Full houses for 'Bleak Expectations' in June 23'
Our world famous Zoom plays screened on Abbey Lane's big screen. A snap shot of life in Lockdown and ATG's determination to ''the show must go on'' Zoomeo &Juliet/ Social Bubble Toil & Trouble where relived and enjoyed by all. Catch 'Six Angry Women' soon!
After the 'Moving of the stones' ceremony last month the derelict area at the back of Abbey Lane Theatre has been transformed into a storage corridor for our stage flats . Four tonnes of stone used to level the ground were bucketed in by enthusiatic members of both ATG and AYTG.
Great help was also given by the Lennon family, Desart Lane of which we are indebted to.Thanks to Gerard and Finn for the muscle and the finasl layer of stones. And a big thank you to Ruairi McElmeel for carrying in most of the flats.
This small development frees up necessary space needed in our 'Green room' to allow facilities for our cast members .
A long road starts with little steps.
Here are some before and after shots.
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.
Ain't no mountain high enough...
Hugh thanks to Marian Rafferty ( the famous Rafferty's of Ballymacnab) and friends in there fund raising efforts climbing the Banks of Seagahan Dam...No no no wrong!
The heights of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. A mere 19,341 ft. Well done to you and this HUGH CONGRATULATIONS for achieving your goal. ATG is very grateful for your wonderful donation of £550 towards our funds. Just giving page is closed, thanks to all who supported Marian.
You can now view a history of all our past productions from 1966 to 2022 by clicking on the link Past Productions Blog.
Mentioned are dates, rehearsal space, performance venues, directors/producers, plays and writers.
In the early days before Abbey Lane we were nomads, travelling bards, homeless thespians plying our talents where ever we could get
into. Rehearsals were conducted in livingrooms, kitchens and bedrooms. In schools and halls and sports clubs and the often lamented 'Loft'
in Jennys Row ,our first home . The site now a pre school Play-group, a tenuous connection to its past usage.
Performances were seen in the City Hall, the Ritz cinema, Old Boys Band Hall, Armagh Tech, Royal school, Leisure Centre and at various festivals throughout Ireland.
Our wandering days came to a thankful end when we were able to secure the property where now stands Abbey Lane Theatre in 1991.
In 2000 we were delighted to perform 'The Risen People' in MarketPlace Theatre as the first amayure group at thre new venue.
All sparkles and glitter at our annual, once ever 2 years, Christmas bash. With world class entertainers, finger licking food
and the heat on early just think what you missed due to 'other engagements' 'fear of frost bite' or 'too tight to pay £5'
Well just look at these happy faces and wish you had braved it cause we par- teyed till the wee small hours!!!!!
Happy Christmas and a peaceful, heathly and exciting 2023 to all our followers.
A couple of months ago at our Open Mic a 10yrs old girl came in with her Granddad and put her name down to sing.
Thinking she might not be able to stay long and maybe a bit nervous I asked her if she'd want to go on first.
''No'' she said ''I'll go on last''. That night Heidi Mackey entertained us royally singing hits from the musicals.
I knew then she would make a terrific 'Girl in Green' for our up coming Impact production.
As a member of Spotlight Studios Dance and Drama classes she did not disappoint and along with the rest of the children
from Caleigh's Choreography stole the show on each performance.
Last in our 'Introductions to cast' BUT certainly not least we welcome Heidi Mackey.
All any talent needs is an opportunity to shine.
ATG are giving that chance through its writings, productions and Open mic nights throughout the years..
Erin, Jessica and Scarlette have grabbed this opportunity to perform to live audiences after weeks of rehearsals under the tutelage of our producer Margery Quinn.
Their enthusiasm is affective and along with Caleigh's dancers and our newly formed Youth Group have revitalised the whole Theatre Group .
Amature drama in Armagh is in good hands.
We are proud to welcome back Conor V Egan (the V stands for Virtuoso) after his memorable romp in long johns during
our production of 'Good Things' in 2018. Partnering Joe (Peter Kelly) as his mate Pat their scenes are full of pathos and honesty.
Although Thomas Healy is a regular face at our Open Mic over the past few years, he will be a new face to
our drama audiences. Multi talented musician and poet, Thomas has recently turned his hand to the acting stage
and has developed his 'Dublin Harry' character into a memorable part. Depicting the town knowall who revels in bad news
he is first to tell of the crash to town folk.
The stationmaster on the day of the tragedy John Foster facilitated the oversell of tickets for the excursion.
Whether through a lack of backbone in not managing the number of passangers ,or a misplaced loyalty to make more money for the GNR (or himself)
his remiss in not informing Dundalk depot of the increase in numbers was a major element in the terrible loss of life.
David O'Toole has recognised these possible failures in Foster's character and plays them with conviction.
One of the many elder statesmen within the ranks of Armagh Theatre Group, Peter Kelly brings a lifetime of experience and craft
on to any stage he graces. Effortlessly taking on roles, he now plays Joe McGee (father of injured Peggy)
who escapes from the turmoil at home walking the quiet streets with his mate Pat (Conor V Egan) and calling in to the 'local'
Impact in verse ....continued
The Railway Act was ammended, some regulations tightened up
Allowing recognition for children to drink from the compensation cup.........
Our town was changed forever as generations stayed silent in grief
Now it;s IMPACT told to those young and old with an air of disbelief.
Written by M Kelly (Impact in verse)
Marie Claire Guy's artistic lineage is strong and varied. From painting and choral singing to acting and law her talents are used daily.
One could judge her as an all rounder, a walking versatility. Along with her spouce Charlie this loving duo feature strongly in our cast of Impact.
Marie Claire plays Alice, a crash survivor, who's recalls her experiences of the day and its tragic aftermath.
Impact in verse...continued
Inspectors, lawyers and judges, to the highest of government clout
Scamper for a scape goat- to find an established way out....continued
The driver of the 'regular' train to Newry Patrick Murphy was hailed as a hero in his efforts to curtail his train's
impact on the runaway carriages. Although surviving the crash he died within the year from what we now know as PTSD.
Mark Brownlee, a regular at our OMNights with his incisive poetry, plays Murphy once again with equal directness.
Impact in verse...continued
An inquiry,a court and inquest as fingers are pointed for blame
The driver,stationmaster and Company all hang their heads in shame.
This year we formed Armagh Youth Theatre Group to offer teenagers the opportunity to develope the basic skills
of the stage through weekly classes in Abbey Lane Theatre. Tutors, Aisling Kelly and Adam Trotter have an exciting
programme in place leading to a performance by the youth group in Abbey Lane this coming spring.
'Impact' director Margery Quinn suggested using the group in her production after attending the classes and seeing the students enthusiasm.
So earlier than expected they will be on stage, this coming week, for 4 performances in front of packed audiences....what an experience!
IMPACT in verse: continued
The trains impact at frightening speed,steam and screams as babies cry
Clouds of smoke for the town to see rising with the souls that die.
Now bells ring out their clarion call and a town responds post haste
But as losses grow, eyes do flow for such a human waste......to continue
Goretti Moore brings all her years of stage craft to this lead role of Mrs McGee the mother of Peggy injured
in the crash.
IMPACT; in verse continued.
Hurtling to their destiny in this panicked prison of wood
Ten wagons full of humanity praying where ever they stood.
Shouts of 'Help!' confusion and fear from those securely locked in
Children thrown from windows on the sound of the 'Regular's' whistling.
Miss Penn, the inquest sectretary, has the vital task of recording the evidence of those interviewed.Gillian Faulkner portrays
this part with quite authority.
Impact in verse: continued
An eerie silence throughout the town as ninety are laid to rest,
And hundresd of injured are cared for by a community doing it best. ,,,,continued tomorrow
This morning we feature Sandra Armstrong taking on the part of 'Granny' who's slow pace meant her
lucky granddaughter is the last to board the train.
IMPACT story in verse.
Almost at the summit now the plan was split the train
'Take part to Bawn,time will allow'. Would end in blood and death and pain.
The last breakvan holds, the uncoupling complete but a shunt from the Engine starts the wheels to creep.