kirby (Kitty Kiernan) and John Hayes (Harry Boland) – three of the leads in the show which has been described as “The Irish Les Mis”

PRO & Vice Chairman for Thurles Musical Society, Mr Noel Dundon, reports:-

Award winning Thurles Musical Society is delighted to be staging the Musical Drama “Michael Collins”, by arrangement with the Michael Collins Production Trust.

The show will run in The Premier Hall, Thurles from Tuesday March 26th through to Saturday March 30th inclusive, with the curtain rising each night at 8:00pm.

This truly fantastic show; described by Director Oliver Hurley as “the Irish Les Mis”, was penned by the late Bryan Flynn with musical arrangements and orchestration by David Wray, and additional vocal arrangements and original musical direction by David Hayes.

It has already been staged to great acclaim this season by Coolmine Musical Society and Oyster Lane Musical Society, and Thurles will now seek to follow in their footsteps and bring this magnificent piece of theatre to a highly expectant audiences.

Thurles and Tipperary, of course, has many connections with the real life Michael Collins and the War of Independence. Indeed, Sologheadbeg in south west Tipperary is generally accepted to have been the location for the firing the first shots of the War of Independence one centenary ago this year, and though Collins was in the United Kingdom, breaking Eamon de Valera out of jail at that time, he was to include the likes of Dan Breen, Sean Treacy and Sean Hogan as members in his hit teams; latter known as flying columns, around the country later.

Loyalties Run Deep Across Political Divides

No matter where this show is staged, there will be many local angles to it. Indeed, within the cast of Thurles Musical Society there are many links to the Michael Collins story and loyalties run deep across both sides of the political divide with currently tremendous banter and commentary within the company as pro-Collins people end up in the anti-camp, and vice-versa as a result of the bass, tenor, alto, soprano divide. Surely Bryan Flynn never anticipated such a scenario as he consigned his thoughts to paper when writing this show. Or, maybe he did?

Front Line Cast

In any event Thurles Musical Society members are really enjoying their project and with a top-class front line, which includes Keith O’Dwyer Greene as Michael Collins, Cathal O’Donoghue as Eamon de Valera, Marie Therese Kirby as Kitty Kiernan, John Hayes as Harry Boland, Peter Donnelly as Joe Emmet, Frank Tuohy, Damian Sweeney, Nina Scott and Linda Ryan as the Abbey Theatre Players, Deirdre Hayes as Mother Ireland, and Jonathan Gleeson as Cathal Brugha, not to mention many more household names playing other roles; the audience is really in for a treat.

Mary Rose McNally is at the helm as Musical Director/ Conductor while Michelle O’Connell, Tommy Sweeney, Rita Dempsey and of course Oliver Hurley complete the production team.

This musical has attracted a company of more than fifty for Thurles, and the committee and those on stage are looking forward to welcoming all those who wish to come along to enjoy what is promised to be a top class production.

Booking Office

The Ticket Booking Office is now open for this major Thurles production at Bookworm, Liberty Square, (On the junction of Liberty Square and Parnell Street in the town). Tickets can also be booked on the Thurles Society Telephone at 085 2868726.

If you do only one thing this year to cast you mind back to the time of Collins and the War of Independence, attend this show. Expect to experience a truly theatrical tour-de-force.

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David Scott To Adjudicate At Holycross Drama Festival

Australian Native, Mr David Scott will adjudicate this year at the County Tipperary Open Drama Festival in St. Michael’s Community Centre, Holycross, Thurles.

Local press correspondent Mr Tom Ryan now reports:

Pictured (L to R) Mr Donal Duggan (Festival Director) and Tipperary Ind. TD Mr M.Lowry

Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group and Nenagh Drama Group will be the County Tipperary representatives this year in the prestigious Co. Tipperary Open Drama Festival, to be held in St. Michael’s Community Centre, Holycross, from March 22nd to March 30th when participating groups will bid for the “Tipperary Star” Cup in the Confined Section and the “TippFM Trophy” in the Open category.

Popular Festival Director, once again this year, is Mr Donal Duggan who together with a dedicated committee have been working diligently to maintain the proud traditional status of the “Abbeysiders” in this great festival featuring the country’s top drama groups staging some of the world’s finest drama.

Meet the Adjudicator, Mr David Scott
Mr David Scott is an Australian born actor, writer, director and acting teacher. He has worked extensively as a professional actor in both Australia and Ireland on television, stage and film, appearing in such programs as “All Saints”, “Water Rats” and “Home and Away” in Australia; “The Clinic”, “Fair City”, “Damage”, “The Tudors”, “Game of Thrones” and “The Vikings”, since his arrival here in Ireland in 2004.

He is Director of the ‘Actor’s Wednesday Workshop’ and the ‘Actor’s Friday Studio’, highly regarded part-time programmes for both developing and advanced actors. He is Director of ‘The Applied Art of Acting’, latter an intensive, single-technique three-month full-time programme for actors of exceptional ability.

Mr Scott has taught extensively in The Gaiety School of Acting, The Irish Film Academy and in many theatre companies, drama groups, schools and organisations here in Ireland, in Australia and other countries. He has also written three textbooks on acting technique, “The Beautiful Stage”, “The Art of Acting” and “The Possible Someone”.

Mr Scott is also Artistic Director of ‘Company D Theatre’, a Dublin based theatre company, focused on promoting new work, new actors and theatre artists. Company D has produced many critically acclaimed shows since its foundation in 2006, twelve of which David has written, and is one of the most highly regarded independent theatre outfits in Ireland.

He has taught actors advanced techniques since his early twenties, constantly developing his own cutting-edge approaches and exchanging with great teachers, directors and theatre and film artists. His constantly evolving work is highly valued by actors and practitioners of both theatre and film around the world

The Plays and Players who will perform in St. Michael’s Community Centre, Holycross

Friday, March 22nd, (Confined) ‘Eclipsed’, by Patricia Burke Brogan (Tinahealy D.G.)

Saturday, March 23rd, (Open) ‘The Lieutenant of Inishmore’, by Martin McDonagh (Kilmeen D.G.)

Sunday, March 24th, (Open) ‘What Happened Bridgie Cleary’, by Tom McIntyre (Nenagh D.G.)

Monday, March 25th, (Open) ‘The Steward of Christendom’, by Sebastian Barry (Kilrush D.G.)

Tuesday, March 26th, (Open) ‘Philadelphia Here I Come’, by Brian Friel (Brideview D.G.)

Wednesday, March 27th, (Confined) ‘The Honey Spike’, by Bryan McMahon (Tarbert D.G.)

Thursday, March 28th, (Confined) ‘Unforgiven’, by John McDwyer (Kilworth D.S.)

Friday, March 29th, (Confined) ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’, by Martin McDonagh (Holycross/Ballycahill D.G.)

Saturday, March 30th, (Confined) ‘The Righteous are Bold’, by Frank Carney (Kilmuckridge D.G.).

To all this years performers; may we use the obscure idiom, so often used in theatre circles to wish performers “good luck,” – “Break a leg” guys.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Holycross/Ballycahill – ‘Tipp Top’ in Open Drama Festival

News Flash: Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group with their production of “Bold Girls” have qualified for the All-Ireland Confined Finals of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland; to be held in St Bridget’s Hall, Carnew, County Wicklow from Friday, April 13th to Saturday, April 21st.

Holycross/Ballycahill Are Tops in Tipp at Co. Tipperary Open Drama Festival

Tom Ryan Reports:-

It’s official. The 50 year old Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group are tops in Co. Tipperary!

The winners of last year’s “Tipperary Star” Cup awarded in the Confined Section of the Co. Tipperary Drama Festival, this year have won the Dr Morris Cup for Best Tipperary Play in the Confined Section. Same was announced last Saturday night in St Michael’s Community Centre, Holycross; as a hugely successful 36th Co. Tipperary Open Drama Festival drew to a close.

Ms Imelda McDonagh

Already preparations are under way for next year’s festival to be held in March, 2019.  A justifiably delighted Mr Donal Duggan, (Festival Director), thanked everybody who had contributed in any way to the success of the festival.

The “Tipperary Star Cup” in the Confined Section went to Curtain Call Productions, Dungarvan, with Neil La Bute’s “Some“Girls”.

The “Hannifin Cup” for Most Entertaining Play went to Conna Drama Group’s “Caught in the Net” and the Gallagher Award for Most Promising Actor/Actress, went to Lilly Heindich Doyle (Gorey).  Ms Jenny Bracken of the Holycross/Ballycahill Group, latter who are having a very successful year, winning many awards nationwide, won Best Actress Award for her role as
“Marie” in “Bold Girls”, to further add to other best actress awards won by this very talented Thespian.

Jacqui Lacey was nominated for Best Supporting Actress Award. Miriam Lanigan, Paddy Connolly and Conor O’Connell of Holycross /Ballycahill won an Adjudicator’s award for Imaginative and Atmospheric Lighting.

The Tipp FM Trophy for the Open Section winners was won by Bridge View, Tallow, for their truly delightful “Stolen Child” by Yvonne Quinn and Bairbre Ni Chaoimh.

Nenagh DG were second with “Duet For One”, while Thurles Drama Group were third with Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit”.  Mary Bowe, playing Elvira in “Blithe Spirit” won Best Actress Award for Thurles Drama Group.  Martin Fitzgerald was nominated for Best Actor and Liam Ryan was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in “Blithe” Spirit”, while Anne O’ Dwyer won the Josie Slattery Trophy for Best Overall Set. Sandra Dunne was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Award.

Kevin Walshe of Nenagh DG was nominated for Best Actor Award and Ciara O’Sullivan of Nenagh for Best Actress Award (Open).

The Tipperary successful Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group and Dr Morris Cup winners, comprised  Elaine O’ Dwyer, Jenny Bracken, Joanne O’Neill and Jacqui Lacey, while Claire Ryan was Director. And they and their hard-working stage crew deserve many accolades. As, indeed, do all groups who participated with a wide ranging selection of top plays over the nine days of delightful theatre, a credit to rural Tipperary.

Hopefully this prestigious festival will ever receive all the support it so richly deserves.
The festival attracted theatre enthusiasts from all over Tipperary and other counties who lavished praise on the organising committee.  It was pointed out that The Tipperary and Doonbeg Drama Festivals are the only ones to feature the playing of our national anthem. And in Holycross, Martin (“Marty”) O’Neill can be proud of his dedication in this regard. He always plays “Amhrán na bhFhiann” nightly before the plays ever get under way.

The Festival committee led by Mr Donal Duggan, Festival Director, who was MC nightly, won praise from popular adjudicator, Ms Imelda McDonagh, who was a richly informative voice nightly and very helpful to groups with vast experience at her disposal.

County Tipperary Drama Festival Committee 2018
President: V Rev Fr. Celsius Tierney, Parish Priest of Holycross/Ballycahill; Chairman: Tommy Lanigan; Festival Director: Donal Duggan; Treasurer: Maudie Bourke; Secretary; Claire Ryan; P.R.O:Geraldine O’Neill; Sponsorship: Ger O’Dwyer; Raffle: Diana Lacey; Technical: Marty O’Neill and Paddy Connolly; Committee: Peg Ryan, Elaine O’Dwyer, Derek Doherty.

A special subcommittee comprises :
Jack Henchion, John Glasheen, Aisling Henchion, Gerry Kennedy.

Attendance at the festival included:
“Tipperary Star” Sports Editor, Brian McDonnell, John Quinlan (Moyne), Martin, Mary and Anna Fitzgerald (Holycross), Marian Burke (Holycross), Tim Curran and his daughter Rachel (Thurles), Fintan O Gorman (Athnid), Denis Carroll (Clonoulty), Tom Quinlan (Ballyhcahill), Gerard J Hough (Cashel), author John G O ‘Dwyer (Thurles), Nora and Mary Maher (Thurles), Mairead Ryan (Holycross), Patrick Crowe, (Thurles), Siobhan Kelly (Thurles), Josephine O’Gorman (Thurles), Tommy Kennedy (Thurles), Mike Hennessy (Tipperary Mid-West Radio), and his wife, Breda, Dolores Purcell (Athnid), Tom and Margaret Purcell (Littleton), James Finn, and Geraldine O’Neill (Tipp FM), Kitty Devane (Clonoulty) and her daughter Edel.

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Tipperary Drama Festival Gets Under Way In Holycross, Thurles

Reporter: Tom Ryan.

County Tipperary Drama Festival Committee 2018
President: Very Rev. Fr. Celsius Tierney, Parish Priest of Holycross/ Ballycahill; Chairman: Tommy Lanigan; Festival Director: Donal Duggan; Treasurer: Maudie Bourke; Secretary: Clare Ryan; P.R.O: Geraldine Henchion; Sponsorship: Ger O’Dwyer; Raffle: Diana Lacey; Technical Support: Marty O’Neill and Paddy Connolly; Subcommittee Members: Peg Ryan, Elaine O’Dwyer, Derek Doherty, Jack Henchion, John Glasheen, Aisling Henchion and Gerry Kennedy.

Ms Imelda McDonagh

The 36th annual County Tipperary Open Drama Festival got under way in style at St. Michael’s Community Centre, Holycross, last Friday night, following a glitzy ‘Cheese and Wine’ reception, hosted by the Festival Committee and attended by many local dignitaries.

The festival was officially opened by International Festival Adjudicator, Ms Imelda McDonagh , who was welcomed by Mr Donal Duggan, latter Festival Director for over three decades and the amiable and informative Master of Ceremonies nightly.

Amongst those introduced to the attendance by Mr Duggan were:-  Archbishop Emeritus Dermot Clifford; Very Rev Celsius Tierney PP; Festival Committee President Mr Tommy Lanigan; an old friend to the festival and its Chairman Mr Michael Lowry, TD; County Councillors Mr Micheal Lowry and Mr Seamus Hanafin and Ms Kay Cahill, (sister of TD Mr Jackie Cahill).

As former adjudicator, Mr Larry McCluskey, pointed out that audiences are very perceptive and appreciative in Holycross and not only do Holycross host the actual annual festival, but they also compete themselves nationally, with great successfully.

There were lovely tributes in this year’s Festival Programme; to the late Eibhlis Quirke, former Secretary of the Festival Committee and to the late Dan Gallagher of Thurles. (Ar dheis De a n-anamacha). The late Dan and his wife, Breda, previously sponsored the “Gallagher Award” for “Most Promising Actor/Actress” and Breda Gallagher and her daughter Mary, were most welcome guests on the night, upholding a proud tradition for the popular Gallagher family.

The festival continues until next Saturday, March 24th, when results will be announced and prizes presented, including the “Tipperary Star Cup” for Best Play in the Confined Section, and the “Tipp FM Trophy” for Best Play in the Open Section.

Wednesday, March 21st (Open section) Noel Coward’s “Blyth Spirit”, – Thurles D.G.
Thursday, March 22nd (Confined) “Some Girls”, Curtain Call, Dungarvan.
Friday, March 23rd (Confined) “Bold Girls”, Holycross/Ballycahill D.G.
Saturday, March 24th (Open) “Duet For Two”, Nenagh Drama Group.

Festival fever is particularly strong in the Suirside village currently, with the Holycross/Ballycahill group’s Jenny Bracken winning “Best Actress Award” in the Rush, County, Dublin, Drama Festival and Aisling Henchion nominated for “Best Sound” at the same festival.

There is a lot of buzz about “Bold Girls”.
It looks like being a very successful year for the talented Abbeysiders. There is huge excitement about the group locally and a record attendance is expected next Friday night to see them on stage in “Bold Girls”.  Early attendance is certainly most advisable and note the ever-popular Festival Club Tea Room will be in operation on a nightly basis.

“Bold Girls”, is a stirring play based around the lives of three women; Marie, Nora and Cassie, all living in war-torn Belfast. Although their men have been either killed or imprisoned for their political activities; everyday life must go on. But the appearance of a disturbing young girl, and Cassie’s revelations, suddenly threaten Marie’s carefully structured widowhood.

This impressive Holycross/Ballycahill group, directed by Claire Ryan; winners of the Confined Section in the Roscommon Drama Festival, comprise the formidable cast of:- Joanne O’Neill, Jacqui Lacey, Eleanor O’ Dwyer and Jenny Bracken, together with a top-class backup team. At time of writing they still have more festivals in which to compete, to bring them even possibly more honour.

Looking back at the Tipperary Open Drama Festival.
A number of other groups in this festival are no strangers to both the Confined and Open All-Ireland finals. Simply only the best groups take to the stage in Holycross, offering that rare opportunity to meet; not only theatre enthusiasts, but also talented Thespians from all over Ireland.

Holycross-Ballycahill Drama Group are in existence for over fifty years. The group have reached the All Ireland Confined Finals on many occasions, including, 2016, in Castleblayney with “The Thrill of Love” by Amanda Whittington and in 2013 in Rossmore Co. Cork with “The God of Carnage” by Yasmina Reza. They have won numerous acting, directing and set awards, not only on the country’s festival circuit, but also in All Ireland competitions.

“Sive” by J.B. Keane, “Run For Your Wife” by Ray Cooney, “Woman and Scarecrow” by Marina Carr and T.S. Elliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” are among the critically acclaimed productions that the group have performed around the country. They have even brought “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”, by Martin Mc Donagh to Germany, following a special request by the American forces stationed there to perform at their base in Heidelberg.

The above group have won a string of nominations e.g. Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Set (Andy Slattery) awards around the country. A magnificent achievement for Director, Claire Ryan and her talented cast and stage crew.

Ursuline Convent Secondary Win Glasheen Trophy in Schools Drama Festival
With a hugely impressive production, Ursuline Convent, Thurles won the coveted Glasheen Trophy in the unique Schools Drama Festival, in which Presentation Secondary School, Thurles and two groups from Doon also participated.  Sponsors were Stakelum’s Office Supplies here in Thurles, who were thanked. Mr Donal Duggan, Festival Director went on to thank the teachers for their committed involvement in and contribution to the festival and for fostering local drama and an interest in drama from an early age.

So, it remains a fact; to quote the words of Festival Adjudicator for the “Schools Drama Festival”, Mr Conor O’Connell, (to massive applause, I might add), “Drama is alive and well in Tipperary”.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

“Ragtime” Returns To Thurles Musical Society After 14 Years

Thurles Musical Society will bridge a fourteen year gap with their staging of “Ragtime” the Musical here in The Premier Hall, Thurles, from Tuesday March 20thSaturday 24th next, inclusive.

Jack Carolan, Barry Derby, Harry Keane, Linda Ryan and John Scott, main role players in the TMS’ Ragtime.

The Thurles society had the honour of staging the European Amateur première back in 2004 under the direction of Vivian Coates, and amazingly two of the main players are now returning to reprise the same roles again this time round.

While quite a number of the 2018 company were in the 2004 production as well; Michael McLoughlin is returning to play the part of Coalhouse Walker Junior, as he did fourteen years ago. Donal Taylor is also returning to play the part of Booker T Washington, again, a role he played almost a decade and a half ago – Donals wife Maria McElgunn returns to play the part of Emma Goldman, having played the part of Mother back in 2004. And, her brother David will play the part of Tateh in this years show.

Another link with the first production sees Danielle Martin play the role of Evelyn Nesbitt – she is daughter of Ricky Martin who played the part of Father– and niece of Patricia Ryan (Kenny) who played the part of Evelyn last time round.

With a sixty strong cast under the Direction of Christine Scarry, choreographer Lea Carroll and Musical Director Mary Rose McNally, who was also MD fourteen years ago; the Thurles crew have been working very hard to get this massive show off the ground.

Audiences flocked to The Premier Hall in 2004 to see this ‘new show’ and Thurles Musical Society expects more of the same, such was the success of Ragtime last time round.

Tickets, costing €20 for adults and €10 concessions, can be booked at the Booking Office in Bookworm, Liberty Square, Thurles or at 085 2868726.

There are, as always, family tickets available, together with various group discounts.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail