What makes Newry Drama Festival unique is the high proportion of competing teams from across the border. This greatly enriches our experience as an audience and guarantees fierce competition for qualifying points.
Naturally Newpoint must include Newry in its very limited number of venues on the circuit. The resulting difficulty for our home team is that it stands a strong chance of failure to qualify, either for Belfast or Athlone, sometimes even with a very strong team and performance. Such may be our problem this year.
Last night’s performance by Fermoy was hailed – by most of the audience and more crucially by Tony Rushforth – as outstanding. Indeed our excellent adjudicator appeared lost for critical issues to raise. Unlike me, he considered of minor importance the failure by Sister Aloysius (Noelle Clarke) to vary her vocal delivery sufficiently: he also had some minor rebuke to deliver about a similar problem occasioned by Sister James (Claire Mullane). For the rest, it was nothing but fulsome praise for this excellent visiting team, which has already received nothing but critical acclaim on the circuit.
Tonight it’s again a highly-acclaimed production, one that has won universal praise, Duleek Drama Players presenting ‘Bernadette’ (Soubirous of Lourdes) before they take this play to Lourdes itself later in the year.
There are more than twenty actors performing on stage tonight and I am eagerly looking forward to this production.