As the count down continues to the start of 2024's series of Open Mic's in Abbey Lane I'm delighted to announce we will be hosting the Armagh launch of 'Swirling Violets', Conchur White's exciting debut album .
Performing songs from his album Conchur will kick off the night at 8pm
Presently the hottest talent from Co Armagh Conchur has been generating rave reviews on radio, print and social media throughout Ireland, Britain and mainland Europe. So Abbey Lane Open Mic on 26th will, once again, be the place to be.
And that's not all folks! Our Open Mic, poetry competition, and famous raffle will follow. So come early, BYOB and remember limited seating, £5 entry and expect a cracker of an Open Mic Night...........sure where would you get it?
Audience members from Armagh, Tyrone, Monaghan, Antrim and Down attended Abbey Lane Theatre for the eager 'Return of Hassard' on Friday night last and were not disappointed.
Like a good red wine improves with age Colin's fully bodied performance certainly whetted the appetite of his many fans.
Along side Colin we had a full compliment of participants for the Open Mic and here are those brave and talented people;
Mark Brownlee; bard; Matthew Toner, poetry;Sandra McDonnell-Hill poetry,' Steven Butler, guitar instrumentlist/ songwriter;John Henderson, poetry;
Stevie C, guitar/ songwriter; John Mc Andrew, story; Cathy Carson, spolken word poet; Tim Hanna, short Radio play script( with Felim Rafferty and Malachi -sound affects. We had the poetry competition presentation (see previous post) and the all important raffle during the break.
Second half commenced with our special guest Colin Hassard and performed a great set for a trilled audience. Always hard to follow but April Flynn, short monologue was perfect. Next Terry Colon singer and all round geg;Fionnuala Cassidy, poetry; Jay Rafferty, poetry; Adam Trotter , monologue; Frances Lavery, singer; Rachel Toner, poetry; Steven Butler, guitar solo; John McAndrew 30 word poem on war; and finally (no show without Punch) Dymphna and her 30 word poem on Changed times before she finished the night with her famous yarns.
Next Open Mic 28 th April 8pm £5 in , BYOB, 5 min slots available and first timers very, very welcome. Limited seating.
In the great tradition of Co Armagh bards Donald McKenna is up there with the best. Here he regales us with his poem 'The Tragic tale of Tim McCann' at June's Open Mic Night in Abbey Lane Theatre while the summer heat soared to 30o
As we are gripped in the usual winter flu epidemic this poem, from our Open Mic' in November seems appropriate and hopefully will bring a smile to the reader's face.
THE MAN THAT NEVER COMPLAINS
My ears are really throbbing and my chest is feeling tight
My head is splitting apart and i'm really off me bite
I feel i'm coming down with a ferocious Manflu
That would floor the very best of us but i'm not complaining to you
I don't take potions and pills OR sympathy as I suffer
For the man that suffers in silence cannot be called a bluffer
No I'm not complaining of the pains and aches I have
Or the congested chest and phlegm,
you know the sick green gunge that refuses
To be washed down the drain.
I'm keeping it to myself, the obvious symptoms that pertain
Like the loss of manly strength while in my bed I remain
i'll not be bothering my GP, nor even receptionists at the clinic
Though I'm suffering, there's worse of than me. I'm dammed if I'll be called a cynic
And as the world 'casts a cold eye' while my temperature soars and wanes
Will that Horseman pass me by'?
The man that NEVER complains.
Our invited Guest couple for March are Carol and David Cooke fro Newcastle- upon-Tyne.
Carol has written books poetry, articles for national and regional newspapers, plays and website content. She also acts, directs and plays music with a couple of bands. But what she really enjoy is hearing people’s stories, especially women’s, which are always surprising, and often funny. She listens, writes, edits a bit, and makes art from regional experience.
David is a well known north-east writer, actor and director in amateur and professional productions. He has written several musicals, including the award winning ‘Dance to Your Daddy’, and has written and published articles for national newspapers. He is currently working on his second novel.
Along with our loyal and growing band of singer,musicians, poets and storytellers this is GUARANTEED to be a great nights entertainment. MARCH 28TH ABBEY LANE THEATRE, ARMAGH- 8PM
Well we got this decade's Open Mic's of to a brilliant start. A full house for Liz Weir's first visit to Abbey Lane and Armagh Theatre Group coincided with first visits by fellow storyteller Joseph Heywood; Thomas Mallon musician /singer; and 'Pat the Novice' yarns of dying priest and philosophy.
The night started with a communal tongue-in-cheek singalong to acknowledge the exit of Britain from EU influence from 11pm that night. We quickly moved on and introduced Liz Weir as our special guest for January. A consummate professional, Liz had the audience on her side straight away and regailed us with wonderful stories of Marriage and hard drinking witches in London and Romance between Fermanagh's kingdom and English aristocrats.
The Open Mic started with the talented Sophie Ross from Keady with an orginal song written by her that day. Not titled before performing the crowd when asked afterwards favoured 'Sometimes' ...brilliant singer who should go far. Next up Mark Brownlee ;poems inspired from songs, Jimmy Rafferty; 'Barred of Armagh' which mentioned 40yrs of recent local history, Thomas Healy on tin whistle and Cornet (but not at the same time); Laurane sang Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond beautifully, Joe McCool with a passing joke;Joseph Heywood's story The Coyote and the stars;Theo Sinton from Magherlin, on guitar singing Murl Haggard's 'Today I started loving you again' and wise words in 'Faster horse, younger women,older whiskey, more money' ;Malachi with his 'Fund me a lift' poetic plea for MOT. Thomas Mallon from Keady singing/guitar cover Lion's roar (First Aid Kit) class act; 'Pat the Novice' from Crossmaglen,the dying priest story; At this point Liz was up again with Valentine story, Robbie Burns and her Witches story. Dymphna quickly brought the night back from its heights with her inimitable humour, Tim went shopping with his poem; Damien Mallon sang Nell Flattery's drake;Sophie was back by popular demand and sang 'Rocky Racoon' to rapturous appluse. and our night ended with a poem from Rachel Toner on relationships. A wonderful night which also incuded Mick Mc Connell's AldiLidi song.
Thanks to Liz Weir and Joseph coming all the way from Cushendall and to all who performed. Thanks to Allan on sound/lights and projections; to the ladies at the door,serving drinks and cleaning up and to Tim for keeping them under control. But mostly to our wonderful supporters who make the evening what it is...the BEST Open Mic in Armagh.
'SORRY YOU WERE OUT' By David Braziel
(A first reading by David at Open Mic Night Abbey Lane Theatre Armagh 29/11/19)
April's Open Mic Night was populated with great poets, storytellers , musicians and singers at the top of their game. A poignant poem 'The Message' from David Braziel and an English lesson from Finnish standup comedian Mana Mahfoozi completed another entertaining night for the packed crowd in Abbey Lane Theatre.
Try it....you'll not be disappointed. Next one MAY 31ST.
For a listen to David's poem go to his Facebook page scroll to 'The Message' written after the killing of writer/journalist Lyra McKee.
For an English lesson go to youtube Mana Mahfoozi 'the shit'
Some of those who braved the stage last Friday night after our guests, the McGrath Brothers from Donaghmore were. Mark Brownlee, Rachel Toner,Cathy Carson, Sue Divin, Dymphna Ferran,Kate McLaughlin, Jimmy Rafferty and finishing with the McGraths singalong melody. Cost at door?....£5!
Tartan adorned the tables and the sweet smell of Haggis filled the air in Abbey Lane Theatre as our Open Mic/ Burn’s night got underway.
The Saltier flag rippled on the screen as the Proclaimers ‘walked 500miles’ then forgot something and had to walk back ‘500 more’. After a short biography from
MC Malachi, our mystery piper struck up ‘Oh flower of Scotland’ and the vegetarian Haggis was served with glee to all in attendance!
Peter Kelly commenced the entertainment with a rendition of Burns’ Peggy Gordon. Kevin Mc Eneaney recited ‘Sweet Afton’ and duet with Peter on ‘Marie’s Wedding’ with great gusto.
Our first guest Karen Mooney from Moira read her own poem ‘A tribute to Rabbie Burns’...... then Pat Fairon took the class with the Lost Vocabulary of Ulster Scots pertaining to Burns’ era.
His well constructed flash cards tested the knowledge and memory of the pang’ fu d (crammed) audience. Not a pechin (cough) nor pluff (short, sharp breath) was heard from his attentive class.
Our Burns’ section was rounded off by Mark Brownlee reciting ‘Ae fond kiss’ a favourite of Burns aficionados.
The regular Open Mic got underway with the amazing Cathy Carson. What a talent this lady is, a great writer and actor with a delivery that stops a room.
Her two pieces, ‘Wake up call’ and ‘November Sun’ had the audience spellbound and will live on in the memory of great moments at these Open Mic’s.
Dymphna got the short straw as she had to follow Cathy, but no other could do it better, with her poem where she weaved the unlikely combination of ‘Donald where’s your trousers?’ and Brexit!
A new face to Abbey Lane is Stephen Edwards on guitar who sang Neil Young’s ‘The damage done’. Karen Mooney gave us her incisive poem ‘ A More Sustainable Future’ a metaphor of present day life
cleverly set in a garden. Michael Callaghan then had us all singing along ‘She’s my girl, she’s my world’.
Jack Watson, another welcome new comer, gave us Cassius’ speech from Julius Caesar. Delivered with aplomb, this young actor from Armagh captivated the room with his performance.
Regular contributor, Thomas Healy, came to the stage with a poem and song. This young man’s writing and voice are going from strength to strength. Malachi rounded of the night with his story
‘A hell of a Day in Heaven’ a very true, funny story of his ordeal in the Mournes with a Perfect Modern Family!
Thanks are due to all who helped out Monique, Felim jr, Peter, Colin, Aisling and Bridie. The more hands the easier the task.
Which reminds me of our new competition ‘Family saying and quotes’. This is where we stop for a moment and all have a chat about old saying that yourself or your family or friends used.
Some appropriately from Robbie Burns himsel started the conversation. Tonight’s winners were Marie Crowley and Pat Fairon. But I think all of us were winners tonight as the entertainment was 1st class.
Next date Feb 22nd and our guests are ‘Dirty Words’ aka Colin Hassard vocals , Ashley Manners guitar and Seonaid Murray sax . A selection of songs and poems from ..’’Two of the best on today’s scene’’NI Poetry News.
Pablo Doherty kicked off our last Open Mic of 2018 in great style. Our guest Poet from the shores of Lough Neagh near Lurgan fitted in his energetic performance while also being the taxi driver for his son who played at Holme Park the same evening. It's how busy Daddy/Poets juggle opportunities and parental duties these days. In a twenty minute slot he managed to touch on just about every subject from Family life to Brexit to Sport and even a mention of Santa! On twenty one minutes he grabbed his bag and coat and bolted out the door waving a farewell to all. The son's team were beaten but Pablo was on a high from staring in Abbey Lane. Well done Pablo!
We also had great contributions from Hilary Good, Michael O'Callaghan,Rachel Toner before the break. Afterwards Armagh Ukelele Jam and T J Smart nearly stole the show with our night's MC Felim Rafferty finding difficulity getting them stopped. Dymphna Ferran, Tim Hanna Joe Mc Cool and Malachi all with stories and poetry. We then had a very sad announcement by Felim saying the famous Limerick Laugh's competition and the Appulse Meter would be put to bed tonight. The winner in a very close run event, picked totally by random (reverse alphabetic order) was Tim.
The Management will be working to publish a booklet of Limericks featured in the three years of the compo and have it for sale as a fund raiser to the new extension......watch this space. Thanks to all our contributors and guests over the year and all being well we'll see you back on 25th Jan 2019! Merry Xmas and Happy New Year from all at Armagh Theatre Group.