Arts Column, November 10th 2016

Conor Malone


Conor Malone


Arts Column, November 10th 2016

Damien Dempsey

This Week's Highlights

The Letterkenny One Act Festival opens tonight (Thursday November 10th) at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny and runs for three nights finishing on Saturday. Also tonight, Divided By History United By Music at The Millennium Forum features a cast over 100 and local musicians.

The Millennium hosts The Whistlin’ Donkeys on Friday 11th while Friends In Low Places – The Garth Brooks Story is in The Alley in Strabane and Jude Johnstone, Linley Hamilton and Dave Keary play The Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny.

Errol Walsh and Ted Ponsonby launch their new album Just Sayin’ at The Balor in Ballybofey on Saturday 12th. Also on Saturday, Damien Dempsey is at The Playhouse in Derry and comedian Jimmy Carr is at The Millennium Forum.

Balor Youth Theatre present their end of term showcase on the morning of Sunday November 13th at 11am.

Wednesday is opening night for When The Bogside Spinster Met The Carndonagh Stud at The Millennium Forum. That enjoys a four night run finishing on Saturday 19th. Also opening next Wednesday is Holy Cross College Strabane’s School Musical Les Misérables which is in The Alley, Strabane from Wednesday 16th  to Saturday 19th.  


Just Sayin’ Album Launch

Two of the island's finest musicians launch their debut collaboration at The Balor Theatre this Saturday.  Award winning NI singer/songwriter Errol Walsh is joined by Donegal virtuoso Ted Ponsonby to celebrate the launch of ‘Just Sayin’’, an eclectic roots album that’s among the very best you’ll hear this year.

Errol Walsh has enjoyed a storied career playing throughout Europe, Canada, America and Australia. He’s garnered many awards along the way including BCMA Album of The Year with his band ‘Coyotes’ and the Spirit Of Antrim Award for Waltzin’ In The Water.

Latterly his band Tender Mercies featured the legendary BJ Cole on pedal steel alongside John Bentley from Squeeze and top session players Bob Loveday and Luce Langridge.

Ted Ponsonby needs no introduction to Donegal audiences. A songwriter, producer and engineer, he’s also an acclaimed instrumentalist with acoustic and electric guitars, dobro and Hammond organ in his repertoire. A noted session musician, he’s worked with Freddie White, The Henry Girls and Arty McGlynn, amongst others, as well as a short stint with Van Morrison. While he’s appeared as a guest musician on countless recordings, this new album is, to the best of my knowledge, the first he’s done in his own name as a title artist.

It’s well worth the wait. ‘Just Sayin’’ is a fluid and captivating collection of evocative and often introspective songs. Errol explores many of the genres that have influenced him during his career with Ted’s inimitable skills on dobro and guitar the perfect foil for Errol’s lived-in voice and careworn tales of life, luck and love.

Errol Walsh and Ted Ponsonby launch their new album ‘Just Sayin’’ at The Balor Theatre, Ballybofey this Saturday November 12th at 8pm. Support act are Letterkenny duo High Heeled Converse. Tickets are €10 available from The Balor Box Office on 0749131840 or online at

Damien Dempsey

Another gig I’m very much looking forward to here at The Balor is Damien Dempsey, who brings his No Force On Earth tour to The Balor on Saturday week, November 19th. No Force On Earth is Damien's latest album, a mix of original tunes and cover versions of songs inspired by the 1916 Rising. At the gig, expect a selection of tracks from the new album along with plenty of old favourites such as Apple Of My Eye, It’s All Good and my personal favourite, Colony.

This is the 6th or 7th time I’ve hosted Damien at The Balor and it’s always a musical highlight. Some acts just suit certain venues and Damien and The Balor have always felt a great natural fit. Damien's passion and intensity and the Balor's intimacy complement each other so well.

The Balor gig is one one three that Damien is playing in the North West as part of this tour. He’s at The Playhouse in Derry this Saturday night (November 12th) and at McGrory’s in Culdaff on Friday, 18th. Tickets for The Playhouse are £17 sterling, available f on 048 7126 8027 or Tickets for McGrory’s and The Balor shows are €20 each. Book for McGrory’s on 074 9379104 or and for The Balor on 074 9131840 or


Letterkenny One Act Festival

An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny hosts the Letterkenny One Act Festival over three nights this week (Thursday November 10th to Saturday November 12th). This is the fourth annual Letterkenny One Act Festival and over the three nights An Grianan will host some of the best amateur theatre companies from both North and South of the border.

The one act format involves plays that typically last between 30 and 50 minutes so each night will feature three productions. Tonight (Thursday) sees entries from Rush Dramatic Society, Ballina Dramatic Society and Tadhg An Astna Players from Cork.

Friday night features Bangor Drama Group, No Drama Theatre, Dublin and Glenmaddy Players while Saturday is the turn of Corn Mill Theatre Group, Leitrim, Lucan Drama Group and Gunpowder Productions from Cork.

Curtain is at 7.30pm on Thursday and Friday. Proceedings get underway at the slightly earlier time of 7pm on Saturday to allow for adjudication and presentation of awards.

Tickets for the festival are €8 per night (€6 concession). If you plan on going all three nights, you can save yourself some cash by becoming a Festival Friend. The €15 cost entitles you to a free ticket for each night of the festival. Both memberships and tickets for individual nights can be purchased from the box office in An Grianan on 074 9120777.