The 59th Annual Ballyshannon Drama 59th festival, which ended on Sunday night in the Abbey Centre, was a resounding success.
Ballyshannon Drama Festival Director John Travers was pleased to report: “Audience numbers were up, with a tremendous number of season tickets sold. Another factor which really added to this year’s festival was the number of people originally from Ballyshannon who came home for the long weekend and took in three or four plays while here. It all meant that there was a great buzz about the place and a wonderful atmosphere.” The organisers were particularly pleased at how well two controversial modern plays- Immaculate by Oliver Lansley and Angles in America Part 1 by Tony Kushner - were received. “The audiences really seemed to appreciate the very varied mix of plays on offer this year, from traditional Irish classics such as the Loves of Cass Maguire and Sharon’s Grave to the newer plays. Angels in America even took the Audience Award, which I think says a lot about both the quality of the production and the way audiences have changed. The standard of this year’s productions was phenomenally high. Three of the plays have already qualified for the All-Ireland finals. I guess that says it all.”
Award winners: Billy Myles Audience Award - Angels in America, Silken Thomas Players, Kildare; Best Set (Mary Monaghan Award) The Loves of Cass Maguire, St Dympna’s Dramatic Society, Dromore; Best Stage Manager (Maureen Kane Award) Angels in America; Lighting (Margaret McGinley Award) Sharon’s Grave, Coolera Dramatic Society; Ajudicators’ Awards 1) A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer’s Assstant, Phoenix Players, Tubbercurry, Fantasy Scene 2) A View From the Bridge, Bangor Dramatic Society, Gavin Neilly as Eddie and 3) Sharon’s Grave, Stephen Devaney as Dinzie; Phil McLoone Award for outstanding achievement by a young person Lauren Gallagher as Emily Webb in Lifford Players’ Our Town; Best Actor Confined (Saimer Cup/Paddy McLoone Award) Tom Walsh as Fr Daly in A Crucial Week; Best Actress Confined (Kathleen Fagan Award) Ciara Connolly as Mia in Backburner Drama Circle’s Immaculate; Best Producer Confined (Hugh & Mary Daly Cup) Paul Brown, Immaculate; Third Place Confined The Loves of Cass Magure; Second Place Confined: A Crucial Week; First Place Confined Commerical Hotel Cup presented by the late Bernard Sweeney) Backburners, Immaculate; Best Actor Open (Eoin Carney Award) Colin Malone as Pior Walter in Angels; Jenny Lucas as Vivienne Haigh-Wood in Tom and Viv, Bradan Players; Best Producer Open (John Stephen Cup) George Hogan, Bradan; Third Place Open Sharon’s Grave; Second Place Open (CJ King Award) Angels in America; Winner of Open Section (Maureen Gallagher Award) Tom & Viv, Bradan Players; Patsy Croal Blue Riband (sponsored by Celtic Weave) Tom & Viv, Bradan.