Friday 23 February 2018

Children's Variety Show hits big '25'

Some of the younger members of the Children's Variety Show busy rehearsing in Greenhills school.
Some of the younger members of the Children's Variety Show busy rehearsing in Greenhills school.
Some of the younger cast members of the Children's Variety Show busy in rehearsals last week.

Alison Comyn

BACK IN 1989, Pat Donaghy thought Drogheda needed a variety show for children as there just wasn't anything like it at the time.

Twenty-five years later, and she is preparing to celebrate the silver anniversary of the Drogheda Children's Variety Show, and she says the time has flown by!

'I can't believe it's been 25 years, but when I look how far we have come, it must be,' says Pat with her characteristic throaty laugh.

'The first one or two were so small compared to now, and we had to beg, borrow or steal the costumes to put a show to a handful of people, but they were great.'

Those early shows were in the Parochial Centre in Peter Street, since demolished to make way for the Laurence Town Centre.

'Monsignor Lennon was so generous to us – he would come down on his bike to see how rehearsals were going – and he would say, pay me what you can when you can,' she recalls.

'And the local factories like Keeley's and Peter Delaney's would just give us whatever we needed free of charge.'

When the show was up and running a few years, the late Val Fitzpatrick saw the show and asked the children to perform weekly in Mosney during their busy summer months,

'It was like the X Factor to the girls, and they danced there for 10 years,' says Pat, whose daughters Gillian and Shirley danced in the show, and now choreograph and look after front of house with Niamh Gorman.

'Throughout the years we have donated thousands to different charities and this year we will be making a donation to 'A Chance for Alice', as Alice's mum Lyndsey danced with the show for years.'

Also with the show since day one are Gaye Martin and Annette McDonnell.

'I have enjoyed each and every one,' says Gaye, who now writes and produces the drama section.

'Annette would be sewing the costumes seconds before the girls would go on, but they always looked professional.'

This year, the Silver Anniversary Children's Variety Show will be on Tuesday April 15th and Wednesday 16th at 7.30pm in Greenhills school, and the tickets will be the lower price of €7pp.

'We would love to some old faces that were in the shows down the years to come and see it to see how far we've come,' adds Pat's daughter Gillian.

'Tickets are available on the night or ring 086 1910764.'

Drogheda Independent

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