Una Boylan joined Armagh Theatre Group soon after its foundation in 1966 and quickly became an essential part of the group right up to 2018. Her last performance on stage in 2016 was in 'Two's' and she was scheduled to take part in a comedy this Autumn, to be held in her beloved Abbey Lane Theatre.
Given her dynamic personality she held positions on committee from: Vice-Chair, Chair and President and while acting and producing plays, she raised the necessary funds to keep us afloat through decades of raffles.
Her enthusiasm was infectious and she never stopped recruiting to the ranks at every opportunity. Dozens of young and not so young actors got their 'break' on stage due to her cajoling and encouragement.
Amagh Theatre Group will forever be indebted to her drive, enthusiasm and good humour in her efforts to bring live drama to the people of Armagh. During the time when violence and disturbances were daily occurrences she, along with others in Armagh Theatre Group provided a vital cross-community group for drama, resulting in the vibrant Drama and Arts community that continues to blossom in Armagh City today.
David Braziel, guest poet and slam champion delights the audience at Abbey Lane Open Mic Night in February. With one of his first poems David told us of his childhood clumsiness and his Mother's fight with doctors to investigate this. She succeeded and David had to wear calipers for hip problems for awhile. Cured? not quite as David informs me next day his clumsiness returned when he tripped in his livingroom and dislocated his knee Ouch!. He's now plastered to the thigh..Life mirrors Art again. Hoping you recover quickly David, best wishes from all in Armagh Theatre Group.
The rest of the night we had a Butterfly, Spike Milligan tribute and Limerick Laughs competition along with a host of new and old contributors. The butterfly# braved the Baltic winds to wake up under the heat of spotlights and sparked at least 2 poems on its appearance (see OMN page).
First up Margurita singing 'In my father's house; Peter Carragher's yarns and storytelling;
Andrew McMurdie# guitar/song 'Stand by me': Thomas Healy on Harp; Tim Hanna drinking Harp, & a poem; Mark Brownlee# original poetry:Theresa&Carmel sisters# singing 'Sailing by' and poem;Joe McCool poem 'Thanks'.
Peter Carragher regales us. Tim Hanna wins Limerick Laughs clapometer.
Daniel Corrigan, guitar and original song; Jacqueline McMurdie#, guitar and singing 'The Rose';
Felim Rafferty, original poem;Thomas Healy poem in Gaelic; David Braziel returned with a couple more poems; John Goodwin# sings 'Harris Mare';
Joe McGinley#, original poem; Peter Carragher jokes and Pat Prunty sang '4.3d' to finish another great OMNIGHT!
Thank you to all who partook, who came to be entertained and who helped with lights, door, bar, tea's and coffees! on such a cold night.. take a bow! (The # = new faces)
Next month's OMNight will be 30th March. Keep watching for guests and Limericks theme
Having packed the Studio Theatre at the Market Place Armagh for their three night run the cast and crew of 'Gaslight' take a deserved break. As with all our productions we lean on the generosity and kindness of many to let us indulge in our chosen madness so apart from the members of ATG we would like to thank. The ARMAGH CLUB, Armagh: Thomas Daly Furniture and Antiques,Battleford Rd Armagh: ABC COUNCIL: the staff and management of Market Place Theatre and of course, you our faithful supporters. Just a few shots of the stage going up and coming down.
With guests having torturous journeys in their efforts to get to 'Abbey Lane' yesterday, due to Ryan Air and Northway disruptions, it was a surprise we ended up with a show at all. But as my Mother use to say "these things are sent to try us" and we rose to that challenge with some aplomb. A debt of gratitude is owed to Brian and Eithne Vallely from the Piper's Club who, even Michael O'Leary's intransigence, could not deflect their efforts to attend from London. Yet where one overcomes hundreds of miles of travel our other guest, Colin Hassard, frustratingly was thwarted in his attempt to travel from Banbridge via Port -e- down! The lesson there is travel by Scarvair via Tandragee!Colin. Better luck next time. Last night's contributors included Thomas Healy's first collection of poetry 'True Loss', Joan Clendinning proving she STILL is firing on all cylinders as she recited a Longfellow's poem unaided and Michael Callaghan with the aid of his 'walker' coming to the stage and singing so beautifully 'Where my Ellen is waiting for me' . New writings and stories from Dymphna, Tim, Ann and Malachi. Another first by Elma McEneaney with her Ukulele and her Mother, Ann, solo singing and dueting with her. Margarite Kelly singing 'Sonny' and Pat Prunty with her redition of Teddy O'Neill'. Finally the big prize in the Limerick Laughs competition was won by Bridie Heaney and thanks to Linda from L.A. IMAGE in Thomas Street ARMAGH for the generous Gift token. Bridie said, in an exclusive interview, she"will use it to help beautify herself for her new roll" in the Bardic production coming soon. We await with bated breath!.
Invited by our friend and Artistic Director of Sunflowerfest, Colin Hassard, to perform at this years' festival ATG members travelled in high spirits to Hillsborough Co Down. Arriving at the site in a downpour of biblical proportions an impromptu meeting was held in Kelly's car to decide '' shall we stay or shall we go''
And in the true spirit of ATG decided to 'carry on regardless' dawning wellies , coats and hats. Given priority parking due to Dymphna's 'blue badge' we arrived behind the main stage feeling like real rock&rollers . The thunder clouds had moved on towards Belfast but you wouldn't have thought it as the bands speakers sent vibrations through you with deafening levels. We dined in salubrious surroundings.
Performed to enthusiastic revellers heavily intoxicated by the festival atmosphere (which some of us gave in to)
Then returned to normal Sunday evening life in Armagh with another item marked of the 'Bucket List'. Roll on 2018!
This month's OMN in Abbey Lane has firmly established itself as the John Hewitt Fringe event in only its second year. With the continued support of local talent and the injection of visiting artists attending the 'Hewitt' we were spoilt with wonderful original writing, music, poetry, songs and stories throughout the evening. From the wonderful Mother and Son duo of Joan and Mark Clendenning to the youthful Eva Powell who won our Limerick Laughs competition and ran off with the first prize of an Embers Restaurant meal voucher. Many thanks to John, proprietor, for the donation. The night got of to a great start when Pat and Aidan Prunty along with Joe McCool on whistle played a traditional sailing set. Other contributors were Dymphna Ferran (original poetry)Crystal Campbell ( Ukulele and original song) Thomas Healy( original poetry)Malachi ('Armagh and what about your Da') Peter ( songs and guitar)Paul Carson (prose European cities)Jimmy Rafferty (Bard of Armagh)Caren Blayney (original poetry) Eric Greaves and Pat Prunty (trad mandolin/bodhran music), Finbar Magee (performance poetry and Bard)Thomas Eillott (Belfast story original) Raquel McKee (original rap about Jamaican spuds) #see video. Yvonne Boyle (original poetry) Stephen Buggy (original short story in heraldry prose)and Ingrid Casey (original poetry. Peter wrapped up the full night with a couple of singalong songs that had the rafters rocking. HOW MUCH WOULD A NIGHT LIKE THIS BE? £5 inc wine and nibbles!!!!!
NB; Next Open Mic will not be till September 29th. So keep the pen to paper and remember everyone has a story to tell. Thanks again to all who came, it's you make the night memorable.
The rapper SFJ previously known Rafferty.
The real Rapper Raquel McKee (One potato two potato)
Yvonne Boyle ( poet)
Eric Greaves and Pat Prunty
Thomas Eillott (poet and storyteller)
Full house again at Abbey Lane.
The young talent on show last Friday night at the OMN brilliantly entertained the audience with their 'take' on Beauty and the Beast. Spotlight Dance and Drama school have developed these young actors/dancers in their stage art to a very high standard and we in Abbey Lane certainly seen the future stars of acting and dance in Armagh. The future looks bright. Well done to Joanne Mullen and her cast for putting on a great show at very short notice. Congratulations and thanks to all involved.
Our rather more mature contributors took to the stage and this month we were regaled by Dymphna (original poetry), Peter (the steam trap),Tim (Limerick Laughs), Joe (Trad Scottish song) ,Roisin (poem) Kevin Groogan (Guitar & songs),Liz (song)Malachi (original poetry and stories)Mark (song) Liz &Kevin duo, Peter &Pat duo.
Malachi had a short history on Francis Ledwidge poet ( centenary anniv) Limerick Laughs won hands down by Dymphna, see OMN section for winning contribution.
next date 29th July will be in association with John Hewitt Summer School..... start time moved to 9PM for this month. Big crowd expected so getherearly!
. Open Mic Night will take a break in August but will be back in September
After a recent first showing of Armagh Theatre of Group's DVD of 'Our Town ' in a packed and enthusiastic Abbey Lane we can announce that copies of the DVD can be purchased from MUSIC WORLD in Abbey Lane. Featuring speeches from Seamus Mallon (MP) who was the groups' Producer when it was first staged in the 60's and from the recently deposed ArmaghBanbridgeCraigavon Mayor Garath Keating, with a moving acknowledgement to Fiona Hughes (RIP).
DVD's cost £3 each or 2 for£5. Those who pre- ordered can get copies of the limited stock!!!!! from John in Music World, Abbey Lane, Armagh.
OUR TOWN Cast and Choir (Oh the memories!)
In the clammy heat of an early Armagh summer, with temperatures in their mid 20's the open doors of Abbey Lane Theatre allowed the sweet sound of famous Scottish airs to float into the City's skies as Kirsty McMullen gave a wonderful rendition of famous tunes from across the Irish Sea. Robbie Burns songs like' My luve is like a Red Red Rose', 'Auld lang Syne' along with 'Scotland the Brave' had the audience foot tapping and singing along. To Charles Neville (Ulster Scots Community Network Development Officer) who gave us an insight into the Network's achievements and aims and Kirsty (Enagh Rural Development Association Markethill) a big thank you. We also had our Limerick Laughs competition which was won, on countback, by Dymphna who was delighted with her first prize. These great efforts will be on our Open Mic Night section of the website. Next months subject will be 'Politicians ' and I'm sure we have some lovely things to say about that lot! Remember you too could win some brilliant prizes on the night. To all who came along and those who took part on the night a BIG THANK YOU.They are, Bridie (original poem), Paddy ( song/guitar) : Limerick Laughs competition featuring Bridie, Aisling, Felim Jnr, Dymphna x2, Malachi, John and William. We continued our night with Ann's (Cuban poem)Thomas (song/guitar), Dymphna ( ,Gammy Knee' org poem), Malachi (story), Felim( poem) Joan (song) Paddy, Thomas, Malachi and finished with Claudia singing Cathy's Song. Great night once again, next OMG JUNE 30TH.
Wonderful pictures from ' Slices of Life' production with thanks to Mary McKenna .
Helena Rafferty and Dessie Crilly.
EmilyJane Conway and Kevin McEneaneny
Marcella and Connell McBride