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Last weeks 62nd Newry Drama Festival has been declared, by all and sundry, from Audience to Adjudicator, a resounding success.

Boeing Boeing took first place at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Boeing Boeing took first place at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

It provided those in attendance with ten nights of the very best of  Amateur Theatre. Six of the Plays were Comedy - so it could be described as a “Festival of Fun”. 

The Festival exceeded all expectations, with great plays and performances, which attracted the largest nightly audiences seen in recent years – and created experiences which will live long in the memories of the many theatre-goers.

The climax came on the Final Night, when adjudicator Michael O’Hara declared “Prosperous Dramatic Society” from Co Kildare the winners with their presentation of the French farce “Boeing Boeing” by Marc Camoletti. Dundalk Theatre Workshop came second with their production of “The Winslow Boy” by Terrence Rattigan and third place went to “The Steward of Christendom” by Sabastian Barry, presented by Moat Club, Naas, Co Kildare. In fourth place came Letterkenny Music and Drama Club with “Chronicles of Long Kesh” by Martin Lynch. 

The Winslow Boy took second place at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
The Winslow Boy took second place at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Many of the Groups travelled long distances to play in Newry Town Hall and to them Newry theatre-goers are deeply indebted. 

The adjudicator, Michael O’Hara, expressed delight at the extremely high standard of performances given by the Actors. 

He also remarked on the excellent manner in which the Festival was organised and congratulated Gerry McNulty and his team for this.

The Steward of Christendom took third place at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
The Steward of Christendom took third place at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Sponsorship has been growing year-on- year and this year the Festival attracted  some new Sponsors. The main Sponsor of the Festival, the Quays Shopping and Leisure Centre, was singled out for special praise, having been the major supporter of the event for nine years.

 Ann Kissane, Operations Manager with the Quays, congratulated the Festival Committee and said that the Quays was delighted to be the Principal Sponsor for Newry Drama Festival 2014.  

Nightly Sponsors, Middle Page Sponsors and Season Ticket Holders also got a big “Thank you”. 

Chronicles of Long Kesh took fourth place at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Chronicles of Long Kesh took fourth place at Newry Drama Festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

A novel and warmly-welcomed innovation in this year’s Festival was the distribution of ice-cream to “everyone-in-the-Audience”, courtesy of Tesco Extra Newry.

Council Mayor, Michael Ruane, expressed his sincere thanks to the Committee and all concerned for organising such a prestigious event and he brought the final curtain down on the 2014 Newry Drama Festival.

All in all, this was a terrific year for Newry Drama Festival and the planning now begins for Festival 2015. 

 

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