This is the first of a series of reflections from the members of ATG. An insight into those who have made the Group an enduring and endearing part of Armagh society for more than 50 years.
Armagh Theatre Group Feature Questionnaire
Bridie in a scene from 'OUR TOWN' in the grip of her 'Husband' Peter Kelly with Monique Rennie hoovering!
NAME AND OCCUPATION?
Bride Heaney, Primary School Teacher, 9-11 Year olds.
MEMBER OF ATG FOR HOW LONG?
I joined Armagh Theatre Group quite soon after I was married in 1988 and I stress there was no correlation there. My husband, Colin, worked with someone who knew Margery Quinn and I went along to a meeting in the Charlemont Hotel; that was it, I was in.
WHY DID YOU JOIN?
I had always enjoyed Speech/Drama from when I was a child. My speech teacher, Mrs Molly Mc Nally, Portadown, gave me a real love of the spoken word and I had been involved in school plays over the years so I wanted to continue that.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST PRODUCTION?
Honestly, I don’t recall the name of the play but it was a Victorian melodrama; I played the part of a servant girl, I carried a tray and I had two short lines to deliver I believe. I do remember a more established actor in it who would get ready to go on stage by sticking his chewing gum on the wooden steps backstage and pick the gum back up again when he’d finished…gross!!
YOUR FIRST DIRECTOR?
Again, I don’t remember clearly so obviously they didn’t make a great impression….let me think…oh it has to be Malachi Kelly then.
YOUR FAVOURITE THEATRE TO PERFORM IN?
Well, even though I’ve been lucky to have acted in quite a variety of theatres like The Marketplace, The Craic, The Lyric etc…my favourite theatre will always be our own Abbey Lane Theatre in Armagh where you can hear and feel the audience breathe, almost touching the front row, the best audiences ever. Mind you, can’t wait for the promised extension which promises a WC for the actors backstage.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE PLAY AND PART?
No no I refuse to choose! I’ve been so lucky to have played a variety of parts from funny to tragic and everything in between, don’t make me choose! I don’t care if it sounds corny but, when I’ve played a part, I always feel like I’ve met someone new and got to know them well, so I’ve loved every one of my characters…HOWEVER, anyone who knows me will not be surprised to hear that I especially enjoy a character with a tragic story to tell (tears are a must) so Blanche Du Bois from ‘Streetcar Named Desire’ directed by Margaret Marjoram, was a pleasure. She is only topped by Mai from ‘Our Lady of Sligo’, directed by our own Kevin Mc Eneaney – thanks Kevin! Mind you, I wasn’t thanking him for the six monologues I had to learn at the time!
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING STAGE MOMENT?
Mmmm that’s a difficult one, so many to choose from…like during ‘Our Town’ brilliantly directed by Margery Quinn, when I’m onstage miming my heart out at cooking the dinner and my stage husband doesn’t turn up for what seemed like ten minutes! Oh yes, all I can hear in the wings is, “Where the ….is Peter???”. Now he did turn up as cool as you like and by that stage I had cooked enough to feed the village, brilliant!
Also, once during ATG’s famous Pantomime years, I played Jack of Beanstalk fame and had to take a scroll from the panto horse’s neck to read out a message. When I unrolled the scroll I was faced with a horse’s head on a swimsuit model’s body (minus the swimsuit) and the front and back of the horse was giggling like mad! Thanks lads!! Luckily I’d learned my lines.
YOUR FAVOURITE PLAYWRIGHT/AUTHOR?
I like a lot of writers but my top two are Thomas Hardy and Sebastian Barry, sooo descriptive, delicious to read. As far as poetry goes, I love Instagram’s mysterious poet ‘Atticus’, definitely worth checking out. Also, any poet who has the courage to perform their own work at our monthly Open Mic nights in Abbey Lane – not to be missed!
BEST BEDSIDE READ?
No matter what novel or script I might be reading, I’ll have ‘The Power of Now’ By Ekhart Tolle handy; always worth a glance to remind you to live in the moment as much as possible.
The album you’ll never grow tired of?
I’m making my own albums now from Spotify, usually a mix of Motown/ disco/ funk…my favourite album forever is ‘Aisling 2’.
WHAT'S YOUR PARTY PIECE?
I do NOT have a party piece! I wish I did but I content myself with singing along, especially to ATG’s unofficial theme song ‘Amore’.
FAVOURITE FORM OF EXERCISE?
I enjoy yoga and dancing. I love to walk, on the roads or in the mountains and even sometimes run during my walk. But the best walk always ends up in a café or restaurant with my nearest and dearest tribe, nothing beats that.
THE MANTRA YOU LIVE BY?
Two come to mind-
1. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
2. Don’t be sad that it’s over, just be glad that it happened.
Oh there is a number three of course-
3. LEARN YOUR LINES!
Today's nugget of Wisdom;
'An actor is never to tired to tell you how hard they have 'worked'.
Unrelated to today's nugget....this scene is from a performance in Abbey Lane. Can you name it or the Barristers?
Today's nugget of wisdom.;
Just remember when you think all is lost, tomorrow remains.
Today's nugget of wisdom. If pregnancy were a book, they would cut the last two chapters.
(There will be no accompanying image with this thought)
Yesterdays answer; 'Night boat to Tangier' by Kevin Barry
The first 3 lines from the page below are taken from what Irish writer's novel?
Hello everyone, hope you are all cocooned and keeping well.
As the Market Place Theatre has closed for the forseeable future and we were to commence rehearsals for our IMPACT play this week, circumstances has
meant postponing these performances.
We have been offered a new date, week of November 9th 2020 provisionally, and all ticket holders for the orginal dates will be informed by MPT.
Fingers crossed we all get through this summer fit and able to hit the stage with our customary vigor and passion at rehearsals in Sept.
Best wishes to all.
Margery, Byddi,Tim and Malachi.
MARCH 14th 2020.
Our evenings of one act plays for March and early April along with this month's Open Mic have fallen foul to the ongoing World health crisis.
In postponing the events Armagh Theatre Group recognises our community responsibilities at this difficult time.
We apologise to our loyal supporters but assure you that these performances will be staged at a later date and announced here on our website and social media pages.
All tickets pre-booked will be reimbursed. Thank you and,
Keep safe - keep smiling - keep washing your hands!
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
As another storm blows over the country this morning last night Raquel (Rainbow Ashwood Jamacian) McKee created her own storm of entertainment as guest artist in Abbey Lane. Her infectious charm and presence had the audience particapating from the start. Pieces such as 'One potato,two potato' and 'Charles Drew' will stay long in the memory of those lucky to have been there. A great ambassador for African/ Carribean culture in N Ireland and a privilege to have her as our guest artist for Feburary.
Guest artist Raquel McKee
We started the night with an important public announcement from the Ministry of All Spinsters,the Bachelors and the Envied (Mastbates)
Warning single people of the dangers of unexpected proposals today 29th Feb. Malachi's rant 'The Great Ulster Forest' kicked of the night which included Sophie Ross singer/songwriter (To sleep at night); Thomas Healy singing ( Delicate by Damien Rice); Dymphna with her well known brand of comedy; Cathy Carson written word performer ( 2 pieces- Pockets & 17) France Lavery singing Honky Tonk Angles ( her own interpretation!);A short cartoon interlude; David Braziel Armagh's top poet (Selection of works); Kate McLaughlin ( her Father Harry McGrail's poem May Day); Adam Trotter (monologue American Civil War) Jim Doc singing his way (I Did It My Way); Rachel Toner, (story Not a child of the Troubles); and finished with Sophie returning with her version of (Bob Dillon's Blowin in the wind)
Rachel Toner Poet/Writer
Thanks to all who helped, who performed, who participated in any way but especially to all who braved the storms, the cold, the fear of proposals, the viruses and still travelled to Abbey Lane to make this another successful night for the best wee Open Mic ...ANYWHERE!
Next month's Open Mic is on 28th March when our special GUESTS are flying in from Newcastle-upon-Tyne (yes folks our fame has travelled over lands and seas) when we welcome David and Carol Cooke- known as 'Two many Cookes' or 'Cooke's R' Us'. This multity talented couple are here for ONE night only and as we are getting 2 guests for the price of 1 the house should be PACKED!
As the leading amature theatre group in Armagh area we have an opportunity for an Actor, approx 40 to 60 age groupto take part in a one act play written by Tennessee Williams. We are presenting this 3hander early APRIL in Abbey Lane Theatre Armagh where rehearsals will be directed by Felim Rafferty.