Wednesday 22 May 2019

Entertaining Sligo for forty years

Forty years of pantomime was celebrated in Strandhill last Friday as Coolera Dramatic Society looked backed on its years of laughter and fun.

The celebration at Strandhill Golf Club was attended by a host of organisations who were welcomed by chairman, John Banks.

Amongst the many who attended were representatives from the various local community organisations, including Ransboro Development Association, Coolera Strandhill GAA, Ransboro Parish Council and Hawk's Well Theatre.

Mr Banks recalled how it all began back in 1979, which was designated as the Year of the Child, when a group of Coolera Drama members comprising of Maureen Carroll, Bobby Jones, Brian Devaney, Stephen Devaney, John Banks and Kevin Carroll got together to stage a Christmas Pantomime in Sligo for the first time since the Joe Burns/Tom Palmer Pantos of the 1950's.

The Baymount Entertainment Centre (formally known as the Silver Slipper) was the venue for Coolera Dramatic Society's first panto, 'Robinson Crusoe'.

"It was only appropriate therefore that we would celebrate the 40th ruby anniversary of Coolera Panto back in Strandhill.

"Such was the success of this first pantomime which Coolera Dramatic Society presented that two further panto productions followed in Strandhill in 1980 and 1981.

"Then, in 1982, with the opening of the new Hawk's Well Theatre in Sligo, we changed venue to the new theatre and staged a production of 'Cinderella' in December 1982 and the rest, as they say is history.

"As a form of live entertainment, pantomime has endured more than most and has a very strong tradition here in Sligo.

"Panto is a large scale undertaking, with the script being chosen in early spring, followed by the detailed planning of the production over the summer months, to the rehearsal process during October/November with the production itself just before Christmas.

"We, in Coolera Dramatic Society owe our thanks to the many talented people who have combined to put on the show for the last forty years, which is now a permanent feature of the Sligo entertainment calendar.

"Of course, no Christmas in Sligo is complete without the annual Coolera Pantomime in the Hawk's Well Theatre.

"Coolera Dramatic Society is immensely grateful to all our patrons for their generosity and continued support," said Mr Banks.

Booking for Pantomime 2018, 'Rumpelstiltskin' opens on Monday, October 1st, 2018 at 10 am at the Hawk's Well Theatre, Temple Street.

Sligo Champion