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Kicking off this year's Open Mic at the  end of the John Hewitt Summer School was  'Macfleadh', trio from Tyrone. The Abbey Lane audience enjoyed a taster of their musicianship before the group travelled to Castlewellan on Sat morning picking up an Ulster title in the group section. Comhghairdeas and best wishes to this exciting young group as they head to Drogheda and the All Ireland fleadh next week. Patrick McGrath, Patrick Harvey and Ronan Nugent.

Go toFB Armagh Theatre Groupatg for a video of the boys.

The guests gone we started a bursting Open Mic with the Bard Jimmy Rafferty on Noah and Inspectors. New contributor Theo Sinton singer/songwriter with his poem and Blues numbers; Oul hand Joe Mc Ginley, rarely absent, gave us his Callan River poem;Brilliant David Braziel, Portadown poet gave us several pieces; Kate Mclaughlin accompanied by Peter kelly sang Noreen Bawn/boys from the County Armagh. A packed second half seen loads of new faces. Singer/songwriter Ruth McKee from Co Dublin, Sue Divin 'says himself', Eddie Mac new face great poet; liz Quirke writer/poet from kerry ;local man John mc allister stories; Brian McClean writer; Cathy Carson spoken word performer extradinaire Super heros  and Mother with Dementia; Donna Hunter poet;Niall Mcardle poet; and songs from Peter Kelly , new talent Kerian Quigley singing 'Just a Gigolo'  and ending with 'Hallelujah' sung by photgrapher Connor Greenan with help from everyone!

Thanks to all our helpers before, during and after. With out yous'e this wouldn't happen.



Thanks go out to all our contributors at June's Open Mic Night especially Finbar Magee and Breige Quinn who delighted us with songs and music throughout the night. Along side our regular performers, and some new, kept the night's craic going with stories, music and songs.

After our usual warm up artist Malachi and his showing of Gerry Anderson's 'On the Air' cartoons Tim kicked of the actual Open Mic with a story on his gardening ( which is highly fictious). Thomas now playing Horn,Malachi's story on 'Refreshing the headstone', Des Crilly and the cowboys song...eventually, Bridie Heaney and a poem about Mothers, Joe McCool on whistle, Byddi Lee's story on drink or fish?, Brian and his traditional song of ''being good to your Man''! Kevin McAneany's epic story of his memories of the Picture house in Monaghan . The night finished with Finbar and Breige with a ballad on the Reavey brothers and Kingsmills murders which was very moving and 'God's a Prod' a slant on the times of year we hold our annual holidays and the difference, weather wise. Big thanks to all the help on door, drinks,techy and clean up.

Next one on 26th July is our annual OMN in association with John Hewitt Int Summer School which we eagerly await. Slightly later start of 9PM DOORS OPEN 8.30PM..............................DONT MISS!

Our recent production IMPACT Armagh Train Disaster played to full houses all week with many encouraging compliments from the audience each night.

Postings on social media and comments after each performance confirmed to us that something special was staged last week.

The concerted effort by Armagh Theatre Group and JoJo's Spotlight Dance and Drama Studios over  April and May really bore fruit as prolonged applause and standing ovations followed each show.

From the start of the Writers meetings in early Feb to the reading of our first draft in Abbey Lane on 10th April. Re-writes and start of rehearsals on 2nd May, then our first full dress rehearsal June 11th,  prior to our 'Opening' on the 130th anniversary of the disaster, everyone gave full comittment.

Cathy Carson; ''it was glorious, well done folks. Gripping'' Mary McKenna; ''Brilliant production, well done to all involved'' Jacqueline Donnelly; ''It was fantastic..looking forward to next one'' Charlie Guy; '' of those experiences that will never leave me'' Karen Mooney; ''This deserves to be seen by a bigger audience at a bigger venue''  Byddi Lee (writer) '' One of the best experiences I've had in my life... Malachi and Tim were brilliant....'' Dolores Stinson; ''Impact was absolutely excellent!''  More often we heard 'Informative'; 'Moving'; 'Captivating'; 'Memorable evening's entertainment'; 'Brilliant acting,sound,lighting,dancing and a gripping story'. So below are the Cast, crew, writers and director of Impact, Armagh's Train Disaster (1889) -2019 Thank you for your tremendous support.


Guest writer, Chris Wright and his wife Jo caught the bug that is Abbey Lane Theatre  Open Mic nights when he performed to a packed house last Friday.

Sharing the stage this month we had fantasic contributions from Joe McCool; whistle, Dymphna ; poem, Rosemary Tumilty;extracts from her play,Elma McEneaney; Ukelele'David Braziel; poet,Malachi; Whitehead Railway Museum story' Mark Brownlee; Micro poems,Our Idioms contest and May McCool's idiom act!, Felim Rafferty, poetry,Rosemary Tumilty;Guitar and song,Malachi poem 'Farewell hot water bottle', and Kate McLaughlin; tribute to Doris Day. Projections of our forthcoming play Impact ( Armagh's Train Disaster) by Felim Rafferty and all ably assisted by Monique, Allan and conscripted volunteers to clean up.Chris Wright

Rosemary Tumilty

May McCool.   Our next OMN is June 28th and all poets,singer, musicians writers etc very welcome.


A very positive first reading of Armagh Theatre Group's play 'Impact!' (Armagh's Rail Disaster) was held last night in Abbey Lane.

The feed back from all who attended was greatly appreciated by the co writers Byddi Lee, Tim Hanna and Malachi Kelly. Future readings and casting will be announced shortly. Big thanks for all who called in last night and made it a successful evening. In years to come hundreds will say they were there!



A great 'turn out' for our guest artist Trish Bennett and all our contributors made for another wonderful night in Abbey Lane.

Many thanks to Trish travelling all the way from Co.Fermanagh/Leitrim border to give Armagh a taste of her undoubted talents in the ''oul' poetry and storytelling game''. Other contributors to thank on the night Peter Kelly with his 1st anniversary  tribute to Una Boylan recalling some of the pieces she performed at our 'Poem and Pints nights' of the 70' and 80's. Una is still sorely missed. Tim Hanna presented work 'Zero some game' from Byddi Lee's writing classes as did Malachi with 'Return journey'. Joe Mc Ginley poem 'Do I really need to know!' had the crowd agreeing on its sentiment that social media just gives TOO MUCH information.

Ann Gilmartin's story of the Unhappy King was listened to attentively as was Maria Mc Gilly's take on British politics and B...xit. Andrew McMurdie sang 'Mr Tambourine Man' and was encouraged to sing again with 'You are my Sunshine' too rapturous applause. His new CD will be launched in May.

Dymphna as usual brought the proceeding to new levels with her funny poem '50 shades of Grey'. Mark Brownlee poem 'Dream Man'  a humurous take on the perfect partner and Michael O'Callaghan regaled us with 'She's my girl she's my world'.

The VERY  popular competition 'Family and Local Sayings' was well received dispite organized hacklers demanding the return of 'Limerick Laugh's'  Surprise gifts were presented on the audience's Ayes or Nays...the ayes have it!

Best sayings of the night...Braziel family input ''If you'd open your eyes as wide as your mouth...'' ''if his brains were elastic they would stretch round a sparrows knee cap'' '' it will happen when there's two moons in the sky and one in the dungel'' advice ''if you fall don't wait to get up'' and ''I'm going up the stairs to throw my head down for half an hour''...afternoon nap!  NEXT OPEN MIC 26TH APRIL. See you there! Thanks to all who  helped on the night and Felim for photos.




We all have listened to parents and grandparents describing or explaining things and situations in colourful and humorous ways. Now with the influence of texting and social media these sayings are in danger of disappearing. So we are starting a revival at the OPEN MIC NIGHT's and from Fri a super prize for the best old saying is on offer.

My own Mother often said ''I'm going upstairs to throw my head down for half an hour'' We all knew what she meant (an afternoon nap) but taking it literally paints a whole different picture. Get thinking and raise your hand to tell us your family sayings this Friday 29th 8pm Abbey Lane Theatre.....Guest poet Trish Bennett who I'm sure will have some of her own.

The main attraction of Abbey Lane's Open Mic Night's is not the hospitality or the atmosphere or the ridiculous entrance fee of £5 (and free wine) BUT the sheer eclectic mix that can be experienced on one evening. Last Friday was such an evening, with 2 bands 2 celebrated poets, accordian player, story tellers, birthday celebrations and an Septuagenarian comedienne from Dungannon.

Guest artists 'Dirty Words' fronted by Colin Hassard (poet) were Seonaid Murray (sax) Ashley Manners acoustic  guitar played from their new cd 'age of microwave dinner'. Tim confessed to aged criminalization in his story and Anne recited a beautiful poem. Second half started with the memorable Cathy Carson and her riviting story 'Ready' , Fionnuala with her caring poem,Mickey on accordian and some beautiful slow airs,back for a solo run Colin Hassard with new poems never before heard....brilliant. David Brazil (renowned poet and back for a welcome visit) regaled us with his incise and humorous verse. Next up Armagh Ukelele Jam (who can be heard in Dobbin Centre every Wed evening praticing) had us all singing along. Then we ended the evening with Dymphna and some jookes that cant be repeated here. Great night and great audience. Next Open MIC March 29th.......dont miss!


See hilarious scenes from our recent one act's in Abbey Lane by kind permission of Felim Rafferty Jr.  Good work Felim!

Go to; You Tube , Felim Rafferty Jr: and see 'Someone to talk to'  & 'The Happy Journey to Trenton'  Please like or comment.