John McCullagh April 27, 2004

Warrenpoint Confined [All-Ireland] Finals is just over.  It had a worthy winner in Silken Thomas Players’ ‘Bent’.  Runners-up were Stolen Child, also excellent.  Third was Tyrone’s Backburners Players with ‘Thy Will Be Done’.   I cannot understand Michael Twomey placing ‘HRT’ fourth as tonight’s play, and this production was the weakest of the nine entries.  Still we had 1st, 2nd and 3rd in common so he wasn’t that far away from my own view.

The Festival was a triumph for all concerned and I personally salute each and every one involved in its organisation and delivery.  A veritable feast of drama.  I’m tempted to travel as far as Athlone for the All-Ireland Open Finals, which has already begun.  Newpoint are on next Saturday night. 

Tonight’s Ulster Finals saw Newpoint’s ‘Portia Coughlan’ come second.  But here’s the rub!  It won Best Producer [Sean Treanor], Best Actress [Patricia McCoy] and Best Moment of Theatre.  I don’t ever remember a ‘Best Producer’ that didn’t also win Best Production.  I’m not sure there isn’t an inbuilt contradiction in this situation.  And Newpoint had already beaten Clarence [Belfast: Translations] twice on the circuit.

If they go on to win the All-Ireland next week, this will become evident.  My best wishes and congratulations to my friends Sean and Patricia and all the rest of the worthy Newpoint cast.

All the groups were effusive in their praise of their reception in Warrenpoint and Newry & Mourne.  I hope some will consider a holiday among us.  They will be made just as welcome as tourists as they were as entertainers.

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