“The Happy Prince” moves to Ballyshannon this weekend

Donegal audiences still have two opportunities this weekend to catch the magical new production of Oscar Wilde’s classic story, “The Happy Prince”.

Donegal audiences still have two opportunities this weekend to catch the magical new production of Oscar Wilde’s classic story, “The Happy Prince”.

An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny premiered the work this past weekend, with performances on Saturday and Sunday. The production tells Wilde’s gentle story with an original score by composer Vincent Kennedy, engaging storytelling by Little John Nee and performances by the Donegal Music Education Partnership’s Youth Orchestra and Donegal Youth Choir.

This weekend, “The Happy Prince” travels to the Abbey Centre in Ballyshannon for performances at 3pm and 7pm on Saturday, April 21st.

The production is directed by Raymond Keane of Barrabas Theatre Company and conducted by Vincent Kennedy, with lighting by Niall Cranney.

In this version, Little John is babysitting for a friend’s children when he launches into Wilde’s well-known tale. This “story within a story” device enables Little John to give a real Donegal flavour to the proceedings: There is humour and pathos, set against a backdrop of Donegal locations. For example, a scene in which Little John speaks of snow falling on Errigal is complemented perfectly by Vincent’s score, which creates an evocative “sound picture” of the moment.

“It’s like they say: The best pictures are on radio,” Vincent said. “Your mind comes up with its own images.”

Little John said the combination of words and music, performances by the youth orchestra and choir, emotive lighting and the direction by Barrabas’s Raymond gives the audience, “plenty to look at, and be excited about, and be intrigued by.”

Donegal County Council’s public art office commissioned the production, which is produced by An Grianán Theatre and supported by the Donegal VEC Music Education Partnership.

“The Happy Prince”, a 50-minute performance, is suitable for ages 5 and up. More information at the An Grianán box office, 074 912 0777.