John McCullagh April 2, 2006

Newry Journal is delighted to commend Newpoint Players on their great victory last night in the Amateur Drama Festival in their home town. The celebrations continued well into the wee small hours – and after, in a local hostelry that will remain nameless!

 


We are especially delighted for Sean Treanor, who despite his great talent and erudition remains the most approachable of persons! He will share with any one who’s interested, the minutiae of problems faced by a producer, and hands all the credit to his large team of players and helpers. Sean won, appropriately enough, the Sean Hollywood Memorial Cup for Best Producer of the Festival. Sean Hollywood also, of course, believed in the involvement of as many as possible in every production. 

Besides this and of course, the Premier Award, The Canavan Cup, for Best Play, Newpoint scooped awards for Best Costumes and Best Music and Sound. The latter went – most deservedly – to Mary McManus for that magnificent sound that filled the Cathedral on Tuesday evening. The Cup she carried around so proudly in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre afterwards is the Gerard Murphy Cup. Gerard, you will know, is Newry’s star of stage and screen (Waterworld, among many) and a cousin and contemporary of the Great Hollywood.  Indeed he was our adjudicator here a few years ago and returns often to his home town. Indeed I spoke to him on Hill Street just a few weeks ago. By the way, the Costumes award is the Newry Musical and Orchestral Society Jubilee Cup – all of which begins to smack of some self-indulgence! Ah well, never mind!

I spoke with some of our honoured guests from the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland and the general impression was that there was little to beat Newpoint on the whole circuit this year. We will follow their fortunes eagerly in Belfast and Athlone. The good news for those who, like ourselves, could not find a seat in the Cathedral on Tuesday and thus missed much of the dialogue and spectacle, is that the society will put on at least one extra performance in the Town Hall for the deserving people of Newry.

You will want to learn the other results too! Ballymena’s Humble Boy was Runners Up, and their leading man Stuart Wray was Best Actor.  Theirs was also the Best Technical Production.  I spoke at length with the lovely Gail Morrow – who played the part of his mother. The team was especially delighted for Stuart who, true to the old maxim, ‘the show must go on’, filled every engagement despite the recent death of his father. This fact was not known by the adjudicator – or anyone else outside of the company, so there was no sympathy vote: he won on merit.

Dundalk – my tip to win (when I was pessimistic enough to fear Newpoint’s penalisation for playing a different venue!) – came just Third. As consolation they also won the Best Stage Manager Award and the Best D

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