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December 2011

Winter 2011 Issue

Christmas Carol

As you know the Mill Production of A Christmas Carol finished up this Christmas week. Balally Players were well represented in this show. It was directed by our own Geoff O'Keeffe who has successfully made the big leap into professional theatre and has already accumulated a long list of credits. Gary Wall was Producer, Gerard Bourke, Set Designer and Jacqueline Wall, Music Director. In a cast of 21, Balally Players featured Sean Daly, Aoibhinn Finnegan, Niamh Holland, Joe McCarthy, Tony McGettigan Pat O'Grady & Muriel Caslin O'Hagan, and the irrepressible Brian Molloy in the central role of Scrooge. The production team included Jean Monahan, Pat Hand, Brendan Dunne, Lorraine O'Hagan, Fiona Walsh, Declan Brennan & Doris Cullen. It's been a terrific project that demanded huge commitment from everyone involved and was rewarded by enthusiastic receptions from the full houses at the Mill.

JEAN - from the Chair

"It has been a great season so far - many thanks to the hard working and dedicated Committee and to all who have contributed in any manner. We have 2012 to look forward to – in the meantime Happy Christmas, we look forward to seeing you at Christmas Party and long live the EURO!"

Party Date 13/01/12

Hilary would like to thank everyone who responded so quickly to the Christmas Party invitation, which in accordance with BP tradition, takes place in January ! 13th January 9pm Dinner at Roly Saul's Dundrum Pre Dinner drinks in Dundrum House from 8pm! Don't forget to get your money to Jean or Hilary before 30th December as per the info circulated to members on 6th December. If you are having any trouble getting the money to them, you can also give it to any other committee member, Doris, Tony, Joanne, Oran, Muriel or Claire who will make sure it reaches Balally coffers!

Aristocrats

Joe Jordan directed for Balally Players again this season following up on his very successful run of All My Sons in early 2011. This proved to be a challenging text for the actors to work with, with not a word wasted. Productions, like families, are usually greater than the sum of their parts and so too for this very enjoyable production. It was very gratifying to hear real self confessed Friel fanatics comment after the show on the senstive handling by the full ensemble of their respective characters.

Our thanks to Joe for his good humoured and committed direction even when the concentration of some occasionally faltered under the pressure - no names mentioned! Aristocrats marked a most enjoyable start to our 2011/2012 season, for the players as much as the patrons!

Hilary would like to let members know that that our Meet and Greet will resume in February 2012. Expect reminders from Hilary at members@balallyplayers.ie Hopefully the stretch in evenings will encourage plenty of members to come along and keep our group active and buzzing! If anyone suspects they are not on the regular email distribution list please let Oran, Hilary or Claire know and we will address that.

Forthcomimg Productions

Gary Wall and Oran O' Rua will each be directing a one act play in the Mill Studio from 22nd to 25th February. Keep an eye on line for more details.

Style as well as Substance!

Declan Brennan, our webmaster, not only makes us look good on the web and in our production programmes but keeps the Cyber wheels in motion in ways most of us don't really understand and probably never want to! Our best wishes to Declan who has returned to fulltime study this year and sincere thanks for being a constant support to the committee and whole group.

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June 2011

Summer 2011 Issue

Sinners Go Down A Treat

Congratulations to Brian Molloy and his band of “Sinners” on staging the group’s second full-length production this year, “Unoriginal Sin”, in the Mill Theatre from 26th to 30th April 2011. Billed as “the comedy with a little extra bite”, the show was not short on laughs. Each night the audience were drawn into the interactions of six quirky characters and their sometimes farcical situations, the plot all the time thickening under the skilful acting of lead actor, Declan Brennan. Declan had the unenviable task of playing Bill, “an alcoholic with the sex drive of an adolescent bull on steroids” - not an easy role to fill at the best of times, but one that Declan performed with aplomb each night!

Supporting Declan were cast members Ciara O’Byrne, who made a welcomed return to the group after a numbers of years absence to play Jenny (Bill’s long-suffering wife), Susie Nix, who played the innocent Eve, and Francis Cahill, who played the family lawyer, Miles. Len reprised his Fr Ted persona to play Eve’s father, Fr Tomlin, and Oran O’Rua played the cameo role of Eve’s fiancé and super-nerd librarian, Neville.

Led by director, Brian Molloy, the production was blessed with a great creative team behind the scenes that included Aoife Braiden, Lorraine O’Hagan and Muriel Caslin-O’Hagan adeptly managing the stage; the octopus-like operation of sound and lights by the multi-talented Mark McLoughlin; and the efficient PR work of Aoibhinn Finnegan making sure we had bums on seats each night. Costume and makeup were pulled together with input from Dympna Murray, Doris Cullen and Teresa Dempsey. We were delighted to work for the first time with Bobby White and his team from SceneMaker, who brought Joe McCarthy’s set design, and Brian Molloy’s vision of the setting for the play, to reality on stage.In the end, it seemed the only sin committed was breaking the lesser known twelfth commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Make People Laugh”, but I think we’ll be forgiven!!

Tarry Ho! - Mill Celebrates 5th Birthday

Happy 5th Birthday Mill Theatre!! It’s hard to believe it’s only been five years since the theatre opened—there’s been so much going on that it seems the theatre’s always been there and at this stage it’s hard to imagine performing in any other venue! The Mill celebrated its fifth birthday in style this June with a two week run of Conall Morrison’s “Tarry Flynn”, directed by Padraic McIntyre, and starring some of the best actors drawn from the local amateur groups. Balally Players was particularly well represented with Claire O’Donovan playing the role of Tarry’s mother, Sean Murphy as Tarry’s girlfriend-stealing “friend”, Eusebius, and Aoibhinn Finnegan as Tarry’s love interest, Mary Reilly. Excellent sup-porting performances were also given by Joanne Keane, Joe McCarthy, and Hilary Madigan, with hilarious ensemble and animal acting from Eilis O’Brien, Doris Cullen, Ronan Horgan, Jarushka Naidoo, Fergal Cleary, Mairin Condon, Niall O’Kennedy, and Teresa Dempsey. Pat O’Grady’s per-formance as the priest, Fr Daly, was particu-larly scary, and the image of Mairin Condon being born as a calf and then taking her first faltering steps was a moment of genius, made all the more comic by Tom Ronayne, playing the bull father of the calf, lighting a cigar and drinking brandy to celebrate!

Well done to all involved in this fitting trib-ute to the Mill Theatre and it’s importance as a resource for the local community and its amateur groups. Here’s hoping the theatre made lots of cash to keep things going for many more years to come!!

View from the Director’s Chair

In April 2011, the group was delighted to have Fiona Walsh make her directorial debut with the company, directing the Greek classic, “Medea”, by Euripides. When asked about the choice of play Fiona says she was delighted with the opportunity to direct and wanted to make the most of it by doing something differ-ent, while at the same time picking a play that would work in the Mill Studio Space. In total, Fiona coordinated the efforts of some ten cast members and seven crew to bring Euripides' tale of betrayal and re-venge (with a splash of rage and passion!) to life on stage. Fiona says she was par-ticularly conscious of the difficulty in staging the ending of the play (a chariot being pulled by fire-breathing dragons!), but thanks to the efforts of cast and crew this difficulty was cleverly overcome.

Fiona is quick to recognise the contributions of all her cast and crew in bringing the play from the page to the stage, and in particular singles out Jenny Flynn, who played the difficult leading role of Medea and Aoibhinn Finnegan, who acted as producer/programme designer/PR person/whatever else needed to be done! The high point of directing according to Fiona was seeing everyone’s hard work come together each night. The play was a great success and enjoyed by those who came to see it, so well done to all involved both on and off-stage with “Medea”. We look forward to seeing more from Fiona in the future!

Shakespeare Meets Stoppard

With all the performance and pageantry of our usual Shakespeare productions, Balally Players and director Gerard Bourke were proud to bring Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” to two very different venues in June. For four nights, Gerard and his team celebrated midsummer in Airfield, from 18th to 21st June (Midsummer's Night). As usual, the weather played its part and moved the per-formances indoors, but luckily the cast and crew got to do it all again in the Mill Thea-tre, Dundrum, on 23rd June. Not familiar with Stoppard’s plays, I wasn’t sure what to expect when someone told me that the play was like “Waiting for Godot”, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a very funny take on the exploits of the two minor characters from Shakespeare's “Hamlet” as they navigate their limbo world between scenes.

The play has been a huge favourite with au-diences ever since its first performance on stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966. Set “in the wings”, in all senses of that phrase, there are brief guest appearances by major characters from Hamlet, including the Prince himself, each of whom graces the stage with fragments of the original work. However, between these momentary lapses, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern give expres-sion to their confusion in a play that is great fun at the most respectful expense of the Bard's immortal lines!

There were some particularly entertaining performances from Brendan O’Sullivan as Rosencrantz (or was it Guildenstern?!) and Gerry Clabby in the title roles, and the en-semble work by Brendan Dunne and his band of mute Tragedians was hilarious. Congratulations to all involved!

Acting Workshop

Our second workshop this year will be de-voted to improvisation and will be delivered by Neil Curran. Neil is founder and chair-man of “No Drama Theatre” and “Laughalot Improv” and teaches a weekly improvisation and drama class. The workshop will be held in the Methodist Hall from 8:00pm on 27th June 2011 and is open to participants of any acting ability. Promising to be highly interactive, the work-shop will also allow participants to engage and learn at a level that is suitable to them. The cost for the workshop is €6 per person and further information can be obtained from Dave Walsh at (085) 7303211.

Members’ News

Congratulations to Jacqui Dooley, who recently completed her two sponsored runs in aid of The Children’s Medical and Research Foundation (CMRF), raising €800 for the charity in the process. Speaking after the two runs Jacqui thanked everyone who helped her raise money and supported her in the mini-marathons. Having injured her foot while working backstage on “The Plough and the Stars” last year (the things you do for your art!), there was some concern whether Jacqui would make it through both runs. However, Jacqui was pleased to say (and we were pleased to hear), “I didn’t have any trouble with the dodgy leg, which shows it’s well and truly mended!”. Next on the agenda is the small matter of the wedding to Gary over the Summer. We wish Jacqui well in her next marathon challenge and hope she won’t be “hitting The Wall” any time soon!!

Don’t Miss The Olympic Experience, Live at Scott’s Bar, Dun Laoighre

Our very own Len Nealon and his band, The Olympic Experience, will be performing in Scott’s Bar, Dun Laoighre, on 1st July 2011 from 8:30pm. The gig is free, but donations will be collected in aid of the very worth charity, Concern Worldwide. According to Len, there’ll be a range of music to suit most tastes including hits from The Boss Bruce Springsteen, Thin Lizzy and Kings of Leon to name but a few. All members are cordially invited to come along and join in the craic!

Summer Barbie

We hear our Social Secretary, Fiona Buckley, is planning an end-of-year Summer barbecue for all members in Fillies, in Leopardstown on Saturday 9th July (starting time tbc). More details to come from Fiona shortly, but keep your diary free!!

DLI Summer School 2011

The Drama League of Ireland is holding its annual Summer School in the University of Limerick from 30th July to 6th August 2011. There are six wonderful courses to choose from ranging from beginners and physical acting to beginners and experienced direction, and a course on the magical and elusive discipline that is Clown. There’s also an extracurricular social programme that’s second to none, so if any of this floats your boat, contact Summer School Director Anne Meketarian (email: annemek@eircom.net) or Jane Leslie (email: ejaneleslie@gmail.com) to book your place. The cost for the one-week residential programme is €440 and further information on the courses can be found on the Drama League of Ireland website at http://www.dli.ie

 

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December 2010

Winter 2010 Issue

Chairperson’s Address

Balally Players, I applaud you! Though it was not all ‘plain sailing’ in the preparations for the All Ireland One Act Finals in Dundrum, Balally Players got all hands on deck and took on board the old Latin proverb, “When there is no wind, row.”

I am really proud of how everybody rowed in and launched a highly successful Drama Finals. Many thanks to all who helped make it happen. Great credit is due to Karen Carleton, Festival Director, who steered the course and brought it all together. It was a pleasure to host the 13 groups that participated in the Finals. The feedback from them about their experiences has been really positive. Congratulations to Jean Monahan and her cast and crew on reaching the Finals with ‘Like a Virgin’.

We are planning a busy programme for next year, which you can read more about in this newsletter and on our website at www.balallyplayers.com If there is anything else you would like to see happening do let me know.

I’d like to wish you all a healthy and happy Christmas and a good year to come.

All the best, Joanne.

Joanne Keane
Chairperson
Balally Players

Balally Celebrates Success on the One Act Circuit

Congratulations to Jean Monahan, director, and the cast and crew of ‘Like A Virgin’ on their success on the One Act Circuit this year. The play won a number of accolades while touring around the country in November, scooping the top prize at the Palmerstown and Maudebawn One Act Festivals. Numerous other awards were picked up along the way, including Best Actress for Aoibhinn Finnegan, an Adjudicator Award for Best Moment in Theatre in Ballymahon, and Best Stage Management for our stage manager extraordinaire Patrick Hand.

The wins in Palmerstown and Maudebawn were enough to see the group through to the top eight in the Open Section of the All-Ireland Finals. The Finals weekend itself was the culmination of over five months of work behind the scenes under the direction of Festival Director, Karen Carleton. All said, this year’s Finals were easily one of the most memorable so far. Highlights included the slick presentation of the Finals draw, the stunning front page photo in the Irish Independent, the fire-juggling stilt-walkers at the opening of the Festival , the delicious food in the Dom Marmion Centre and the spectacular finale presentation.

Although Aoibhinn managed to scoop the Asunta Delaney Scholarship for her performance, the group were ultimately pipped by a point into fourth place. Reaching the Finals and producing a Festival that will live on in the memories of all the participating groups is something of which we can be very proud, so well done everyone!!

The Year So Far...

Our productions kicked off this year with “Playin’ It Cute: A One Act and Two Short Plays”, which took place in the Mill Theatre Studio Space from Wednesday, 20th October to Saturday, 23rd October 2010. ‘Like A Virgin’, by Gordon Steel, directed by Jean Monahan, was our One Act Circuit play this year and presented a romp through the bubble-gum years of teenage life. Angela (Aoibhinn Finnegan) and Maxine (Deirdre Mullen), besotted with Madonna, play truant from school, form a band, attempt to write songs and, with hairbrushes in hand, live out their adolescent dreams of becoming famous. Meanwhile Angela's mother, Viv (Antoinette Fahey), struggles to come to terms with her marriage breakup and her daughter's explosive lifestyle, as the play roller coasters through hope, sex, ambition, despair, and, most of all, love.

‘Time Flies’, by David Ives, directed by Brian Molloy, was a sweet romance about two angst -ridden mayflies who discover in the middle of their first date that their life span is only one day, which doesn’t leave much time for flirting! It’s a play that truly tests the old cliché: Live every day as if it’s your last. Finally, ‘The Mystery at Twicknam Vicarage’, also by David Ives, directed by Oran O’Rua, was a hilarious parody of Masterpiece Theatre-style, English drawing-room mystery drama - a body on the carpet, three ridiculous suspects and a bumbling Scotland Yard detective solve philosophical quandaries as they investigate: Who killed Jeremy Thumpington-Fffienes? All three shows were performed in the Mill Theatre Studio and were greeted with great acclaim by all those who came to see them. Congratulations to all three directors, cast and crew on their achievement in this.

While all this was going on work was quietly underway, under the steady direction of Teresa Dempsey, for this year’s ‘Christmas At Airfield’ production. The group presented its annual heart-warming selection of festive entertainment once again this year from 9th to 11th December 2010 in Airfield House, and on 15th and 16th December 2010 in The Mill Theatre Studio. Audiences for all five performances were delighted with the presentations, recitals and beautiful singing this year, so congratulations to Teresa and her team for providing much needed festive cheer in these gloomy economic days!

‘All My Sons’ in Mill Theatre, 25th—29th January 2011

In the new year, Balally Players will present Arthur Miller's classic story of war profiteering and its tragic consequences on family life. ‘All My Sons’ is based on a true story, which Arthur Miller's then mother-in-law pointed out in an Ohio newspaper.

The story described how a woman informed on her father who had sold faulty parts to the U.S. military during World War II. Although written over 60 years ago, the central theme of 'All My Sons’ is particularly relevant today in light of the financial scandals in our own country and abroad. Set in a small town in America, this is a story of moral obligation and, ultimately, retribution.

Winner of the Drama Critics' Award for Best New Play in 1947, ‘All My Sons’ established Arthur Miller as a leading voice in the American theatre. ‘All My Sons’ introduced themes that thread through Miller's work as a whole: the relationships between fathers and sons, and the conflict between business and personal ethics.

Although a well-established director for many years now, this is Joe Jordan’s first directorial outing with Balally Players, so we wish Joe and all the cast and crew of ‘All My Sons’. the very best with their show. Of course, the best way to do this is to buy a ticket and come and see the show, so please book now!! Bookings: Tel (01) 269 9340.

'Christmas' Party

As has become the tradition for quite some time now, our Christmas party will be held a few weeks into the New Year. The date for your diaries is Saturday, 5th February 2011 and further details of what’s planned will be emailed to everyone in the New Year. We’re also planning a number of other social outings, a theatre night and a number of workshops, so it’s going to be a busy few months ahead—keep your diaries clear!!

April Production

The group has a slot for a full length show in the Mill Theatre in April 2011. Following the production of ‘All My Sons’ in January 2011, it was decided that it would be good to do a comedy for a change, so the Committee are already in discussion with potential directors for this slot and further details will be announced in the New Year. Readings are provisionally scheduled for 17th and 19th January 2011 in St Tiernan’s, so please come along to find out more.

Summer Shakespeare

It feels like early days yet to be talking about next Summer’s Shakespeare production, but it’s worth mentioning as the Committee have already been doing some planning for it! Karen has kindly agreed to act as production manager and the plan at the moment is to invite another guest director to direct the show for the group. Details of readings will be announced early next year and are likely to be in late February or early March 2011.

Gary Pops The Question

Congratulations to Gary Wall and Jacqueline Dooley on their recent engagement. Almost three years to the day that they first hit it off Gary finally did the decent thing and asked Jacqui to marry him. We hear that the wedding plans are underway and a date in July 2011 is pencilled in for the big day. We’re delighted they’re tying the knot and wish them happiness in the run up to and during their nuptials.

New Directions, Workshops

This year the Committee is pioneering a new initiative to encourage and support anyone in the group who would like to turn their hand to directing a short piece. The plan is to book the Mill Studio for a week at the end of March 2011 to run three one-act shows. There’s already been some interest from members of the group in directing, so the Committee will be allocating slots in the New Year and arranging for readings to take place towards the end of January 2011. We would encourage all members of the group to come to these readings and show your support for these new directors and this new venture.

As mentioned above, the Committee are looking at the possibility of having more workshops, if that’s what members want, so if there are specific skills or techniques that you would like to hone and develop through a workshop with a theatre professional, let someone on the Committee know and we’ll set it up.

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December 2009

Winter 2009 Issue

Yuletide felicitations and goodwill to all! Times are tough for many right now; indeed we are all feeling the pinch of recession and redundancies. However Balally Players Theatre Company is a great antidote to the budgetary blues. Congratulations to all involved in this year’s activities. The standard of performance was really high, production values excellent and there was great generosity of spirit in those who helped behind the scenes. Many thanks too to all who supported our shows. We look forward to even bigger and better things in 2010. Padraic McIntyre, adjudicator at the One Act Finals in Longford said ‘Sport is the heart of the country but drama is the soul’. Balally Players warms the heart and feeds the soul! Thanks for playing your part in this. Merry Christmas, and the very best to you in the coming year.

Joanne Keane
Chairperson

The ‘Plough’ at The Mill and On Tour

We are all very much looking forward to Gary Wall’s first full length production. It’s O’Casey’s ‘The Plough & The Stars’ and it plays The Mill Theatre from Tuesday February 2nd to Saturday 6th. Gary has quite a different vision for this play and has an appealing mix of ages in his cast...Claire O’Donovan (remember Claire in ‘How The Other Half Loves’?) plays Ginnie Gogan and Fiona Buckley (Vinegar Tom?) plays Bessie Burgess—and of course we are very interested in Dave Walshe’s creation of ‘Fluther’. Strong back up from actors Oran O Rua as The Covey and Peter Flood as Uncle Peter. Gary’s best pal, Kevin Fahey finds himself as a one line british soldier –what you do to your friends! Cast has Declan as The Voice and a soldier, Aoibhinn plays Mollser and Judy McKeever, Rosie Redmond. A big welcome to two new cast members, Rob and Aoife as Jack and Nora Clitheroe. Production Manager is Jean Monahan. The ‘Plough’ will then take to the festival road in late February. Ist one up is Rush where Paraic McIntyre is adjudicator, next far north to Newtownstewart, then on to Castleblayney where they will meet with probably the biggest critic, Peter Sheridan. After that it’s Shercock, Newry, Cavan and Rathangan festivals. Stage Manager is Wes Scully with assistance from Izzy Fox. Transport Manager will be the redoubtable Pat Hand and if you can help in any way, email Gary at gwgwgw@hotmail.com

Christmas at Airfield

Airfield once again sold out for its run on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, December 2nd,3rd and 4th. Congratulations to Teresa Dempsey and her all singing, all comedy and all monologue teams. Great to see Oisin & Joe from Many Young Men there and a warm welcome to lovely Louise Casey, a wonderful new voice for Airfield. The mince pies and mulled wine went down a treat too. Congratulations to Fiona Walsh for her stint as a mulled wine virgin!

The Year Ahead

Stage Combat workshops begin in February prior to readings for the Summer Shakespeare. Tutor will be Paul Burke, President of the Stage Combat Academy. Paul choreographed the fight scenes for the Abbey’s Romeo and Juliet. Details on website in January

Old Saybrook

January 7th and 8th at the MILL THEATRE STUDIO. 8.00 ‘Old Saybrook’ by Woody Allen. Directed by Lorcan Dunne and featuring Orla Cooney, Richard Stowe, Emma Coombes, Sean Ahern, Dan Atkins, Joan McKevitt and Derek Greene. The play will represent Balally Players at the Bray One-Act Festival at the Mermaid Theatre on Wednesday January 27th. ‘Old Saybrook’ is an enjoyable comedy, plenty of humour, unexpected revelations and set at a bar-b-que party– something to cheer up those January blues! Pictured at rehearsal

Showcasing ….. New Directors

This Spring sees the opportunity for 3 people wishing to try their wings as director ..find your short performance piece, hold auditions and present it in the Studio in late April...get ready, set, GO …..

Only The Best For The Dundrum One-Act Festival

Jean Monahan can certainly call the winners as many of the shows appearing at the Dundrum Festival later made their appearance on the All Ireland stage. While coming third at Dundrum, Bradan won the All Ireland Open Final at Longford with The Quality of Boiled Water. Silken Thomas who also appeared at our festival came third in the All Ireland while our winner 36 Players took Best Actress. Prosperous with Zoo Story were also in the shake-up and Breiffni Players, twice winners at Dundrum, were very close runners up in the Confined Section. The standard of acting was superb in many shows. Congratulations to Jean and her team and to all the group members who helped out as minders, time keepers, hosts, tea makers, sandwich makers, and general tidier uppers—A special award to Tony for finding all those lost on the roundabout and to Jean for the best and booziest barm brack!

New Arrivals

Two of those who were of great assistance to the director and cast of our last show (pictured right) were Sean Murphy and Claire Reilly. Both worked on the fabulous programme produced by Sean’s company Xwerx. Sean and Claire both starred in ‘How The Other Half Loves’ in March this year and since then Sean's first baby, a boy, called Oscar has arrived and Claire is expecting a darling baby girl. What worrying about your lines can bring about…!

Wow! What audiences… . Many young men is a record breaker

A wonderfully evocative poster, a fabulous setting, beautifully lit and a committed and talented cast gave The Mill Theatre 5 sold out nights in November. Gerard and Karen conspired one short afternoon in Ely’s wine bar to dream up the setting, Mick Behan and Pat Hand made it all happen and Paul Macken contributed hugely through out the production and in the really creative lighting effects. A very cheerful cast, led by Francis as a hugely energetic Danger and with two smashing musical directors in Jacqueline Dooley and Muriel Caslin O’Hagan was pampered and minded throughout by production manager Hilary Madigan. It was a happy and united team and new members Joe McCarthy, Gareth Murphy, Oisin Gibson, Sean Daly, Kevin 0’Flynn,Stephanie Ruane and Grainne McCarthy found themselves sharing with helpful senior company members. Forty people were involved, from Derek Greene who had a crash course in sound design in the run up to opening night to Dympna Murray who began to plan costumes many months ago. The Theatre had calls from customers saying how much they enjoyed the show, encouraging the theatre to run more of the same. In fact, a second week would also have sold out– but who is to know that a play is going to be a smash-hit? On opening night, what a surprise to hear the audience sing along with Claire on her rendition of ‘Irene Goodnight’ or to hear the senior ladies in the front row encourage Peg (beautifully achieved by Jacqueline Dooley) not to marry Joe! While many would not be John B Keane fan’s, in a inspiring production, he is still the people’s favourite.

Year To Date?

Well, its been a very busy season since September. Balally Players as a company has represented Ireland abroad, cast two big plays, actors and crew of around 60 group members, welcomed new members, some to a one act play for Bray Festival, ran a most successful one act festival at the Mill, produced a Christmas variety show with 19 performers and succeeded in bringing the next All Ireland Finals to the Mill Theatre in 2010. Hopefully all those involved not only enjoyed their roles but also had the opportunity to improve their craft and hone there acting skills….

WHATS NEXT??

· Performance of Old Saybrook by Woody Allen at The Mill Studio Jan 7th and 8th. See you all there.
· Party party –Keep your Saturday nights in January free for the Balally New Year Party
· Visit to the New Grand Canal Theatre, Saturday January 23rd at 2pm. All Welcome. It’s Amazing! 2012 seats.
· Rehearsals, set building, costume, publicity and performance of ‘The Plough & The Stars’ for February 2nd.
· Discussion and pre planning for the All Ireland One-Act Finals in December
· Workshops on Fencing and Stage Combat for the Summer Shakespeare.
· New Directors Showcase—auditions for short pieces put forward by some exciting directors
· Valentines Day— get ready for readings for Shakespeare, directed by Karen for Airfield at Mid summer
· Rehearsals for Balally piece in ‘A Night To Remember’ at the Mill- Sunday February 28th.
· Late Feb/March—show’s on the road for ‘The Plough’
· Workshops and more workshops and more rehearsals for studio
· Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse….
· Polish by nervous directors for new work with several shows nightly at the Mill
· Shakespearean Dance—a masked ball –more rehearsal!

Geoffrey O’Keeffe Adjudicator….

Geoff has had a mad season, beginning with his appearance in the Noel Coward show in the Teachers, Club, directing new writing—Lost Weekend- at the Axis in Ballymun and starring with Brian Molloy in Pat Burkes production of A Whistle in the Dark’….and to top it all, getting his first adjudication gigs. Congratulations Geoff and come home soon !

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June 2009

Summer 2009 Issue

First Up in August 2009 (20th—26th) is the trip to Monaco to represent Ireland at the World Mondial Du Theatre. Best Wishes to Gary Wall, Hilary Madigan, Geoffrey O’Keeffe and crew. Anybody who hasn’t yet decided on their summer holiday might like to join those traveling— email Gary on gwgwgw@hotmail.com

September 7th: rehearsals begin for ‘Many Young Men’
September: Play Readings with Tony McGettigan
September:One-Act Readings
October: Airfield Auditions Teresa Dempsey
October 29th—31st Dundrum One-Act Festival: Jean Monahan
Nov 9th: Mill Theatre ‘Many Young Men of Twenty’
December: Christmas at Airfield-
January 2010 Bray One-Act Festival
February 1st: The Plough & The Stars’ at the Mill Theatre
February/March: Developing New Talent: Emerging Directors and Techies Showcase
March 1st: Outdoor Production for Airfield– Readings.
April—June: Studio Scenes Outdoor Airfield Gardens

NEW SEASON NEWS:
WHATS IN STORE FOR YOU IN 2009/10
June 09
THE MILL 29TH & 30TH JUNE…..
READINGS FOR BOTH FULL LENGTH PLAYS: • MANY YOUNG MEN OF TWENTY • THE PLOUGH & THE STARS • 8.00p.m. All Welcome

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN DEVELOPING YOUR TALENT AS A DIRECTOR? OR AS A TECHIE?THEN LET US KNOW ABOUT I T . NEW MENTOR SCHEME. TALK TO JOANNE ON 0877977067

COMMITTEE 2009 / 2010
Chair: Joanne Keane
Hon. Treasurer: Tony McGettigan
Hon Sec. Karen Carleton
Members: Teresa Dempsey, Jacqueline Dooley, Peter
Flood, Jean Monahan, Len Nealon.

Happy Holidays to All

Wanted….
Production Managers For each show...Ask Muriel or Niamh what its about. . and contact the directors. BALALLY MOBILE:087-694 4088

Membership Fee due now: 40 euro for the year. Concession for students and unemployed. Tony McGettigan at 087 138

 

A Word from Geoff…..Outgoing Chairperson’s Address

As we now approach the end of yet another successful year in Balally Players, it has been a great honour to serve as your Chairperson. It has been a year of excitement, growth and artistic triumph. It has been a year of hard work that brought its own particular set of challenges. It has been a year of changes, both to our artistic programming and to the aministration of our productions. Change is inevetable and while there is always the temptation to resist change, life never stays still. We empower ourselves when we take charge of change. We learn, we grow and we become richer for this.

My work as Chairperson over the year has been both rewarding and stimulating, due in no small part to the huge and generous contributions of your committee. Each one has played a part in ensuring that Balally Players stays on top of its game, both on and off the stage. To Tony, Karen, Jean, Teresa, Muriel, Joanne, Gary and Judy I thank you for your unwavering support. I also congratulate Pat Hand, Declan Brennan and Len Nealon for their invaluable work

Last year I spoke of the need for more on the ground support for Directors of major productions. I am glad to report that this materialised and we are indebted to Muriel Caslin O’ Hagan and Niamh Daly for the invaluable work they did in their roles as production manager for The Great Hunger and How the Other Half Loves. I also asked us to consider that our artistic schedule at the time, in some ways had us ‘locked in’ and didn’t necessarily allow for new adventures. Despite some natural reservations but with the support of the committee, we entered the RTE Full Length Circuit for the first time. I think the many members who were involved in this journey, will say that despite all the hard work invoved, this was a most rewarding and exciting departure for the group. The door is now wide open for other directors who wish to share their vision with a much wider audience.

I also referred last year to the fact that not all members appeared willing to help out and get stuck in with the more unglamorous tasks associated with a drama group. I think for the most part that this situation has improved and we are seeing new faces becoming the ‘grafters’ within the group. This can only be a good thing and I applaud all those who got stuck in.

There is one area though that still causes me to worry, infact, I would go so far to say that it annoys me greatly, What I refer to is the fact that each year there are a sizeable number of paid up members who do not attend our productions unless they are directly involved in them. It is imperative that we support each production, we are not separate groups, we are one group. I would implore each individual member to do the right thing.

In many ways we are a victim of our own success. The group is widely recognised as one of the premiere amateur companies in the country and each year we are atracting more and more members. It becomes increasingly difficult to facilitate everyone all of the time. Individuals join Drama groups for different reasons, for some it’s a break from the routine of work, for others it’s a social outlet, for others its a stepping stone to other things and then for some its a passion.There are many passionate people in this group and this is what I think sets Balally Players apart., Our passion makes us strive for excellence, it makes us take risks, it makes us give 100%. I wonder did Jean and Karen ever envisage the critical success that the group has achieved, when they along with others founded the company over 25 years ago? I wonder did Teresa and Doris think that they would be in for the long haul when they joined the group a year after its inception? It is the vision of these people and the very many more who have contributed to the group with a passion, that has created an environment where we feel enabled and confident to push the boundaries of amateur theatre.

My two years as Chairperson have had many personal highlights and I hope that in some way I have fostered a spirit of adventure, welcoming the challenge of the new and unexplored and the need to constantly push ourselves. I don’t measure our succes by the money in the bank, the members in the books or the bums on seats, I measure it through the quality of the work that we produce. It is work that I am very proud to be associated with. I feel that in these two years I have given lot to Balally but got back so much in return. But, as I said earlier life does not stand still and we must embrace change. New challenges for me mean that I will not be in a position to put myself forward again as Chairperson and we now need some one else to step up to the mark and lead the group forward. Someone else who will embrace the challenges that lie ahead.

I wish to thank everyone who has given me their support, guidance and friendship through out the last two years. I wish the incoming Chairperson the best of luck, we have achieved so much in Balally Players, but there will be new goals and new challenges and this is how it should be. Embrace these challenges and lead the changes that will come, in doing so this group will continue to grow and excel.

Thank you.
Geoffrey O’Keeffe

 

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May 2009

The Great Hunger and The All Ireland - Text Best Wishes
Why not text your best wishes to your friends in the cast for Wednesday night…
May 6th when they appear in the Dean Crowe Hall, Athlone in the All Ireland Finals..
And again on Monday May 11th when they appear in the Ulster Finals ...
And even if you don’t know all of them that well, just make sure you wish a cast member, crew member or the director well. It’s important to let them know how proud we are of their achievement.

A great night and all were welcome to the reception held in the studio to congratulate the Great Hunger team. The champagne (!!) was flowing, the food was plentiful and cast, crew and ballallyers were in flying form..having had two seconds and a third going into the final two performances, expectations were low for the All Ireland but two wins in Newry and Carrickmore made all the difference...pics available later…..

Workshops
The upcoming workshops will we hope be held in Dom Marmion House in Dundrum. The Committee are in the course of finalizing arrangements. Each Wednesday workshop will begin at 7.30 with a cup of tea/coffee and end around 10p.m. There is a small charge of €5 per paid up member. Those who haven’t paid up this year will be welcome at a fee of €10 per session. Very good value indeed and supported by Balally Players. The Drama League of Ireland will supply the best of professional tutors for two of these workshops. To make sure you have a place, call Joanne at 087797 7067 or Karen at 087 670 1252. Come along and enjoy..Oh and if you would like to audition for the next production, it might be advisable to attend that particular workshop. Why not all three?

Wednesday May 20th
‘Inhabiting The Character’
Internalizing.. what does it mean? Being Truthful..Making your character believable? How do you do that? This is a must do workshop for all actors.

Wednesday May 27th
What Style Are We Playing?
Where’s the line between tragedy and drama, between high comedy and farce, between naturalism and heightened playing ... and then there’s surrealism A fun evening for all….

Wednesday June 3rd
‘The Plough and The Stars’
This workshop will be led by Gary Wall whose production of the ‘Plough and The Stars’ will be cast in early September for a performance date in late January in The Mill Theatre

WHAT.. NO SHAKESPEARE??
For the first time in five years, we are guaranteed a great week’s weather in mid June. That’s because every other June it rained on Airfield at 9.00p.m. This year it will probably be sunshine all the way!

The first Shakespeare play in Airfield Gardens was ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in June 2001. Since then, around midsummer, we have presented the bard’s best comedies to very appreciative audiences. This year, we were in a difficult situation as many of our actors were tied up in the All Ireland and Karen was directing for The Mill until early April. Shakespeare needs at least 12 weeks rehearsal. What to do? The committee discussed various options but none of them were fully satisfactory. It’s disappointing, particularly for actors who were looking forward to having a role at the end of the year. It’s also a shame to break the tradition even for one year but in some ways, it’s a victim of the group’s success. In 2010...More Shakespeare!

Congratulations to Niamh Holland who won her scholarship to the DLI Summer School at Cavan Festival. Well Done. The Committee has awarded this year’s Balally summer school scholarship to Matt Powell. Matt was instrumental in putting the set for the Great Hunger together with Pat Hand...the dynamic duo! Congratulations to both.

Planning Day
Your committee will meet for a planning day on Saturday June 6th. All suggestions and ideas for the next season or two or three, please text to Geoffrey at 087 993 6307

AGM
The date for this year's AGM is WEDNESDAY JUNE 17TH.

Balally Players Summer Outing
So its off on a bus trip..our day out..this year we head north to the beautiful area of Carlingford. So put the date in your diary: Saturday May 23rd. Contact Teresa at 0851125882

Message from The Mill
The Board of The Mill Theatre gratefully acknowledge the support of the members of Balally Players who volunteer for front of house duties once a month. It would not be possible to run the theatre without your help and support. Thank you. New volunteers always welcome. Call Karen on 087 6760 1252

Hard Times
Some of our members have recently been made redundant. Others have simply lost their jobs. We wish them and all of our members a safe passage through this difficult time and hope the future brings new employment and better times.

HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES’ PLAYS TO FULL HOUSES
Tuesday 24th—Saturday 28th March..The Alan Ayckbourn show began rehearsal in late 2008 and set building in February. The show required a complicated setting and it was necessary to build new patio doors and a porch. Looked wonderful! The actors had a mountain to climb in terms of lines and cueing. Four people and sometimes six all speaking together and no cue given directly. Congratulations to the hard graft and experience of the cast and their commitment to the play. The crew,particularly props, had Mount Everest to climb with over 100 pieces of props and three long tables full of stuff. List upon list from Niamh and all brought together by a very disciplined Bernard Doyle. Bernard made everybody hop! It was great to see him back in action. Doris, Jean, Teresa made their own contribution and gave a great sense of security. With twenty people or more from the group out on the circuit, we were blessed with new people:Helen, Lorraine, Aisling, Therese, Yvonne, Stacy and Sarah who all made a great contribution over the rehearsal and the run. Thanks too to Ciaran and Fergal, to Bobby and to all those who helped out. Audiences were fabulous. There’s nothing to match a full house having a ball! The best audience numbers we have had to date. Balally can give itself a pat on the back!

Team:
Director Karen Carleton.
Production Manager Niamh Daly
Stage Manager Bernard Doyle
ASM Joanne Keane, Fergal Cleary
Costume Design Dympna Murray
Lighting Design Paul Macken
Sound Declan Brennan
Props Helen Martin, Lorraine Hedderman, Sarah Cunningham

ALL SET FOR MONACO
Mondial Du Theatre Will host representatives from 48 companies from different countries. Hosted by the Studio of Monaco with the support of the Principality of Monaco, this is the 14th International World Festival of Theatre. Workshops and colloquiums take place daily and three performances take place each evening.

Ireland is represented by Melody from Balally Players, starring Geoffrey O Keeffe and Hilary Madigan, directed by Gary Wall. They will perform on Monday August 24th and Tuesday 25th with India and Peru. The final evening will take place on the terrace of the Casino of Monte Carlo. The Festival Village will be located in the Auditorium Rainier 111. Around 20 members of Balally Players plan to take their summer holiday in Monaco this year. They will be great ambassadors for Ireland. Bon Chance!

Our ‘Hunger’ was well nourished on the festival circuit! - Production Manager's Memoir
As we approach the All-Ireland and the All-Ulster Finals Balally Players may be justly proud of the success of The Great Hunger on the festival circuit. When we started out with this play, way back last year, - seasons ago, little did we think that we could acquit ourselves so well on our first venture into the full-length circuit. The play was a challenging piece to attempt, but we knew we were in capable hands under Geoffrey’s direction. He put together a team of players and crew and it was a joy to be involved at every level. We worked hard, and we also managed to play hard here and there too!

The audition process was a revelation in itself. The contenders were required to do all sorts of unspeakable contortions! I think some were terrified to appear at the second round, wondering what kind of extraordinary performance this was going to produce! Nevertheless, a cast and crew were chosen and rehearsals got under way. We examined the script - such as it was, drilled to find some understanding of what the play was about and finally began to see Geoff’s vision for this amazing piece of theatre. When it came to the set design discussions, I began to have a sinking feeling of being way out of my depth, but listening to those two artists Geoff and Gerard hammering out creative ideas was an eye opener for me. Then of course, we had to source the materials and props e.g. galvanise, tabernacle, mother-effigy, sturdy gate, rusty bath, buckets, horse collar etc. etc. not to mention the earth/muck for the stage, all very glamorous, I don’t think! This was a dirty play! Undaunted, our Stage Manager Pat mysteriously produced the goods. Night after night, he quietly arrived to rehearsal with more ‘stuff’. He is a miracle worker! He and ASM Orla ensured that each show ran on oiled wheels.

The Great Hunger is not a play that appeals to all audiences, but we were well satisfied with the support for and feedback from the run at the Mill. And so it was decided to plunge into the full-length circuit. We competed in six festivals, which in itself was an achievement. Usually groups who are new to the full-length circuit find it hard to be accepted into festivals at all. But Balally Players’ well-earned reputation preceded them and opened doors. We achieved what we set out to do, i.e. qualify for Athlone. Our success is well documented on the website. The spread of awards over the cast and crew is testament to the standard of ensemble work. Acting, lighting, sound, costuming, make-up etc were of the highest standard, but my award goes to everybody who so willingly helped with set construction and more importantly set strike - sweeping up that muck was some challenge! It was a team effort all the way and everybody gave unstintingly to the success of the project. But most of all we had the ‘craic’! We had sing-songs into the small hours but of course ’what goes on tour stays on tour’!!

No matter what the outcome from Athlone or Armagh, this has been a journey we will never forget. We have done well for the group. Go Balally Players!!

Muriel

Why not put your name forward for committee 2009-2010?
Outgoing Committee
Chairman: Geoffrey O’Keeffe.
Treasurer: Tony McGettigan.
Secretary: Karen Carleton.
Festival Director: Jean Monahan.
Social Committee; Teresa Dempsey, Judy McKeever.
Members: Wes Scully, Gary Wall, Joanne Keane, Muriel Caslin O’Hagan, Deirdre Ni Ghriofa.

 

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