Monthly Archives: February 2024

52nd Drama Festival to start with “The Empty Nest”


The 52nd Festival opens with a new play by Oisin Flores Sweeney, directed by Geoff Gould and starring Seamus O’Rourke and Joan Sheehy.

On a winter’s night in Westport Tony (Seamus O’Rourke) and Sheila (Joan Sheehy) sit in their wingback chairs sipping wine as the television flickers. After 40 years of marriage they find themselves at a somewhat mundane crossroads in their lives. With their children grown and gone, and their granddaughter a little too often underfoot, they’re left in a hinterland of life, pondering what to do next. The glow from the television offers little comfort or entertainment but between them both Tony and Sheila have plenty to say, even if they don’t always say the things that really matter. Sheila dreams of travel and adventure, or even just a new lawnmower, but Tony’s penny pinching puts a damper on anything with a price tag. Instead, he wants to focus on his new diet; the one that will infamously “start on Monday”. The spark in their love life may have been extinguished over time, but their quick witted interactions are electrifying. And who’s to say that this isn’t the just the beginning of something better for them both.

Edward Hayden to open 2024 festival


Edward Hayden is a chef and food writer and is very well-known to audiences from his weekly TV cookery appearances on Virgin Media’s Ireland AM. He also presents a weekly radio show, ‘The Saturday Show with Edward Hayden’, every Saturday morning on KCLR96fm.

Edward works as a lecturer at South East Technological University, where he is course leader of the Higher Certificate in Culinary Arts Programme. He also is the chef and proprietor of The Edward Hayden School of Cookery’ in his native Graignamanagh, which boasts a large selection of recreational cookery classes for both the novice and experience home cook.

Edward has published three cookery books ‘Edward Entertains’, ‘Food to Love’ with O’Brien Press (which was awarded the prestigious Kerry Food Book of the Year) and ‘Food for Friends’ with O’Brien Press. As well as this Edward is Chairperson of the Drama League of Ireland, the group which aims to support, nurture, and enhance the aspirations and activities in the amateur theatre sector, through education, training, advocacy, and advisory services and has been doing so for over 60 years. At local level Edward is a very active member of the New Ross Drama Workshop, a group which has actively competed on the one act festival circuit over the last decade. In his native Graignamanagh Edward is heavily involved with the Duiske Players Drama Group. Also, he has over the years performed with Watergate Productions, New Ross Musical Society, Gowran Little Theatre, Gowran Pantomime Society, Kats Theatre Company & Kilcumney Players.