John McCullagh March 7, 2006

I am delighted to report that Newpoint have ALREADY scored at least one FIRST (at time of uploading!) for Murder in the Cathedral, AND Lawrie Hodgett won best actor and Sean Treanor, Best Producer, at the Newtownstewart Festival.


They are also entered in Dublin so that they might score enough points to qualify for Athlone (All-Ireland Amateur Finals) as well as Belfast (Ulster Finals). Well on track!

I outlined half of the Newry Amateur Drama Festival before. Here is the other half!

After Newry’s Newpoint (on the Town Hall stage on Tuesday 28th March) we have another local group, Dundalk Theatre Workshop the following evening with Michael Healey’s The Drawer Boy. This play is set in the kitchen of a farmhouse in Canada in Summer 1972. An actor comes to live with two farmers to acquire some knowledge of farming for a new play he’s starring in. He ends up uncovering a secret that’s been hidden for thirty years.

The ever-popular Hugh Leonard’s Da is performed on Thursday evening by Lurgan’s Phoenix Players. I suspect my friend and former colleague Brendan Magee will have a starring role! ‘After Da’s funeral, Charlie returns to his childhood home only to find his father’s ghost stubbornly unwilling to leave the house. This is a beguiling play about the darkly comic, bitter-sweet relationship between father and son.

The notes-writer uses similar language to describe Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van, which is staged on Friday evening by the ever-popular Bart from Belfast.   ‘For fifteen years the lethally dotty and smelly old bat Mary Shephard parked her vehicle in Mr Bennett’s garden. This is a touching, comic and thought-provoking play.

Our Festival closes on Saturday 1 April with Blood Brothers by Willie Russell. Because of the extended adjudication, this play begins a half-hour earlier than usual at 7.30 pm. A perennial favourite, it is performed by the Lurig Drama Group. The play tells the story of twin brothers and what happens when their mother decides to have one of them adopted. Most of you have seen it before but it’s well worth a second visit!

Have a good Festival!

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