The cast from Oscar Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Earnest' a production by Ballyshannon Drama Society in the Abbey Arts Centre
A Donegal drama society will make history in 2020 when they become the first society in Donegal to host the All-Ireland Confined Drama Finals.
To celebrate their coup, Ballyshannon Drama Society, on the cusp of competing in this year’s All-Ireland drama finals in Athlone, will celebrate the securing of next year’s finals and their bid for glory in Athlone later next week with a gala night in the newly refurbished Abbey Arts Centre in the town on Monday night, May 6.
The night will include a special welcome for attendees with a wine and finger food reception, followed by what will be the final local production of the society’s All-Ireland-bound play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’.
In what has been a hectic period of activity, Ballyshannon Drama Society have been busy ‘on and off the field’ so to speak, with their actors doing the town and county proud as they amassed sufficient points to gain a place in the Open finals, while behind the scenes huge work has been done by society members to secure next year’s confined finals.
John Travers, director of the hugely successful Ballyshannon Drama Festival, said the society was enjoying one of its best ever periods with multiple productions over the past few years entertaining people locally while productions that have gone into competition have won multiple awards for actors, production, lighting, set and more.
“We’re having a good run of it for the past few years and we are very lucky to have such a wonderful facility at the Abbey Arts Centre as our ‘home pitch’,” he said.
The Abbey Centre has recently enjoyed a major refurbishment with investment in new lighting, seating, air conditioning, sound systems and more. The exterior of the building now boasts an eye-catching series of murals capturing the essence and history of the centre.
Speaking about next year’s finals, Mr Travers said the society was thrilled to have been successful in their big to secure them: “To get the finals to Ballyshannon next year from April 17 to 25 is a huge coup for us and is good news for the wider community, it will boost bed nights, restuarant takings, and people who support us year in, year out, will get a chance to see some of the finest drama this country has to offer.”
The festival will involve nine nights of drama featuring the nine best groups that qualified from 24 preliminary festivals all over Ireland.
“This is the first time the finals have been to a Donegal venue and having hosted the All-Ireland One Act finals in 1996 and 2014, we have the know-how and experience to ensure this works well for the groups, the audiences and the community,” Mr Travers stated.
He added: “There will be something for all the community and the Drama Society will welcome the support of local business and community organisations.”
Gala night for ALL-Ireland Drama Finalists
Ballyshannon Drama Society is once again through to the RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Finals on May 8 with Oscar Wilde's play “The Importance of being Earnest”.
This will be the group's fourth time qualifying for this prestigious Festival, starting with Neil Simon's ‘Gingerbread Lady' 2014, Yasmina Riga's 'God of Carnage' 2015, and Harold Pinter's play 'Old Times' in 2016.
The group also came second in the All-Ireland One Act Finals with Shelagh Stephenson's play ‘Five Kinds Of Silence’ 2017 .
The Amateur Drama Circuit Competition has two sections, Confined and Open.
In 2011 Ballyshannon drama society won the All-Ireland Confined Drama Finals in Wexford with Robert Harding’s play ‘Steel Mongolia's. This automatically qualified the group to compete in the open section.
The group competed in eight festivals around the country. They were placed in all eight festivals, winning three festivals earned them maximum points to qualify for the finals in Athlone on May 8.
During the festival run the production team with cast and crew picked up 39 awards across the board in Directing, Acting, Costume, Set/Decor, Lighting, Sound and Stage Management.
You will get an opportunity to see this wonderful comedy in all its splendor at a gala performance of the production of 'The importance of Being Earnest’ in the Abbey Arts Centre this Monday, May 6, the performance will also coincide with the launch of the 2020 All-Ireland Confined Drama Finals.
A wine and finger food reception at 7.45pm to mark these events and curtain goes up at 8.30pm. Tickets available at 071-98-51375.
Please come along to celebrate and support this wonderful achievement before they give their final performance in Athlone on May 8 .