Actor, Comedian and better half of the famous Grimes/McKee duo (so he says) visited Abbey Lane Theatre to share his stage and film experiences with members of Armagh Theatre Group this week. After a brisk Canadian Army warm up we all collapsed into a circle of seats for a Q&A session which couldn't even be stopped for a cuppa!. Questions were short but the answers meandered into wonderful humorous memories of an actor who 'range' ranges far and wide. Another memorable night for the 'Group' who greatly appreciates Conor's generous offer and time spent with us.
The 'Group' participated in a cross community event last Thursday held in the Market Place Theatre. This was the final part of a three evening cross cultural series discussing the 'decades of centenaries' and their affects on such organisations as UVF, Irish Volunteers, GAA and the Orange Order, with particular reference to Armagh . Our readings covered from 1912 and the Covenant through W W1, Easter Rising and the Treaty. interspersed with music from Eoin Kelly and the Pruntys and the Aghavilly Accordian Band. A very informative night with great entertainment attended by members of West Armagh Consortium and Hartford Community Development and Cultural Ass who jointly organised the events.
"Great night's entertainment", "Wonderful talent", "Best night in a long time" just some of the comments from the audience who attended our first OMNight in 2017. With guests ' Bulgarian Dancers 'Veselyatczy' starting us of with some colourful, lively traditional dancing the night was set to be a memorable one. Our decision to invite different community groups from Armagh opens up opportunities for Armagh Theatre Group to spread our own 'gospel' to new faces. Thanks go out to all participants 'Veselyatczy' cultural dance; Dymphna(poetry)Thomas(song/guitar); Sandra (dream poetry) Gerry (song) Ann (storytelling) Margaerite (song) Ronan (Blues guitar)Kevin (song/guitar)Malachi (short story) Claudia (le Miserables) Aidan (Flute) Conor (humorous yarn) Pat,Joe Aidan (trad music) Valentina (Bulgarian poetry)..all for £5!
The second half of our CAP course held in Abbey Lane Theatre successfully concluded today. Facilitated by Paul Hutchinson, our first Storytelling workshop produced fantastic stories true and completely fictitious, humorous and touching ,heart rendering and unforgettable. A selection of the writings from this workshop and the Performing poetry course held before Christmas by Colin Hassard will be brought together in a Celebration night next month which will amaze and enlighten the audience as to the talent which has been unearth. KEEP YOUR EYE on the website for details. Congratulations and thank you to all who took part. Ann ,Alison ,Bridie ,Ellen, Dymphna, Felim, Kevin, Malachi, Peter,Pat Sheila, Terry, Tim and Wilma .
Standing ovation for Armagh Theatre Group; as reported in the Armagh Observer Dec 1st
When Armagh Theatre Group decided to mark their 50th anniversary, it was always going to be momentous. But they could never have anticipated the reception their golden jubilee performances would receive. They chose to recreate their first major production-'Our Town' by Thornton Wilder, first performed in 1966. Back then they were known as Armagh Players and 'Our Town' was staged under the direction of theatrical stalwart Seamus Mallon in Armagh City Hall. Having graduated fifty years later to the state-of-the-art Market Place Theatre 'Our Town' is set in New Hampshire USA, around 1900 and the three accts move gently through birth, marriage and death. An ageless classic, comfortable in any era, the play broke the mould in stage productions, as it continues to do today. 'Our Town' could indeed be any town , any society, or any timeframe .The sets are sparse - just enough to create the bear minimum. The actors do the rest. This type of theatre allows actors to truly portray their characters and evoke emotion, bereft as they are of props and scenery within the performance. And Armagh Theatre Group know how to put on an evocative performance! Aside from activity on stage almost the entire auditorium was utilised, with actors emerging from various off- stage entrances and a Choir practice scene set in the front stalls. This drew the audience into the performance beautifully as they too became part of life in 'Our Town' , if only for a short time-rejoicing in births ,smiling at innocence, celebrating lives and grieving at death. All ages were involved, as the play's theme dictated , and there were outstanding,disciplined performances from young actors who thrived on their characters. The soft tones of 'The Stage Manager'(a character as opposed to an operative) who acts as narrator throughout, kept the audience informed of the comings and goings of town life, as if from an invisible watchtower. His descriptive bulletins created scenes and settings, with characters stepping in and out along the way. Life in 'Our Town' is a journey of twists and turns, heartswell and heartache, life never totally ending and always renewing. But having shared the lives and loves of the folks of 'Our Town' the final act deserves a special mention. The audience fell pin-drop silent whilst the cast performed with powerful, overwhelming emotion. A scene of bereavement, the tragic loss of a young woman in childbirth is tempered with the solace of those who have gone before her and offer comfort as she reluctantly leaves her devastated family. A deeply moving scene but gently and sensitively portrayed. The cast were rewarded with a spontaneous standing ovation - a much sought honour, but so rarely bestowed. There is little more which could sum up such an enthusiastic, polished and timeless production. Congratulations to Armagh Theatre Group on a truly outstanding performance. Here's to the next 50 years!
A big thank you to all our supporters who attended the 7Hills Blues Fest on Saturday 13th Aug.
We were all royally entertained by Mark and John ( The Mighty Quinn) who already are planning for next year's Blues Fest.
Great to see a packed house with so many people experiencing 'The magic of Abbey Lane Theatre' for the first time, including our present Lord Mayor Garath Keating.
Rehearsals for 'Our Town' continue Tue night 16th in the capable hands of Mary McKenna as our producer Marjery Quinn does what she does best and delegates responsibilities.