The Claremorris Fringe Festival of Drama was established in 2013 and has become a major world event in just two years. It is a competition for new 15- minute plays.
The 2013 event was won by Castlebar man Ken Armstrong with his play The Doubles Partner. The 2014 winner was Bob Canning from California USA. Here, for you delectation and delight is a representative sample of the plays that featured in the 2014 event:
Separate Table by Michael Joe Ginnelly, performed by Fabulous Brown Feathers
What Would Tippi Hedren Do (Hypothetically Speaking, Of Course)? by Bob Canning, performed by The Fig Leaf Ensemble
Dance Night by Ken Armstrong, performed by The Doubles Partnership
The Handshake by Olly Kendall, performed by Half A Breakfast Theatre Company
To You The Son I Never Had by Phil Pearson, performed by The Covie Players
Poisoned by Anne Donnelly, performed by Kilmeena Drama Group
The words ‘short and sweet’ were never more appropriate!
What Would Tippi Hedren Do (Hypothetically Speaking, Of Course)? Bob Canning – Petaluma, California, USA
Best Script – RUNNER UP
Breakdown Assistance Tom Critch – Manchester, UK
Best Actor (Male)
Paul Dunning in ‘To You The Son I Never Had’ written by Phil Pearson.
Best Actor (Female)
Kate Hughes in ‘Let Me Share’ by Alan Balkema.
Paula Dempsey – ‘Let Me Share’ by Alan Balkema.
Adjudicators’ Special Awards
Alan Biesty for his entrance as the mugger in What Would Tippi Hedren Do (Hypothetically Speaking, Of Course)? written by Bob Cannon. Ann Groden for her fall into a coffin in Anne Walsh Donnelly’s ‘Poisoned’ directed by Helen Joyce.
Rain Special Effects in ‘Separate Table’ by Michael Joe Ginnelly, directed by Rosaleen Heraty. Paul Dunning for his throwing of a baby over a bridge in Phil Pearson’s ‘To You The Son I Never Had,’ directed by Paul Dunning and Alanna Ní Mhíocháin. Michael Goulding for his stand-in performance as Eddie in ‘Something About Her’ by Mary Bradford which he also directed.
The Audience Trophy for the most enjoyable play went to ‘Poisoned’ by Anne Donnelly, presented by Kilmeena Drama Group, directed by Helen Joyce.
Claremorris Drama Festival Committee were delighted to have the opening of the 2014 All-Ireland Confined Finals in Claremorris performed by Seamus Mallon.
Seamus Frederick Mallon (born 17 August 1936) was the first Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2001. He was also the Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party from 1979 to 2001. Seamus was educated at the Abbey Christian Brothers Grammar School in Newry and St. Patrick’s Grammar School, Armagh.
As a career he chose teaching, becoming headmaster of St. James’s Primary School in Markethill. Seamus was also involved in drama and a member of Newpoint Players Newry. Later in his illustrious career, Mr. Seamus Mallon was one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, and helped instigate the road map to the peace settlement, we have today.
Seamus was also involved in the Gaelic Athletic Association, playing Gaelic football for County Armagh.
Newpoint Players [Newry and Warrenpoint] were formed in 1946 shortly after the war. For most of the years since, the drama group has produced at least one full-length play a year, frequently several other productions and has boasted a strong team of actors, producers and back-stage players.
Seamus produced many plays for Newpoint Players including “The Borstal Boy” by Brendan Behan and many musicals including “West Side Story” and “Oklahoma”. He also produced plays for The Armagh Theatre Group including “The Hostage”.
In the early sixties Seamus Mallon directed Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town”, a production still remembered fondly by some members and patrons. It won everything, including the society’s second All-Ireland title in Athlone.
There is an interesting article on the itsyourline.com website about our adjudicator for the 2014 All-Ireland confined finals. In it Geoff discusses his involvement in the amateur drama movement as an actor, then director and now as an adjudicator.
The Fringe will be held from April 4th to 11th – with two plays each night – that’s a total of sixteen plays. The venue is The Dalton Inn Hotel in the centre of the town, adjacent to the Town Hall. The plays will be fifteen minutes duration (plus or minus two minutes) and will be independently judged. There will be a first prize of €500 for the writer of the best play with the runner-up getting €250.
Entries must be made on the official form. Two properly formatted copies of the script must accompany the application. The entry fee for submitting your script for consideration is €10 (There is no admission charge to see the plays during the Fringe.) The closing date for the receipt of entries is Jan 17th. The play can not have been previously performed or published.
Sixteen contemporary plays will be selected from the scripts and these will be performed at The Fringe. Local drama groups will perform the plays and there will be prizes for Best Actor – Male and Female (Two Awards), Best Production, and five other Awards at the judges discretion for various bits and pieces or performances which they feel merit special award.
In matters of dispute the decision of Claremorris Drama Festival Committee will be final and binding.