The highly anticipated Roscommon Drama Festival, which runs until Saturday, March 12th, was officially opened by the Chairperson of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland, Coman Keaveny at Roscommon Arts Centre on Friday night last.
Addressing a full house, the Chairperson of Roscommon Drama Festival Committee, Mary Finn, welcomed everyone back after a long two years of Covid-19.
“It is great to be back and to be able to bring you some of the best amateur drama from across our island,” she said.
This was a general feeling reflected by the audience, who warmly applauded reference to “getting back to normality”. Mary thanked those who “continued to support the festival over the years and who help make it one of the premier events in the amateur drama calendar”.
She noted that great credit was due to the groups that are bringing their production to the stage: “Some of the best amateur groups on the island will showcase their stage-craft and vie for the all important awards on the final night”.
Those sentiments were echoed by Canon Eugene McLoughlin (President of the Committee). Despite some misgivings early in the year that the festival might not be able to proceed, he was delighted that it was going ahead, noting that it provided an outlet for entertainment and getting away from the stresses and strains of the last two years.
Mary Finn introduced the adjudicator, Geoff O’Keeffe. Geoff is a theatre director, actor, drama adjudicator and a member of the Association of Drama Adjudicators. He has worked as an actor for stage, film, TV and radio. He has adjudicated at the One Act All-Ireland in 2013 in Roscommon, the All-Ireland Confined Finals in 2014 and the RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival, Athlone in 2017.
Special guest for the night was Mr Coman Keaveny. In her introduction, Mary noted that “as a director, Coman has had many a successful night here with Glenamaddy Players. Coman’s involvement in drama began at a very young age, which was fostered from his late mother Margaret Keaveny. The appetite for drama further developed over the years when he became a very active member within the Glenamaddy Drama movement”.
In his address, Coman Keaveny praised the dedication, commitment and loyalty that the Roscommon Festival Committee had shown to amateur drama over the past number of years, describing it “as exemplary”. Special praise was given to the nine groups, “who have all worked so hard to get each show to the stage in the most challenging times. Without groups, you don’t have a festival”.
He praised the dedicated and interested audiences, saying, “It is your commitment and kindness that makes all the hard work so worthwhile and rewarding”.
The audience was treated to a very good production of the iconic ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ by Dale Wasserman. This was presented by the Mullingar Theatre Lab, who have been on the circuit since 2014. The group have raised over €35,000 for various charities and clubs in its short history.
The play has been described as “funny, touching and exciting”, with the Mullingar Theatre Lab doing it justice under all three headings. It was really enjoyed by all, with the adjudicator paying tribute to the quality of acting and skill of production.
There was a great buzz in the Arts Centre, with everyone excited be be back. What an opening night, with plenty more to come!
With shows booking up very fast, you are advised to contact Roscommon Arts Centre on 090-6625824 for more. Online booking is available at roscommonartscentre.ie.