GROUP HISTORY

 

Amateur Drama is not a recent happening in the life of the Glenamaddy Community. It can be traced back to the turn of the century when groups got together from different villages i.e. Ardeevin, Boyounagh and Ballyhard to stage these productions in order to fund local organizations. In the 1950's there was a strong local group under the direction of the local C.C. Fr.Conway. They staged plays "The Whip Hand", "Professor Tim", "The Boxeen" and the "New Gosson" and displayed the acting talents of the late Dan Collins, Plunkett Marren and also featured many others who still survive today and are working in community organizations. 

 

The group went through a series of changes in the 60's after the foundation of the Drama Festival - a notable change under the direction of the famous Fr.Colm Kilcoyne came when he produced "The Field" by John.B.Keane in 1972. Hence the group being named "Playgroup 72" a name it held until 1980 when it was changed to "Glenamaddy Players". A new awareness in theatrical techniques became evident when the group started competing in the Festival circuit and the bug had bitten deeplyFr Kilcoyne was transferred from Glenamaddy in 1974 and was succeeded by Gertie Timothy as producer for a number of years to follow among her productions were "The Change in Mame Fadden" "Many Young Men of Twenty". In 1976 the group took on a new challenge under Gertie to perform an Irish Amateur Premier production of the thriller "Who saw Him Die" by Tudor Gates and "Daughter from over the Water" by M.J.Molloy in 1980.

 

In 1984 Bridie Jennings took over as producer and the group had many fine award winning productions to their credit including"Autumn Fire", "The Field", "Big Maggie", "Michaelmas Eve" and very memorable productions of "Translations" and "The Righteous are Bold". Big Maggie became the first production by Glenamaddy Players to reach the All-Ireland Confined finals. The Righteous are Bold became  the first production staged in the refurbished Town Hall Theatre when opened in 1991.In 1994, Gerry King took over as producer for "The King of Friday's Men" by M.J.Molloy followed on by the mammoth task of producing and staging "The Son of Man" by Dennis Potter in 1995. This was then followed by one of the most successful productions "The Playboy of the Western World"  directed by John Donlon which reached the All-Ireland Confined Finals in Siamsa Tire in 1996. The production finished second with only a point between the Players and the eventual winners "Rough Justice". As a result of their achievements the Players were invited to Writer's Week in Listowel to perform "The Playboy".

 

In 1997 the group staged "The Sorcerer's Tale" again directed by John Donlon. This farce written by James Scotland fared well again on the Festival Circuit and finished fourth in the All-Ireland confined finals in Claremorris with many people believing on the night that it should have indeed won the All-Ireland. The Sorcerer's Tale brought many awards to the group during the festival circuit with awards for acting, set, lighting, special effects and stage management. Pictured right is one of the scene's where Brother Barnabus (Peter Keaveney) casts a spell to summon the Philosopher's Stone watched by the wimpish Brother Donatus (Martin Gilligan). Needless to say he managed to summon just about everything but the Philosopher's Stone which led to an intriguing finale.In 1998 the group peformed "The Power of Darkness" by John McGahern which was again directed by John Donlon. The play again fared well on the Festival Circuit with numerous individual awards however the group managed to receive five 2nd place awards which was not sufficient to qualify for the All-Ireland Confined Finals. This was followed in 1999 with the Players production of "The Field" by John.B.Keane which again didnt manage to qualify for the All-Ireland confined finals. In 2000 the group again embarked on staging a farce "The Communication Cord" by Brian Friel. Again on the festival circuit there were many individual awards. The group had successes in Claregalway (where it won the Premier Award) and Tubbercurry which qualified them for the All-Ireland finals in Ballyduff, Co.Waterford where they finished in a creditable fifth place.

 

2001 was the year that Drama and indeed many organizations succumbed to the threat of "Foot & Mouth" disease which meantthat numerous Festivals throughout the country were postponed to ensure that the disease was kept under control. The Players had worked throughout the winter on Patricia Burke Brogan's play "Eclipsed" however due to the Festival cancellations it meant that the group only participated in one Festival where they came second. However the group were fortunate enough to be able to stage the play in "An Taidbhearc" in Galway for 3 nights which was a major success.It was decided that the group would re-enter the Festival circuit with "Eclipsed" in 2002 and prior to any of the Festivals the players staged the play in the "Backstage Theatre" in Longford and the recently opened Arts Centre in Roscommon. On the Festival circuit the play won the confined section in Glenamaddy, Ballinamore and Claregalway. Indeed it took the overall Premier Award in Ballinamore. Again numerous awards were won at the various festivals for acting, set, lighting etc. "Eclipsed" qualified for the All-Ireland Confined finals in Tubbercurry where even though it didn't win it was widely appreciated by the audience who were lucky enough to see it.

 

In 2004 the group re-entered the festival Circuit with the highly acclaimed "Dancing at Lughnasa" produced by Tony Worrall. Despite the fact that the group could only secure 3 festivals they did a great job winning one festival and finishing 2nd in another. However this was not to qualify them for the All-Ireland Finals that year. However a two night run in the Town Hall Theatre in Galway was an excellent way to finish the year.In 2005 Tony again produced the Noel Coward Classic "Blithe Spirit" which technically proved to be a challenge but again the players were up to the task. In a play where the paranormal interferes with the normal chaos descended at times with gramophones suddenly playing by themselves, door bursting open on their own, light fittingsflickering on and off and vases and book shelves disintegrating before our eyes. Despite the best efforts of all again the group would not qualify for the All-Ireland Finals however it has to be said that this was an enjoyable show to perform.2006 saw the group perform the premiere of "The House of Rest" written by John Donlon and this was followed in 2007 with "The Importance of Being Earnest". In 2009 the group performed Joseph Tomelty's "All Souls Night".

 

In 2010 the group presented "Moonshine" and appeared in festivals in Shercock, Claregalway, Tubbercurry, Ballyduff, Ballyshannon to name a few. Despite picking up some acting awards they failed to qualify for the All-Ireland Confined Finals.In 2011 Glenamaddy Players again took to the circuit with Brian Friels "Dancing at Lughnasa". Again a successful year in regards to individual awards however with only 1 Circuit win and four 3rd place finishes the search for the All-Ireland place was elusive once more. In 2012 with some new faces on the circuit for the first time the Group took the female version of “The Odd Couple” by Neil Simon. Again the acting and presentation awards were won and a great show was once again unlucky not to make it to the All-Ireland Finals.

2013 saw the start of a history making run where the group qualified for the All-Ireland Finals for 3 years in a row. First up was "Moment" which qualified for the All-Ireland after a number of wins in varous festivals. Again with a very good cast and stage crew numerous awards were won.

2014 saw the group perform Agnes of God - again the group won numerous awards and festivals and competed in the All-Ireland Finals.

2015 see the group qualify for the finals in Kilmuckridge and on 16th April they will perform "Stolen Child" in the finals - we would like to wish the group the very best and as they say "Break a Leg"

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