Monday 19 February 2018

Photo exhibition of leading lights

'A labour of love'. That's how Joe Corcoran describes his work in putting together a photographic collection of the great performers from the local drama and music scene who graced the town hall stage over the past hundred years.

Joe, a retired principal of O'Fiaich College, began collecting the photos after the death of his beloved wife Mary O'Mallley and has dedicated the project to her.

He got the idea for the project from visiting the Abbey Theatre where life sized portraits of the national theatre's founding figures, including W B Yeats and Maud Gonne McBride, are on display.

'I thought it would be fitting to have something similar in Dundalk and got in touch with the arts office,' he explains.

He was given the go ahead with the proviso that those featured in the collection must be deceased and have contributed to the town's arts scene for at least twenty years.

Joe spent two years putting the collection together, getting photographs of some of the best known figures who had graced the stage of the Town Hall or worked behind the scenes during the 20th century.

'All the families were very helpful and I've got some wonderful photos,' says Joe.

Among those featured in the exhibition are Kitty McDermot, Belle Johnston, Minnie McKitterick, Artie and Willie Curran, T V Parkes, Michael Van Dessel, Paul Vincent Carroll, John Flood, Tom Farrelly, Yule Dugdale, Eve Belton, Tomas MacAnna, Bernie Baldwin, and Joe's own father, Joe who was an award winning singer and performer in light opera and drama.

Newly appointed Arts Centre Director Paul Hayes explains that 'each portrait reveals a series of stories that include the names of other performers, colourful moments from local history but above all they laud the energy and drive of all those involved.'

Paul continued "I look forward to the opportunity to meet the heart of Dundalk's arts community."

The collection will be launched at 7pm on Friday July 25th.

The Argus

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