Glengarriff Theatre Group Nestled beneath the Caha mountains and to the west of Glengarriff village stands the old village Church which served the community until 1904. At that time, a new community Church was built within sight of the original building. Today the old church serves the community in another way; it is now the community hall. You can be sure to find numerous group meetings and events hosted there week after week.
The village hall had one great offering fundamental for any theatre group, “a stage”. With a facility like this within the community and a number of thespians living locally, the time was ripe for the formation of the theatre group. The group was formed in 2001 and to this day the original members are still heavily involved, which is a testament to their dedication and love for the arts.
We always put on a Christmas show during December, sometimes a traditional pantomime and sometimes a play, but always with lots of song and dance, involving as many of the local children as we possibly can. There are usually a couple of performances in Glengarriff, and a Charity performance either in Glengarriff or Bantry.
The Spring Play is an adult play usually consisting of six to eight members. The group has built up a reputation for great drama and these productions always draw a large crowd. Play selection and rehearsals for the spring play typically begin once the Christmas play is finished. The group finalizes the selection usually in January or early February and rehearsals commence. The performances are held around Easter each year. there is also usually a performance in aid of local charities.
In more recent years we have held additional performances of the adult drama. For several years, this was to coincide with the Maureen O’Hara golfing classic which attracts golfers from far and wide and is hosted in Glengarriff Golf Club. In 2009, for the first time we ventured further afield and put on a single performance of that year's adult play, 'Don't Dress for Dinner', at the new Carnegie Centre theatre in Kenmare. This went down very well, and as a result, we gave two performances of each of our adult plays for 2010 to 2012 in this lovely and well-equipped little theatre, and hope to continue this in future years.
The lead-up to any performance is hectic, with much coordination and effort required to bring the show together. There is a lot of work carried out behind the scenes, including public relations, set design & construction, lighting and audio, prop selection, costume design, stage management, stage continuity, makeup and much more. It takes a great deal of effort to put on a show, but once the night arrives and the hall fills this is paid back with interest. There is nothing like the laughter of the audience to bring the show to life and energize the actors.
Above all else, the theatre group is about the community. Over the years we’ve watched the children within the community build confidence and character. This is a very social event for the children; they learn how to perform together. Their self awareness, public speaking skills and creativity improve along with their self-esteem, but most of all they are having fun and building friendships.
Year after year the children take on new roles and parts in the shows to a point where they have no fear whatsoever about walking out on stage in front of a full house and giving the performance of their lives. It is our hope that providing these experiences to children will allow them to develop into confident young adults prepared for the ``stage of life``.
As a result, a significant recent development is the formation of a Youth Drama group. Perhaps the early stage experience of local children in the Christmas productions has given many of them a taste for the stage, but for whatever reason, we now have an enthusiastic and increasingly ambitious group of young actors (and helpers), who have been staging regular productions since 2011.
Besides the annual productions, the group gets together from time to time during the dark months for play readings. These can occur anywhere from the village hall to the local bar to a member’s house but they are always enjoyable. Mostly we select plays to read that are potential runners for the new group play but we also read through non-runners for the experience
It all began at the end of the year 2000. ‘Blow-In’ Maggie Frame, who has a background of theatre and tv, spotted the then empty and unloved Parochial Hall (the original parish church), with its stage and other facilities, and had an idea… She got in touch with other local residents, and on 7th December a meeting was held to discuss possibilities, attended by 17 interested people. They discussed lighting, props, a piano, and how to get these…
It was decided that a ‘Showcase of Local Talent’ should be produced, and auditions were held on the 30th of January the next year. Maggie and the others were pleasantly surprised at the mine of local talent unearthed, and after several weeks of rehearsals the show was held in the Hall on 20th of April, featuring song, dance, comedy and a short play, ‘Big Brother’. The whole affair was a great success.
Buoyed up by the success of this first venture, the Group decided to stage a pantomime for the Christmas season, and a version of ‘The Little Drummer Boy’, written and directed by Maggie, was put on, with 27 children and 20 adults participating. We haven’t stopped since!