Arts Column with Conor Malone

Arts Column with Conor Malone
This Week’s Highlights

This Week’s Highlights

Strabane Drama Festival opened last night with The Butt Drama Circle’s Parlour Song by renowned English playwright Jez Butterworth. It was the first of nine nights of top class amateur drama with the final night adjudication and prize giving etc taking place on Friday, March 28th.

Prison drama Over The Wire has two nights remaining of its run at The Playhouse in Derry. That finishes on Saturday 22nd. Popular Irish entertainer Margo celebrates 50 years in the business with her show Pure Gold at The Millennium Forum Derry tonight.

On Saturday feted US singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey plays The Balor, Ballybofey and Kieran Goss is at An Grianan, Letterkenny. There’s also comedy at The Millennium with the Give My Head Peace posse.

Talent contest The Audition has its grand finale at An Grianan on Sunday 23rd with a first prize of €3,000 cash and an audio visual package from Full Tilt Studios Letterkenny worth an additional €2,000 up for grabs. And the week finishes off in fine style with unmissable Cajun six piece The Revelers at The Balor, Ballybofey.

Cajun Kings

I’m very excited about the visit of six piece Cajun tour de force The Revelers who are coming to The Balor, Ballybofey next Tuesday, March 25th. Another act from the always impressive Brookfield Knights promotional stable, The Revelers are a Cajun supergroup formed when founding members of two of the mightiest forces in American roots music - The Red Stick Ramblers and The Pine Leaf Boys - came together.

It’s Louisiana bred party music perked up by an injection of contemporary pop and rockabilly as the fabulous six-piece recall an era when music was played for no other reason than it was coursing through the veins and had to come out. When the band released the debut album, it won them widespread acclaim and invitations to appear at major festivals across the globe.

The Revelers are the second of two top international US music acts at The Balor this week. Peter Mulvey (Saturday March 22nd) is one of the most respected US singer songwriters of the last 20 years with 15 albums to his name. His sound combines Tom Waits with Duke Ellington, Willie Nelson with Thelonius Monk, addressing each tune with a true artist’s touch. Twenty-odd years on the road has generated a vast, varied catalogue combined with a deep well of classic and obscure covers Peter is consistently the most original and dynamic of the US singer-songwriters to tour these shores.

Peter Mulvey plays The Balor this coming Saturday March 22nd at 8.30pm. Support on the night is from popular and talented Inishowen artist Kate O Callaghan and admission is €12.50. The Revelers are at The Balor the following Tuesday March 25th at 8.30pm. Tickets for this one are €15. Tickets for both gigs are available from The Balor on 074 913 1840 or online at

Strabane Drama Festival

The amateur drama festival carousel continues to turn apace. With Ballyshannon finishing last weekend, Strabane Drama Festival opened in The Alley Theatre last night with The Butt Drama Circle from Ballybofey and their production of Jez Butterworth’s Parlour Song.

That’s followed tonight by Rasper Players with a stage adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Bradan Players present Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf on Saturday. Sunday sees Patricia Burke Brogan’s Eclipsed performed by Compantas Lir and the Pomeroy Players present Portia Coughlan by Marina Carr on Monday 24th.

On Tuesday 25th, it’s the turn of Ballyshannon Drama society with The Gingerbread Lady by Neil Simon. Wednesday 26th is a change to the advertised schedule with Stagefright Theatre company performing Nightmare by Norman Robbins. This takes the place of Kildare Theatre Group’s Gabriels Flight.

The last two nights feature Letterkenny Music & Drama Group with Martin Lynch’s Chronicles Of Long Kesh on Thursday 27th before Wexford Drama group bring the festival to a close with Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz.

Strabane Drama Festival continues to Friday March 28th. Admission is from £8 a night or you can buy a season ticket covering all nine nights for £40 (£30 concession). Ring The Alley, Strabane on 048 7138 4444 or book online at

Back Where It All Began

Last August Conal Gallen had what we jokingly referred to as the ‘World Premiere’ of his comedy play a Bit On the Side. After years of doing solo stand up this was a new departure for Conal. It’s been a roaring success.

Conal and the gang return to where it all began with three shows at The Balor next week. Wednesday March 26th is already sold out with the shows on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th well on their way to selling out. Tickets are €25 and are available from The Balor,