Roscommon Drama Festival to showcase ‘very best of amateur drama in Ireland’

Members of the Roscommon Drama Festival committee pictured with Cllr John Keogh, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, during the recent Roscommon Drama Festival launch in Aras An Chontae. Back row, l-r: Deirdre Kelly, Bernie Maher, Tom Costello, Jimmy Hoban, Cllr John Keogh, Cllr Kathleen Shanagher, Frank Nally, Joe Nally, Lisa Joy (Tourism Officer, Roscommon County Council), and Mary Finn. (Front row l-r) Mary Cox, Marie McCrann, Mairead Nally (Chairperson, Roscommon Drama Festival), Canon Eugene McLoughlin, Bridie Fitzmaurice and Caroline Egan. Pic: Michelle Hughes Walsh

“All the world’s a stage”.

With these words, Cllr John Keogh, the Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, officially launched the 2024 Roscommon Drama Festival in Aras an Chontae.

A large crowd was in attendance for the launch of the annual festival, which will be staged in Roscommon Arts Centre from this Friday, 1st of March through to Saturday, 9th of March.

Nine great nights of entertainment are guaranteed. The festival will be officially opened by Mr Shane Tiernan, CEO of Roscommon County Council. Meanwhile, Mr Padraic McIntyre has been confirmed as festival adjudicator.

Addressing guests at the recent launch, Mairead Nally, Chairperson of the Roscommon Drama Festival committee, welcomed Cllr John Keogh, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, Arts Officer Rhona McGrath, local county councillors, members of the press, and of course children, parents and teachers who were present on the night for the presentation of prizes in the popular annual story writing competition.

Ms Nally said: “We are confident that from the 1st to the 9th of March, Roscommon Drama Festival will showcase the very best of amateur drama in Ireland.

“The festival has gone from strength to strength over the years and now boasts of the very highest standard of drama in both the open and confined sections. Be prepared to laugh, be prepared to cry, but most importantly be prepared to enjoy a wonderful nine nights of top class entertainment”.

The chairperson described the Arts Centre as a “credit to Roscommon County Council and a superb facility”. She extended a special word of thanks to Stephen and the team in the Arts Centre.

Mairead then gave an outline of the programme for the nine nights (see alongside).

The festival was launched by Cllr John Keogh, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, who said the he was both honoured and delighted to be present for this important occasion. He acknowledged Roscommon County Council Arts Officer, Ms Rhona McGrath, whom he said has been busy promoting all aspects of the arts in the county.

Cllr Keogh welcomed the children present and also their parents and teachers, commenting that the school pupils were the chief participants in the night’s proceedings.

As to the festival itself, Cllr Keogh noted that it is now “to the forefront in promoting amateur drama” and established as one of the leading Drama Festivals in the country.

The story writing competition, he added, is a very welcome feature of the festival and those who organise it and take part in it are to be highly commended.

Borrowing a line from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Cllr Keogh noted that “all the world’s a stage”. He went on to commend all at the Arts Centre for their dedication in promoting the very best that Ireland has to offer in every form of artistic endeavour.

Cllr Keogh added: “I hope that this excellent festival provides us with the tonic (needed)… that they have great crowds, wonderful drama and groups who are ready to ’break a leg’. Let the drama begin”.