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We are proud to present, for his second lockdown number, Peter Kelly accompanied by Madeleine on meracas/ backing vocals; and Eoin on acoustic guitar/ backing vocals. This talented family group  are giving us a redition of Jimmy Buffets 'Margaritaville'

 As there may be more from the trio and the introduction is long we have named them ....'The Sun Hats' 



Dymphna Ferran
Last job glass inspector in Tyrone Crystal for thirteen years
I became involved with the ATG through Malachi's nephew Adrian Mc Nally who had heard me doing my performance poetry at a function in Benburb and had got in touch with my son to tell me about the Open Mic nights run by the ATG on the last Friday of each month in Abbey Lane. I went along the following month and enjoyed it so much I think I've only missed 3 Open Mic nights in the last four years.
I was a late starter to the world of art and theatre. I was in my fifty's before I started to write poetry and had my first acting debut at the ripe old age of seventy two when I performed in two of Carol Dooey's plays on the one night in the Burnavon Theatre in Cookstown, playing the part of a stroke patient in one and a Mistress to a corspe in the other. In 2018 when the ATG put on their scam plays for the local council and policing board I was lucky enough to be asked to take part in them. The writers and directors of these were Malachi and Tim.
  I love chocolate, cakes, fruit  and vegetables.  I dislike spaghetti and gravy.
I love to entertain but also enjoy being entertain.
When I wrote a poem about dementia and the first time I performed it I forgot the words.
Agatha Christie
Anything by the above Author.
Country and Western.
Las Vegas.
Back in the day it used to be removing a shirt from under a jacket while being worn by someone but nowadays it's a poem -- got wiser with age.
A  stranger's just a friend you've yet to meet.
Laughter - It keeps my jaws active.
Chicken Maryland especially in The Greenvale in Cookstown.
HOPES FOR ATG in 2026:
I hope the building will be expanded and that the Open Mic nights will still be going strong and that Malachi will still be introducing me with his usual line --"Next up is Dymphna and I have to say -  SHE - comes with a warning".

Dymphna as part of the ATG team who performed at the Sunflower Festival in 2017


NAME; Peter Kelly

JOB/ CAREER;Teacher/Tutor

ATG MEMBER since;1972

WHY DID YOU JOIN ;Boredom mostly… those years, Jenny’s Row was a hive of activity. Any weekend there’d be Jackie Connolly, Jimmy Lamb, Buddy Mc Ardle and others, all working on staging and sets. Help was never refused. If not, there’d certainly be an upcoming event which demanded a Party! Somebody’s birthday was a perfect excuse.

1st PRODUCTION; We decided on The Playboy of the Western World by J.M. Synge to be performed in a school hall. In the end we secured the use of St Catherine’s College.

1st PRODUCER/DIRECTOR; Paddy Shiels directed a stellar cast which included Stanley Fitzgerald (a legend of our times) Mary Lamb (ditto), Una Boylan (her Widow Quinn was unparalleled in living memory, Paul Tracey (the perfect murderous gob) ….and with Margaret Toman and Kate McGovern, Dudley Marjorem and Mick McCoy….. we had the piece de resistance of Irish Theatre. I played a sobre but noteworthy Michael James, owner of the shebeen. According to the Armagh Observer it was….” a study in restraint, acting in the true Stanislavski style”.


Shercock, Co Cavan


Jack in The Weir and more recently Doc Gibbs in Our Town.


  Special mention by the adjudicator in King Lear 1959 CBS.


Chocolates or Cakes; Now and again……Apple tart with cloves

Meat or Veg; Sea bass, mussels and monkfish with new potatoes en buerre.

 Fruit or fry; Apples and oranges

Tipple or Dry; Pint of Guinness…just the one. One is heaven, two’s not bad, three’s too many and four ‘snot enough!


EMBARRISING STAGE MOMENTS; Fell asleep in the wings and almost missed my cue, final night of Our Town. Stage manager twigged on just in time….. MPT 2016


Sebastian Barry. Our lady of Sligo…..The Steward of Christendom.


Historical Fiction….Wolf Hall….Any Human Heart


Flamenco guitar…..Christy Moore

BOOK/PLAY/FILM recommendations;

All the above and Brother Where art thou? Coen Bros


Lanzerote in summer and Sapporo in winter




Live life to the full….Try anything ONCE!


Cycling but locally only and sea bathing in Carrickfinn.


Sausage, egg and chips.

HOPES for ATG by 2026
With plans and finance well advanced for renovations at Abbey Lane, my hopes were high for a new foyer and increased capacity going into 2021. However we are not in a good place right now. The pandemic has landed us in a muddle, and in spite of my natural optimism, I can see no easy answer to our problem.

The unique appeal of Abbey Theatre was its intimacy and cosy familiarity. These are the very qualities which are now under attack by this virus. Without an effective antidote we are looking at a very uncertain future. Professional theatre has been thrown into chaos equally, and it will be the last activity to return to any normal operation. I can only trust that with our enthusiastic and resourceful people, we will manage to keep the show on the road in the bleak years ahead. As I write, we are busily putting together our virtual drama Zoomeo and Juliet, a special ATG production for summer 2020. Thanks to our writers, actors, director, and of course yourselves, our wonderful and loyal supporters who have stuck with us over the years.


After a 10 day vacation in the back garden, recommended by my doctor due to Broadband failure, we have been reconnected at last.

Two things that have helped to get us through this frightful period are exceptional weather and Broadband, Oh, and alcohol and chocolate.

So four things that have helped us through this awful virus time Good Weather, Drink, Sweeties and Internet.   Luckily  it didn’t rain while camping in the garden and we had stockpiled on Alcohol and Chocolates (as well as bleach and toilet rolls). But I really missed Netflix…..and posting Jigsaws and Questionnaires on the ATG website.

So we are back on track now with a crowd of people from our 2016 production Our Town. Some could sing, some could act and some just mimed.

Now  put them all together and see if you can find yourself. 

Remember time is of the essence and the winner’s prize is a day trip to Barnard Castle, Co Durham were sight seeing is now world renowned.

Link to jigsaw above.



THIS IS A FEATURE DESIGNED TO AID THOSE NEW TO THE CONCEPT OF  A JIGSAW ( ie Children OR people who may have learning difficulities) TO COMPLETE A PUZZLE. 

SOME UNBELIEVABLE TIMES HAVE BEEN LODGED TO US IN THE PAST WEEKS. (even with having time on your hands during Covid).


The committee wish to thank Matilda  Heaney Lee for raising the matter.

Tim "Drinks on the house for everyone" as Charlie Knipe (Barman) and Peter Kelly salute 'a Great man' (and so say all of us)


NAME; Tim Hanna

JOB/ CAREER; Semi Retired Valuer

ATG MEMBER since; 1987

WHY DID YOU JOIN ; Didn’t “join”. Was press ganged by James Lamb (along with other innocents, Wilma Campbell & Charlie Knipe) under the pretext of a Sunday afternoon cricket match. A lot of bottles of good plonk later, Mr Lamb went in for “the Kill” and successfully recruited us – a technique which sounds pretty “dodgy” by today’s standards!

1st PRODUCTION; The Way To Keep Him – a Victorian Melodrama performed in The Band Hall on the Mall. I think I was a vicar. It was pretty manic but obviously addictive.

1st PRODUCER/DIRECTOR; James Lamb who was always calm and encouraging!

FAVOURITE THEATRE to PERFORM/ VISIT No favourite but prefer modern and small.

FAVOURITE PLAY and PART; Blackpool & Parrish (one of James Lamb’s Canadian discoveries). I was Page the butler in the weird “Club”. Also liked Lone Star with Malachi Kelly & Felim Rafferty which was twinned with Laundry & Bourbon – really funny and good fun to be in when you saw and heard the response from the audience. I guess that’s key – if the audience enjoys what they are seeing then that makes it worth while.

ACHIVEMENTS on ‘STAGE’; No particular achievements. Just enjoy the whole process.



Chocolates or Cakes; Neither any more (aren’t I good)

Meat or Veg; Both – boring.

 Fruit or fry; Strawberries but not fried.

Tipple or Dry; Now and again.

ENTERTAIN or be ENTERTAINED; I love to be entertained but will leave/switch off if it’s dire. I also like to entertain, as long as the audience is enjoying what they are seeing/hearing. – which is not always.

EMBARRISING STAGE MOMENTS; Plenty of cockups but who hasn’t.

I think scariest back stage moment was in my second production, recruited by James Lamb for a wee part in the almost all girl “Factory Girls”. I did not know what a Festival Play was but before I knew it we were heading for the Ulster Finals in the Opera House (no thanks to me I would add). Terrifying prospect. I remember looking out the dressing room window onto Great Victoria Street 15 minutes until curtain up and preying for either a bomb or at the very least a damn good bomb scare. The odds of either in 1988 were fairly good but alas not to be. I survived the ordeal on stage but was more wary of Mr Lamb’s offers of a small wee part in future.

Also, on a par in the “terror stakes” – when the prompt (can’t quite remember her name) went AWOL during the first Act of Pentecost in a Drama Festival in darkest Monaghan or Cavan. It’s amazing how 15 seconds wracking your brain for the next line whilst preying for a line from the prompt (who’d STILL gone AWOL) whilst trying to appear calm and in control to the audience and Adjudicator, can feel like TEN minutes!

FAVOURITE AUTHOR /PLAYWRIGHT; Still like Dickens. Don’t read/see enough plays.

FAVOURITE BEDTIME READ; Whatever I am reading during the day. I have no problem carrying it upstairs at night as long as it’s not too heavy.

FAVOURITE MUSIC CHOICE; Still in a 1960’s “bubble” but also like Nick Cave, Keith Jarrett. Usually something depressing/maudlin will do.

BOOK/PLAY/FILM recommendations; I love books, particularly modern American fiction – Donna Tart/John Updike. Resisted joining Book Club for years ( “I’m not going to read books someone else tells me to read”) Gave in 2 years ago and have been proved a prick – recent good ones I would never have read – Golden Hill by Francis Spufford, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead….oh and my first ever Sci-fi, Rejuvination by Byddi Lee!!!

Don’t watch enough plays to recommend anything but the National Theatre Live screenings are generally good (The Lehman Trilogy was fantastic) plus they won’t need “social distancing” at Craigavon Omniplex when they re-open as only about 8 people turn up so you get a row to yourself – safe or what?

Films are on holiday at the moment and my attempts to have a Japanese film at ATG Film Club having been rebuffed umpteen times means I’m recommending a telly show instead – Call My Agent on Netflix – set in Paris – subtitles – funny and light….well, I liked it.

BEST HOLIDAY DESTINATION; Anywhere that leaves you with great memories.

YOUR PARTY PIECE; Just a slice of pizza I’m afraid. Best Party Piece’s observed at ATG over the years – Patricia Savage’s versions of Victoria Wood songs. Shame she emigrated……to The Cooleys!

MANTRE- RULES OF LIFE; Nothing special – Maybe try and be more tolerant, which is harder the older you get, even when someone else’s actions/behaviour drives you up the wall!

EXERCISE CHOICE; Obviously limited by body falling to bits, so, as long as I can walk that will do.

FAVOURITE FOOD/RESTAURANT; Not a foodie. Eat to keep alive.

HOPES for ATG by 2026 – Just the obvious ones – recruit some MEN and some more YOUNG ONES to keep the thing going. Not much point building these new toilets if there ain’t anyone to sit on them.

Here is our souvenir 'Our Town' programme from the 50th anniversary production of Thornton Wilder's classic play performed to full houses in November this year (2016) at Marketplace Theatre. Featuring support articles from past and current members who have  succeeded in the professional worlds of Drama, TV, Film and Media. 



Name; Marie-Claire Guy

Job/Career; Solicitor

AGT Member since; since 2013 (I think) I was in my early twenties anyway.

Why did you join; Malcom Dawson and Aunty Una (Boylan) made me do it! I have a vague recollection of being auditioned by them both at a party using an enamel toothpick as a prop to sell in a Dragon’s Den style whilst being filmed on an i-pad… and you needn’t laugh Malcolm Dawson you were wearing a big ginger wig.

1st Production; Two

1st producer/director; The ever tolerant, patient and enthusiastic Kevin McEneaney bless him.

Favourite theatre performed in/visited;

It would be hard not to choose the “Gem” that is the Abbey Lane Theatre. That special moment when you are trying hard to pretend to be someone else and your mummy is sitting right under your nose. The Navan Centre has a great stage right entrance. I have a fond memory of Peter Kelly, in the reading of “Deirdre” directed by Margery Quinn, entering like Darth Vadar into the Death Star courtesy of the whoosh of the emergency exit. The very same door that Peter, Bridie and I got locked behind and couldn’t get on stage for the start.

Favourite play and part;

Favourite play for the craic was Ladies Day produced by Hilary Good. For the hard work I’d have to say “Our Lady of Sligo” directed by Kevin McEneaney, and I only had a fraction to do. Hats off Bridie! It was a great feeling to be part of that.

Biggest achievement on stage;

Loot directed by Felim Rafferty, I will never know why I didn’t just phone in sick. (Felim doesn’t either).


Chocolates or Cakes;

I could have passed up on either until lately, I suspect this won’t end well but now I’ll have both please.

Meat or Veg;

Still Veg, no change there

Fruit or Fry; Yup, fruit.

To entertain or be entertained;

Entertain, I probably wasn’t that much of a Theatre goer until I joined ATG. I do enjoy watching from the wings. I think that is my favourite place to be.

Most embarrassing stage moment;

It has to be Our Town and hollering out the wrong line at the full dress rehearsal. I am sorry to all I distracted but Gerry McGrath needed his braces re-attached and the cue was really like the one where I supposed to holler out that line… honest Gov, it wasn’t my fault. Oh, and there was the one during Loot when, mid proposal scene between Malachi and I, someone switched on the interval Music. Was that a hint? ‘cause I didn’t take it.

Favourite author/ Playwright;

Thomas Hardy, he does such dark stuff to his characters. I do love Jane Eyre so maybe I should get around to reading more Charlotte Bronte.

Book at your bedside;

Caught I don’t have one. If I don’t crash as soon as my head hits the pillow I trawl through images of paintings on my i-pad. I do have a bag with all my old scripts right beside the bedside table. Does that count?

Favourite Music choice;

Now this is hard. I enjoy such a variety, classical music, 80’s and 90’s stuff, 1970s, Earth, Wind and Fire, Quincy Jones and Nile Rodgers’ music. It’s hard to beat the music you take part in though. I’ve battered out music in a few different forms, pants at all of them but the fun I have had, so that’s my favourite music.

Best Holiday destination; San Juan De Los Terreros, just like Donegal but there’s a big yellow ball in the sky.

Your party piece;

We’ll no go there, it’s not pretty and not to be encouraged.

Mantra- rules of life;

In the words of Len “And of course you can’t become if you only say what you would have done, so I missed a million miles of fun”

Think about it, yes. Talk about it, a bit, but for goodness sake do it.

Book/Play/Film recommendation;

It will have to be film. I watch a lot of films so again it’s hard to choose. I think the Michael Caine/Lawrence Olivier screen version of “Sleuth” started the attraction. I love the acting in “Thelma and Louise” there’s not a bad actor in it. Christopher McDonald who plays Thelma’s husband is just brilliant. I can’t not mention “Rosemary’s Baby” I watch it nearly every weekend.

Exercise choice;

Walking. Great way to learn lines. Load them up in your head and go.

Favourite Food;

Chinese on a Friday night with Beer or Cava or both.

Hopes for ATG by 2026;

That it will continue to provide joy, laughter, tears, inspiration, embarrassing moments, first plays, favourite plays, fear of Jesus, first directors, favourite theatre and friends like you will find nowhere else by 2026 and beyond. Sod the toilet for back stage…that element keeps you on your toes for the performances.


Marie-Claire caught impersonating an Amature actor . Scene from Good Thing's by Liz Lochhead along with Aileen and Hubby Charlie 2018

This week’s puzzle is of Armagh Railway Station.  With its Greek arches it stood majestic and secure, close to the site of present day Philip

White Tyres.

Ironic that a tyre company whose stock- in –trade (car industry) was the major reason why the railway line closed in the 1950’s.

In our play ‘IMPACT’ the building was the hub of excitement on 14 June 1889 as hundreds gathered for the day trip to Warrenpoint.

Afterward it was used for the Great Northern Railway enquiry into the incident which took the lives of at least 89 people and injured hundreds.

Sombre subject but I decided to keep things local as our international supporters were getting to be a pain in the neck (All the translating…)

Winner last week Byddi Lee at under 38 mins (So she says)

PS we have received a photoshot which indicates last week's jigsaw challenge was finished under 38mins but this info came after close of time. SO get your confirmation of time to us asap This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

ARMAGH THEATRE GROUP 2020 QUESTIONNAIRE :  advice before you start reading Kevin's bio boil the kettle, get comfy and enjoy.

NAME: Kevin McEneaney


Second Level Teacher. I taught in St. Macartan's College, Monaghan, my old Alma Mater for 39 years.  I taught English, sometimes Irish and manners!




I had moved from Monaghan in 1984 and after being deeply involved as Chairperson of Monaghan Dramatic Society, I was delighted if a little apprehensive, when Margery Quinn asked me to get involved. As it turned out ATG became a very important part of my life in Armagh. Thank you Margery. Imagine! It took me 35 years to say thanks.


My first venture on stage, as an adult, was with Monaghan Dramatic Society and the play was "The Honey Spike" by Bryan McMahon. It was easy to get a part in that play as there seemed to be a cast of hundreds. I was a really "brilliant" B Special!! That play taught me the power of Drama. Some of the audience were inconsolable. We had to bring the expectant mother, who had "died" offstage in childbirth, into the auditorium before we could convince several of those weeping that she had not really died.


As a teacher of English I had tremendous freedom to involve my students in Drama both in class and on stage. One play I really enjoyed directing was "Us and Them", a small one act by David Compton, where all thirty pupils in First or Second Year could get involved and did they not enjoy it! especially the knocking down of the dividing wall at the end. I'm still not convinced that "Good fences make good neighbours" or that "Good neighbours make good fences"!

I was committed to promoting drama in a footballing orientated College and with others collaborated in producing many plays like "Philadelphia here I come", O'Casey's Trilogy, "Macbeth" and many more. 

In Monaghan I directed "The Patrick Pearse Motel" by Hugh Leonard.

With ATG I have directed or produced "Two", "Slices of Life" and of course "Our Lady of Sligo" by Sebastian Barry . When I met Sebastian at the Dalkey Book Festival I told him I was contemplating directing this particular play. He asked me if I had a Mai. When I told him I had someone with an almost infinite capacity for and dedication to learn lines and someone who could cry on stage he wished me well. Stand up Bridie Heaney!

Kevin and Emily featuring in “Slices of Life”




I have been to plays in New York, London, Dublin. Belfast, Cork etc., but none of them with their revolving stages and state of the art lighting and sound systems could hold a candle to Abbey Lane Theatre. Location, location, location and atmosphere.


I really enjoyed my part in "The White Headed Boy" directed by Malcolm Dawson even if I opened Act 2, walked on and forgot my words only to be rescued by Hilary Good.

"44 Sycamore" with the barking dogs and being shoved halfway out the window to be "bitten" by the canines will stay in my mind.

Filming "All's Well that Ends Well" (not the Shakespearean version) written and directed by Conor Toner and found on You Tube was a different dramatic experience which I enjoyed.

However playing the 17 year old boy when I was 34 in "Da" by Hugh Leonard in a little purpose-built theatre in The Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan, gave me a real feel for drama and was probably my favourite part. Maybe it suited my mental age!


In 1972 I played the young lover in Brian Friel's play "Lovers"  in Monaghan and in 2009 I played the elderly lover in the same play in Armagh. Brian Friel told me that he hadn't met anyone who had played both parts in his play. I loved that play.



That's easy to remember. May 2000 "The Risen People" directed by Margery. I felt good in the part of the Priest, counterpoint to Big Jim Larkin, socialist and Trade Union Leader. Thursday night went well, Friday night went well. Saturday morning I had no voice, I couldn't speak. This was communicated to Margery and Roisín White nursed me with various concoctions all day. Saturday night in a packed Market Place I joined the cast. Going well but then the counterpoint scene arrived; Larkin on one box, myself all dressed in collar and soutane surrounded by my followers on another -----------

 -  nothing, no voice, silence. I don't know why but I turned my back to the audience, muttered "London" "Liverpool" etc., and frantically gesticulated. Perspiring desperately I summoned up all the strength I could muster, turned back to the audience and somehow, somehow, the words came. Embarrassing or what?! As far as I know "The Risen People" was the first amateur production in the Market Place so I think I can safely claim the dubious distinction of being the first amateur to "dry" on that stage.




As number nine in a family of eleven children there was very little scope for choice.  Eat what was on your plate or starve. I can eat almost anything. I profess to be a savoury person but please do not let me near an open box of chocolates because they will not last too long.


I seem to be a poor audience person. I find it difficult to sit for a long period. I much prefer to entertain and I have to admit audiences are very very tolerant at times.


My favourite playwright has to be Brian Friel. I really love his work but didn't like Meryl Streep as Kate Mundy in the film"Dancing at Lughnasa". I thought it was a bridge too far.


I love most music Folk, Traditional and Light classical in particular. Leonard Cohen, Roy Orbison and Fats Domino are my favourites. I really enjoy nearly all musicals from "Oklahoma", "Sound of Music", "My Fair Lady", "Les Miserables","The Student Prince" etc.  - am I a softie? I still can't fathom Rap. In particular I love to sing and join in with our own musicians like Peter Kelly, Eoin Ó Ceallaigh and John McDonald.


Cruising down the Mekong Delta

No, not the United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Tanzania or Ethiopia, all of which were fantastic, but Vietnam. I have to admit that I have only a limited capacity for lying on a beach. I'm more into experiences and my trip from north to south of Vietnam with my daughter ticked all the boxes.


Practically a local in Hanoi



I practise the ukulele and the guitar at home and I sound amazing! Somehow when I perform in public it never seems up to scratch.


Stop looking over your shoulder at what others have or what others are doing. Get on with living your life but not at the expense of others.


"Tarry Flynn" performed in the Gaiety in Dublin was spectacular as was "The White Headed Boy" starring Mikel Murfi who played about five different parts. We all enjoyed the same actor performing in The Market Place. Who could forget him in his own play "The Man in the Woman's Shoes"?

One of the best films I ever saw was the 1964 film "Becket" starring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole. I also enjoyed "The King's Speech" and "Bohemian Rhapsody".


I used to enjoy golf in good weather but alas no more. Now I content myself with gardening. I hate walking along the road because of the litter on the roads and in the hedges. I do enjoy walking the beach even in inclement weather.

A bit like Yeats who suggested that as we grow older we should exercise the mind and soul a bit more; We are

"A tattered coat upon a stick, unless

Soul clap its hands and sing"

In an attempt to exercise the mind I have taken up Bridge. I am still in the early stages, the very early stages of learning Bridge. I may be mathematically inept but I don't intend to let this challenge beat me.


All food. And, I can't stand Americans who spend their time talking about food.

HOPES FOR ATG by 2026:

God only knows what life will be like in six years. Will we still be socially isolating? That might mean we could have an audience of six to eight people. Perish the thought. I am much more optimistic than that. The ATG community is an extremely creative one and even when the likes of James Lamb, a bit like myself, moves stage left, someone always fills those shoes and I look forward to seeing new talent come centre stage with new ideas, new techniques and a renewed dedication. I hope that they continue and develop the tradition of song, dance, laughter and the spoken word. Step forward New Faces

Over this past few weeks of lockdown we have been sending out to our supporters email list the link to Armagh Theatre Group's Jigsaw challenge via Planet Jigsaw. These all depict view/scenes related to productions from Abbey Lane over the recent years. Some are easy 50 piece, others not so easy.

To those supporters not on our email list but interested in ATG productions and Jigsaws see the link below to this week's puzzle.  Along with the image from our play last year 'IMPACT'. Send in your time by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with a photoshot of finished puzzle time.

AND be in with a chance of Champion Puzzler for the week! 

Good luck and keep safe.