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AMATEUR DRAMA TAKES CENTRE STAGE AS RT ALL IRELAND DRAMA FESTIVAL LAUNCHES IN THE ABBEY THEATRE

25/04/2024

Amateur drama took centre stage as the All Ireland Drama Festival was officially launched in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin this afternoon. The launch was attended by Festival Director, Regina Bushell, RT Director-General, Kevin Bakhurst, Chairperson of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland and currently chair of the Arts Council NI, Mr. Liam Hannaway and representatives of the nine amateur drama groups who will battle it out in the Dean Crowe Theatre, Athlone from Thursday May 2nd to Friday 10th May.

Three plays never-before performed will feature in the finals of the 2024 RT All Ireland Drama Festival, including a new Irish play, Margaret'. The festival is also set to feature performances by two first-time qualifiers (see list of finalists below).

Commenting at the launch, Festival Director Regina Bushell said: I can't help but marvel at the calibre of the groups that have made it to the hallowed ground of the Dean Crowe Theatre. They have all done so well to make it this far, but the real spectacle has yet to come, in Athlone, at the RT All Ireland Drama Festival. This will be the ultimate test, where the cream of the crop will take to the stage and battle it out before the discerning eyes of our esteemed adjudicator, Tom Byrne.

She continued: And then of course, there is that other grand prize - the Abbey Award. To perform on the hallowed stage of the Peacock Theatre, a dream come true for the victorious group. The directors of the Abbey, Mark O'Brien and Caitr ona McLaughlin, have once again lent their support to this celebration of amateur drama. As RTE marks its 20th year as title sponsor of our festival in Athlone, the partnership forged by the visionary, Bride Rosney, has continued to thrive, with coverage on the airwaves and social media platforms. Bride saw what drama had to offer our communities. Bride's legacy will be honoured with a special award in her name in the 2024 festival, a testament to her unwavering dedication in supporting communities and the arts.

RTE Director-General, Kevin Bakhurst said: I am delighted to be here to represent RT for the launch of this wonderful celebration of amateur drama across Ireland. Amateur drama in Ireland deserves a national festival and the All-Ireland Drama Festival is unique in the way it brings together community groups from all over the country. As I have said in the programme, if our national games create passion on the field, the RT All Ireland Drama Festival generates as much passion on the boards.

This is the 20th anniversary of the partnership between RT and the RT All Ireland Drama Festival. and over this time, RT 's commitment to communities has strengthened, we have continued to recognise the vital role this festival plays in keeping our local communities alive. We are proud to work with the RT All Ireland Drama Festival to foster creativity and acting talent through drama, and to bring the excitement and tension of this exceptional festival to audiences all over Ireland, through the partnership with RT lyric fm, through RT .ie and our social channels, and through RT Radio 1. I'd like to congratulate the organising committee and wish all participants the very best of luck in this this year's festival.

The 2024 All Ireland Drama Festival finalists are:

- Bridge Drama will perform The Wake' by Tom Murphy on Thursday May 2nd, 2024.

- Wexford Drama Group will perform How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel on Friday May 3rd

- Ballyduff Drama Group, directed by Ger Canning, will present The Ferryman' by Jez Butterworth on Saturday May 4th.

- Prosperous Dramatic Society will perform A View from the Bridge' by Arthur Miller on Sunday May 5th.

- First-time qualifiers Clontarf Players will premiere Radium Girls' by D.W. Gregory on Monday May 6th.

- Dalkey Players will present The Crucible' by Arthur Miller on Tuesday 7th May

- Newpoint Players present In the Shadow of the Glen: Reimagined' (after JM Synge) on Wednesday May 8th.

- First-time qualifiers Ballycogley Players, directed by Pat Whelan, will perform Out of Order' by Ray Cooney on Thursday May 9th.

- Ballyshannon Drama Society will premiere Margaret', a new Irish play by Shaun Byrne, on Friday May 10th.

Tickets are now on sale on the Dean Crowe website at http://www.deancrowetheatre.com/ and at the theatre box office, phone (090) 6492129. Admission 22. Concessions ( 20) are available.

The RT All Ireland Drama Festival is held under the auspices of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland.
LINK: https://about.rte.ie/2024/04/25/amateur-drama-takes-centre-stage-as-rt...
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