The countdown to the 55th annual Wexford Drama Festival, which starts this Thursday, began in earnest last week as a large crowd of drama lovers gathered at the Riverbank House Hotel to officially launch the event.
Cllr Jim Moore, who was the guest of honour, spoke of the importance of the arts and the positive effects it had in the community, both on those involved in the craft and those who enjoyed it from their seat in the audience. He wished the committee, led by Rachel Murphy in her first year in the role, the very best of luck for the weeks ahead.
Special thanks were paid to the festival's main sponsor, the Riverbank House Hotel and manager Tommy Doyle congratulated all those involved in the festival, commending the work done by all of the groups in the run-up to the festival.
The Riverbank, he said, was delighted to sponsor the event and he pledged their support for the future, something the committee was glad to hear!
Chairperson Rachel Murphy thanked all those who had attended the event and particularly paid tribute to the eight performing groups, without whom, she said, they would have no festival. She expressed her gratitude to the audiences of Wexford who, she said, supported the festival year after year and were very loyal.
Entertainment on the night was provided by the Castlebridge Community Singers who stretched their vocal chords in song.
Excerpts were performed by members of Bridge Drama and Wexford Drama Group.
All plays will be performed in the Dun Mhuire Theatre. The festival runs from March 1 to 9, with the awards ceremony taking place after the performance on March 9.
Patron's tickets are €60 and are available in advance from www.wexfordartscentre.ie. Nightly tickets are €12/10 and will be available in advance or on the door on the night.
The line-up for the festival is as follows:
March 1: Bunclody/Kilmyshal Drama Group performing 'Rumours' by Neil Simon (Open)
March 2: Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group performing 'Bold Girls' by Rona Munro (Confined)
March 3: Conna Drama Group performing 'Caught in the Net' by Ray Cooney (Confined)
March 5: Wexford Drama Group performing 'Proof' by David Auburn (Open)
March 6: Bridge Drama Group performing 'Cash on Delivery' by Michael Cooney (Open)
March 7: Ballyduff Drama performing 'Albertine in Five Times' by Michael Trembley (Open)
March 8: Coolgreaney Drama Group performing 'Death and the Maiden' by Ariel Dorfman (Confined)
March 9: Ballycogley Players performing 'The Night Alive' by Conor McPherson (Confined)