The drama of the General Election may be behind us and Galway 2020 may be in full swing, but in Claregalway, the drama is just beginning as its that time of year again when the local Leisure Centre is transformed into a theatre for the 38th Annual Claregalway Festival of Drama.
This year, in a change from the traditional Thursday Opening night, the Festival will run from Friday 13th March to Saturday 21st inclusive.
You really have to see the venue to believe the transformation from sports hall to theatre. This year’s adjudicator is Donal Courtney, who will give a public critique of the performances each night before being tasked with choosing the overall winners in a number of categories on closing night.
As always, the onsite Festival Tent is back this year with a fully stocked bar, and complimentary refreshment and home baking are served during the interval and after the performance each night, giving audience members a chance to have a chat about the play, meet the cast and give their own personal critiques on the performance.
Tickets are available by contacting the Festival secretary on 086 3223762. Tickets can also be purchased on the door but booking is advisable to avoid disappointment.
Doors open at 7.15pm nightly, with the performance beginning at 8pm sharp. Come along to support a local event and enjoy a great night out.
The Festival will open on Friday 13th March with Thurles Drama Group and their production of “Gut” by Frances Poet. In the play Maddy and Rory are devoted parents to three-year-old Joshua, committed to keeping him happy and safe. But an everyday visit to a supermarket cafe turns into a far more troubling incident, their trust in those closest to the is shattered. This play was the winner of Best Play 2019 Guild Awards.
On Saturday 14th March, Palace Players will present “Chapatti” by Christian O’Reilly. Romance is a distant memory for two lonely animal lovers living in Dublin. When forlorn Dan ad his dog Chapatti cross paths with the amiable Betty and her 19 cats, an unexpected spark begins a warm and gentle story about two people re-discovering the importance of human companionship.
First premiered in Galway International Arts Festival, this play returns with one of Irelands top amateur drama groups.
On Sunday March 15th Corofin Dramatic Society present “Skirmishes” by Catheine Hayes. Death can be an enlivening philosophical mystery.
Dying is a messy, high-maintenance business, with a tendency to bring out the worst in people. The play takes us to the deathbed of an old lady who’s so near to expiration that her two warring daughters, long estranged but reunited to attend this inevitability, are never quite sure whether it’s already happened.
On Monday 16th March Letterkenny Drama Group present “Dramateurs” by Kieran Kelly. In this hilarious farce, an amateur drama group have not performed for over ten years and are about to make their much anticipated comeback. Before they perform their new play, tragedy strikes. As their former member Fionn returns home from Boston, he must face up to the actions of his past and attempt to re-unite the group to stage their production.
On St. Patrick’s Night 17th March Glenamaddy Drama Group present a popular Martin McDonagh play “The Cripple of Innismaan”. This is set on the small Aran islands community of Inishmaan in 1934, where the inhabitants are excited to learn of a Hollywood film crew’s arrival in neighbouring Inishmore, “Cripple” Billy Claven, eager to escape the gossip and boredom of Inishmaan, vies for a part in the film. To everyone’s surprise, the orphan and outcast gets his chance … or so some believe.
On Wednesday March 18th the Ray Leonard Drama Group present “Beyond Therapy” by Christopher Durang. This farcical comedy focuses on Prudence and Bruce, two Manhattanites who are seeking romantic relationships with the help of their psychiatrists, each of whom suggests their patient place a personal ad in the newspaper. Bruce is highly emotional, a trait Prudence sees as a weakness. Complications ensue when Bruce’s jealous live-in lover Bob decides to assert himself and do everything possible to maintain his status quo.
On Thursday March 19th Clann Machua Drama Group present the always popular “Sive” by John B Keane. Nana and Mena bicker and provoke one another in the small smoky cottage where they live with Sive and Mena’s husband, Mike. While Nana dotes on her orphaned granddaughter, Sive, Mena plots to marry the young girl off to an old local farmer for the promise of land and a chance to escape from poverty.
On Friday March 20th Sliabh Aughty Drama Group present “The Outgoing Tide” by Bruce Graham. In a summer cottage on Chesapeake Bay, gunner has hatched an unorthodox plan to secure his family’s future but meets with resistance from his wife and son, who have plans of their own. As winter approaches, the three must quickly find common ground and come to an understanding – before the tide goes out.
On Saturday March 21st Claregalway Festival of Drama will conclude when Bridge Drama present “Men Should Weep” by Ena Lamont Stewart.
Following the misfortunes of the Morrison family, Ena Lamont Stewart’s landmark play is a searing depiction of the hand to mouth poverty that working class people lived in during the 1930’s. At the centre of the story is Maggie, the care-worn matriarch. Supported and hindered in equal measure by a network of neighbours and family – from whom it is impossible to keep any secrets – she does her very best in the worst of circumstances, always putting herself last.
On the final night after the results are announced, as always the Festival Club will be in full swing. Claregalway Festival of Drama is an occasion which is not to be missed.