Letterkenny Music and Drama Group blew the competition away to win almost every category possible at the 63rd Ballyshannon Drama Festival which concluded on Sunday evening.
Among eight awards they picked up all the majors, best producer, Pluincéad Ó Fearraigh, best actor and best actress (Kieran Kelly and Elaine Gillespie).
With two previous wins at other festivals, Letterkenny have now booked their place in the RTÉ All ireland Open finals to be held this year from April 30th to May 8th at the iconic Dean Crowe Theatre in Athlone.
Producer/Director, Pluincéad Ó Fearraigh told the Donegal Democrat he was “particularly pleased to win in Ballyshannon”. The Gaoth Dobhair native added: “We know all about the rich tradition of drama here in Ballyshannon and we marvel at the history of the festival, so to come here to a festival like Ballyshannon which has such a reputation for high quality drama, makes the win very special”.
One of the first people to congratulate Pluincéad after the ceremony, was his brother Fr Cathal Ó Fearraigh who is PP of Kilbarron Parish in Ballyshannon,
Afterwards adjudicator John Carty from Sligo said he had been “hugely entertained” by all the groups and added that he felt the standard of production and acting in both confined and open sections was “remarkably high”.
Interestingly, it can only be assumed the audience was in agreement with the adjudicator on his final results, Letterkenny winning the Audience Award, no mean feat in Ballyshannon where 150 season ticket holders, who ‘know their onions’ rarely give anything away softly.
Festival Director, John Travers, said he was “thrilled” with the nine nights and very happy to report that the numbers of people attending each night was up on previous years with an average of 240 people attending per night while certain nights saw the Abbey Centre with the ‘House Full’ signs at the ready.
Betty McIntyre, chairman of Ballyshannon Drama Society thanked the groups for their endeavour, the audiences for their attendance and the business community and individuals for their financial support. She acknowledged in particular the chief sponsors of prizes for the event, Celtic Weave.
First: ‘The 39 Steps’, Letterkenny
Second: ‘The Dead School’, Corn Mill
Third: ‘The Glass Menagerie’, Butt Drama Circle
Best Producer: Pluincead O’Fearraigh, Letterkenny
Best Actress: Elaine Gillespie, ‘The 39 Steps’, Letterkenny
Best Actor: Kieran Kelly, ‘The 39 Steps’, Letterkenny
First: ‘Play On’, Phoenix Players, Tubbercurry
Second: ‘Stolen Child’, Glenamaddy Players
Third: ‘Tea in a China Cup’, Newtownstewart
Best Producer: Coman Keaveny, Glenamaddy
Best Actor: Eamonn Gallagher, ‘Play On’, Phoenix Players
Best Actress: Tina Ward, Glenamaddy Players
Blue Riband (Open & Confined): ‘The 39 Steps’, Letterkenny
Outstanding Achievement by a Young Person Award (Open & Confined): Orlaith Gilchrist, Butt Drama
Adjudicator’s Award: Butt Drama Circle for Moment of Theatre – the candle scene in ‘The Glass Menagerie’
Adjudicator’s Award: Sound Plot in ‘The 39 Steps’
Adjudicator’s Award: Paul Bonner and Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde as Man 1 and Man 2, ‘The 39 Steps’
Best Lighting: Butt Drama Circle, ‘The Glass Menagerie’
Best Stage Manager: ‘The 39 Steps’, Letterkenny
Best Set: ‘The Dead School’, Corn Mill
The Audience Award: ‘The 39 Steps’, Letterkenny