The Arts in Donegal - a looks ahead to what's happening in the north west

Well known names on stage at An Grianan

Conor Malone


Conor Malone


Mary McEvoy and Jon Kenny who star in The Matchmaker at  An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny.

This Week’s Highlights
The Playhouse in Derry hosts an EP launch by Michelle Walsh tonight (Thursday).
There’s more music on Friday with Phat Kidz playing An Grianan Theatre in Letterkenny and the trio of Dermot Byrne, Steve Cooney and Trevor Hutchinson playing The Town Hall in Ramelton. Also this Friday is the November instalment of the diverse eclectic cultural mix that is Shindig in Voodoo’s Vintage Rooms in Letterkenny.
The Balor’s Christmas panto Cinderella opens on Saturday 26th and funs for two weeks until Friday December 9th. The Saturday and Sunday shows are 4pm matinees while the weeknight shows are at 8pm.
Also on Saturday aerial dance company Fidget Feet perform Cinder and The Ellas at The Alley in Strabane – there’s two shows, one at 1pm and another at 5pm. Also, comedian Peter Davison is at The Playhouse in Derry.
Later on in the week there’s a dance event of major significance at An Grianan Letterkenny as the Liz Roche company present Bastard Amber.

Town Hall Trad
Ramelton Town Hall plays host to the trad trio of Dermot Byrne, Trevor Hutchinson and Steve Cooney this Friday.
Dermot is recognised as one of Ireland’s finest traditional accordion players, his contribution to Irish music acknowledged by his selection as TG4’s Traditional Musician of The Year in 2013. For many years a member of Altan, he’s also performed, recorded and toured with artists such as Donal Lunny and Stephane Grapelli. He’s also collaborated with Frankie Gavin, Sharon Shannon, and The Stunning along with many other outstanding Irish and international musicians bringing Irish music to audiences worldwide.
Joining Dermot are Australian Steve Cooney on guitar and Tyrone man Trevor Hutchinson on bass. Both Steve and Trevor have impeccable traditional music credentials with extensive touring, recording and performance experience alongside the greats of Irish traditional music.
Opening act on the night will be the McDaids – a family group of very talented young musicians ranging in age from twelve to sixteen playing combinations of fiddle, accordion, concertina, clarinet and banjo. Although based in Tullamore, Co. Offaly the family have strong Ramelton ties – their grandfather was a McDaid of ‘football special’ fame hailing from Ramelton.
This concert is a reprise of a very well received gig by the same trio at The Town Hall last year so a large crowd is expected.
Dermot Byrne, Steve Cooney and Trevor Hutchinson play The Town Hall Ramelton with support from The McDaids tomorrow, Friday November 25th at 8.00pm. Tickets are €15 available on the door on the night.

The Big Match
Name recognition generally translates into ticket sales so I’d expect a big crowd at An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny this Saturday night for City Theatre Dublin’s production of John B Keane’s The Matchmaker. Not only do you have the pulling power of John B – one of our best known and best loved writers – but you also have the attraction of Mary McEvoy and Jon Kenny in the lead roles.
Mary McEvoy is, of course, best known for her role of Biddie in the long running RTE soap Glenroe while Jon Kenny’s partnership with Pat Shortt in Irish comic duo d’Unbelievables has earned him many fans.
The play itself is an adaptation of the John B Keane novella ‘Letters of a County Matchmaker’ and follows the efforts of Dicky Mick Dicky O’Connor to makes matches for the lonely and lovelorn. Together, McEvoy and Kenny play a host of characters in this hilarious and earthy dramatic comedy.
Of course, Keane being Keane, there’s observation and social commentary amongst the humour. Using his sense of ‘divilment’ to explore and ruminate on rural loneliness he delves into the longings, hungers, fears and foibles of lonely country people who often only began to look for companionship and love later in life.
The Matchmaker is at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny this Saturday November 26th at 8pm. Tickets are e20 (e15 concession) available from An Grianan on 0749120777 or online at

Also at An Grianan
There’s variety aplenty at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny this week. In addition to theatre with The Matchmaker as mentioned above there’s also rap with Phat Kidz and dance with the Liz Roche Company’s Bastard Amber.
Letterkenny based rap trio Phat Kidz gained a whole new posse (that’s the correct terminology right? Or am I straying into uncool drunken uncle wedding dance territory here), with the huge success of their collaboration with Donegal institutions Goats Don’t Shave on their summer hit GAA Jersey culminating in a Late Late Show appearance and guest appearances at two Goats Don’t Shave sell out shows at The Balor in September.
The lads cap a memorable year with the launch of their newest Mixtape at An Grianan tomorrow night (Friday November 25th). A family friendly night of live music will see Phat Kidz joined by guest artists including Brodie, Triump Dance Crew, Manny and many more. Tickets are e8 or 5 for e35 available from An Grianan on 0749120777or online at
The Liz Roche Company are one of Ireland’s most respected dance companies. Their show Bastard Amber is a ground-breaking dance production that draws inspiration from two of the great Irish artists of the modern age - WB Yeats and Patrick Scott.
Co-commissioned by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin Dance Festival and Kilkenny Arts Festival the work’s premiere at Dublin Dance Festival in May 2015 was a historic moment for dance in Ireland - the first time ever for an Irish choreographer to be commissioned to create a full-length dance work for the main stage of Ireland’s National Theatre where it was seen by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabine.