Wexford Drama Group sweeping the boards at festivals around the country – ‘We’ve never had a year like it’
Wexford Drama Group have become the first contenders to qualify for the All Ireland Open Drama finals in Athlone after their production of The Father by Florian Zeller won four festivals in Kilmuckridge, Gorey, Tubbercurry and Ballinamore, while also coming a close second in Mountmellick.
The group embarked on the amateur drama competition circuit after presenting the play in Wexford Arts Centre in late February and still have to perform in New Ross, Carnew and Wexford Drama Festivals.
But they have been top of the leader board since this year's national drama circuit started after notching up the necessary three festival wins in quick succession over three days and also winning about 50 individual awards for cast members and for sets and lighting.
Lead actor Andy Doyle has won Best Actor at nearly every location so far while director and Wexford Drama Group chairman Paul Walsh has notched up the Best Director prize at every festival they have competed in.
“We’ve had good years and we’ve been to several All Irelands before but we’ve never had a year like this. We are over the moon at the huge success so far,” said Paul. "It has just taken off. The play has a lot to do with it and the cast, it’s a bit of a magic mix.”
The director said the group took a chance on designing and building a “very artistic set” in the form of a fractured room reflecting the mind of the main character, an elderly dementia patient, and it has paid off with several Best Set awards for designer Alan Kelly.
French writer Zeller wrote the play Le Pere in 2012 about a man living with dementia, on which the 2020 film drama The Father starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman is based.
The result of the Wexford group’s performance at New Ross Drama Festival will be known this Thursday while they have the honour of finishing Carnew Drama Festival on Sunday and presenting the last play in Wexford Drama Festival on Friday, March 31.
The All-Ireland Drama Festival takes place in Athlone from April 27 to May 5 and based on their circuit success, Wexford Drama Group has high hopes of success.
The Wexford group are due to announce some additional performances of the play soon.