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Bunclody Drama Group win big at RTE All Ireland Drama finals

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Members of Bunclody-Kilmyshall Drama Group pictured after their performance in Athlone on May 7.

Members of Bunclody-Kilmyshall Drama Group pictured after their performance in Athlone on May 7.

Director Kieran Tyrell and Chris Atkinson with their award for Best Stage Setting

Director Kieran Tyrell and Chris Atkinson with their award for Best Stage Setting

Director Kieran Tyrell, with Actors Mairead Connaughton and Pádraig D’Arcy

Director Kieran Tyrell, with Actors Mairead Connaughton and Pádraig D’Arcy

Kieran Tyrell, Grace Dunbar, Chris Atkinson, Kevin McEvoy and John Donohue.

Kieran Tyrell, Grace Dunbar, Chris Atkinson, Kevin McEvoy and John Donohue.

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Members of Bunclody-Kilmyshall Drama Group pictured after their performance in Athlone on May 7.

enniscorthyguardian

Local amateur-drama group Bunclody-Kilmyshall gave the town something to celebrate when they placed second over the weekend in the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Finals in Athlone with their award-winning production of The Good Father by Christian O’Reilly.

Their production of the touching love-story won over Adjudicator Michael Poynor on the night of their performance, drawing high praise for director Kieran Tyrell, actors Mairead Connaughton and Pádraig D’Arcy and for the staging and lighting crew.

The local team came away with three awards from the ceremony on Saturday night, hosted by RTÉ’s Nuala Carey in the Radisson Hotel Athlone.

Kieran Tyrell and Chris Atkinson won the award for Best Stage Setting and Kevin McEvoy, Grace Dunbar and John Donohue won the award for Best Lighting.

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The group was nominated in every single category including Best Director and there was a nail-biting finish to the night when the coveted top three placings were announced in reverse order. In the end the group placed second, the highest they have ever placed in the six times they have qualified for the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Finals, with only a single point between them and the winners Ballyduff Drama Group. The group now have another selection of trophies to add to the already impressive array on display in Redmond’s shop window in Bunclody.

Group Chairman Rory Kinsella said: “We were proud of our show going into the finals and hoped for a good result on the night- but you never know until the night. I am over the moon with this result, the best we have achieved yet on the stage in Athlone.” Rory thanked local audiences and businesses for their generous support of the group. The group also came away with another trophy at the end of the night- the award for best entertainment in the Festival Club, a testament to the range of talent and good humour that the group brings with them when they travel with their shows.

It was an exciting lead up to the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Finals with a formal launch in the Abbey Theatre which was covered by RTÉ Radio One’s show Arena; a visit from the recording crew of RTÉ’s Nationwide for a programme that went out the week of the finals; and daily updates on Michael Poynor’s adjudication on Lyric FM.

Director Kieran Tyrell spoke of how hard the group worked during those final few weeks, honing performances and fine-tuning stage management and lighting, not wanting to leave a single mark to chance. He said “the commitment shown by the whole team has been outstanding and I want to acknowledge their hard work and sacrifice especially the last few weeks as we threw everything at this show.”

2022 has been a highpoint for amateur drama in Wexford after an enforced haitus of two years. Camross and Kilmuckridge Drama Groups both qualified for the Confined All Ireland Finals in Ballyshannon, with Kilmuckridge bringing home the coveted first place award. Neighbours Bunclody-Kilmyshall and Kilrush Drama Groups both qualified for the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Finals in Athlone.

Kirush received a number of nominations at the festival including Best Director for Pat Whelan; Best Actor for Michael Dunbar; Best Actress for Catherine Stafford and Best Lighting for Kevin McEvoy.


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