Arts Column with Conor Malone

Arts Column with Conor Malone
This Weeks Highlights

This Weeks Highlights

The Abbey Theatre’s Sive continues at An Grianan, Letterkenny until Saturday. Also running til Saturday is From The Camp To The Creggan at The Millennium Forum, Derry and St Columba’s College school musical Dancing Queen at The Balor, Ballybofey.

Letterkenny actor turned author Kieran Kelly launches his new historical book Letterkenny: Where The Winding Swilly Flows next Tuesday at 7.30pm at An Grianan, Letterkenny. Also next Tuesday, Ulster Theatre Company’s Jonathan Harker & Dracula begins a two night run at The Millennium Forum, Derry.

There’s more vampiric carrying on – this time for kids – with Jackula at An Grianan, Letterkenny on Wednesday 29th at 3pm while that evening Puddle Alley Theatre Group perform their comedy Bookworms at The Balor, Ballybofey.

Where The Winding Swilly Flows

Donegal theatregoers may be familiar with Kieran Kelly – the Letterkenny actor has been in many productions over the years - Letterkenny Music & Drama Society’s The 39 Steps and Chronicles of Long Kesh are two recent productions that spring to mind.

Kieran’s talents evidently extend beyond the stage, as the avid historian launches his new book Letterkenny: Where The Winding Swilly Flows next Tuesday October 28th.

Meticulously researched over six years, the book covers the history of the town starting with the formation of the valley in the last Ice Age and entertaining various theories as to how the town got is name. Also covered are the ancient battles that took place along the Swilly’s banks, the formation of the modern town in the Ulster Plantation, the various families of the Ascendancy Big houses, the building of the Cathedral, World War I, and the history of various sports and drama clubs.

Some fascinating facts that you may not have known – Charles Stewart Parnell, Monty Python’s Michael Palin and George Harrison’s ex-wife Patti Boyd are all of Letterkenny ancestral descent.

Letterkenny: Where The Winding Swilly Flows will be launched next Tuesday October 28th at 7.30pm in An Grianan Theatre. Attendance is free of charge. The launch will be marked by a production of the 30 minute long historical play ‘Echoes Of Time’ – also written by Kieran. Following the play, there’ll be a wine and cheese reception in the theatre foyer where copies of the book will be available. The book will subsequently be on sale in Clarke’s Newsagents, Easons, Mac’s Mace and Universal books, as well as other outlets throughout the town. It also available for overseas purchase by emailing

Damn The Circus

Trapeze and theatrics are at the core of one of the most interesting and entertaining acts we’ve booked lately at The Balor.

Damn The Circus is a threadbare Cirque de Soleil with loads of heart and ingenious acrobatic performance courtesy of Ireland’s international award winning outfit Tumble Circus. Ursula Burns, the most dangerous harpist in the world, supplies the live soundtrack. Kenneth Fall and Tina Machina deliver an exhilarating and death defying circus.

It’s bowled over crowds and critics alike, winning plaudits wherever it’s played. In a 5 star review, Metro Herald says ‘If you don’t leave loving this show you might not have a heart.” I can guarantee you that you will never have seen a show like this before.

Damn The Circus is at The Balor on Saturday November 1st at 8pm. Tickets are €15 with a family of 4 tickets available for a bargain €40. Ring 0749131840 or log on to to book.


Puddle Alley Theatre Group from Strabane bring their new comedy Bookworms to The Balor next Wednesday. The cat is set among the pigeons at the local book club when the up to now exclusively female club take the decision to allow husbands to attend.

The resulting clashes expose hidden lives, deceptions and indiscretions, and old skeletons begin to emerge from long unopened closets. Book Club is a sharp and hilarious examination of contemporary Ireland as mirrored in the popular phenomenon of The Book Club. In this play, the juiciest scandals aren’t necessarily found between the covers of the books.

You can see Bookworms at The Balor next Wednesday October 29th at 8.30pm. Admission is €15 with tickets available from The Balor Box Office on 0749131840 or online at


There’s Hallowe’en fun for the family at An Grianan, Letterkenny next Wednesday with Jackula.

Jackula is Dracula’s younger brother and he’s fed up of languishing in his older brothers shadow.

Now, technically, vampires aren’t supposed to cast shadows, but it’s a metaphor, go with it.

Anyway, realising that the biting neck thing is already covered, Jackula decides that he’s going to make a name for himself as the world’s most magical vampire. So, laugh as he makes his pet ghost dance, gasp as he balances five glasses of water on his face, and smile as children help him perform fun magic tricks.

For the really cool part of this show is that afterward each child (and maybe a couple of the adults, if you insist) is invited to stay, perform a trick and receive a treat. It could be a long show!

There’s also a nice little moral behind the show about being true to yourself and forging your own identity and not just blindly conforming to whatever happens to be currently cool.

Jackula is at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny on Wednesday next October 29th at 3pm. Tickets are €7 available from An Grianan on 0749120777 or online at