Part of South Dublin amateur drama since 1983

Based in Balally, a suburb in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area of Dublin city between the villages of Dundrum and Sandyford, the Balally Players Theatre Company has been part of the amateur theatre movement in Ireland since its first performance in 1983.

Amateur Drama is the most widely enjoyed arts activity in Ireland. We believe drama is an inclusive activity and we aim to offer all our members the opportunity for creative expression through a broad and diverse spectrum of work.

Most years, we produce one or two full length productions, a Christmas Variety show, competitive one-act and longer plays for the festival circuit and a summer Shakespeare. Workshops designed to improve our skills are on-going throughout the year. The company has presented high standard theatrical productions in a wide range of genres over the years.

Balally Players started competing on the Drama Festival circuit in Ireland in the late 1980s. The group has enjoyed considerable success on the One-Act Festival Circuit. Members have taken plays to France, Denmark, Canada and the USA.

In August 2009 Balally Players was chosen to represent Ireland at the Mondial du Theatre (World Festival of Theatre) in Monaco. In July 2015 Balally Players was invited as one of many contributions from amateur drama groups around the world to perform Guests of the Nation at the 'Spots op West' theatre festival in Belgium organised by the International Amateur Theatre Association.

More information on all our past performances can be found on the Productions page.

A Year in the Life of Balally Players

A summary of some of the activities in the annual calendar is perhaps the best way of giving a flavour of what a typical Balally Players season is like. Following our Annual General Meeting, which is usually held over the Summer months, a new Committee is elected and charged with planning the programme for the coming season.


The season often begins with an Open Night in early September at which the programme is launched. The first plays auditioned and performed are typically our One Act Festival Circuit entry, which will be toured around Ireland in October and November, and a companion one act play that will be entered into the Bray and Glenealy One Act Festivals in January.


At the same time, rehearsals normally begin for our Christmas Variety show, Christmas at Marlay, which is usually performed in Marlay Park House in mid-December. Depending on the timing of our full-length slot in the dlr Mill Theatre, auditions for that will also get underway in October/November with a planned four or five night performance run in the dlr Mill Theatre around mid to late February. Once our full-length play has been performed, we may consider touring it around Ireland on the Full-length Festival Circuit in March and April, but typically all of the Company’s attention and energy gets focussed on our annual Summer Shakespeare production, for which auditions are normally held in March with a view to performing in The Walled Garden in St. Enda’s Park, Rathfarnham, around Midsummer night at the end of June and into early July. Throughout our annual programme, we have regular social events, such as play readings and pub quiz nights, as well as theatre training workshops with some of the top theatre practitioners in Ireland to keep our drama muscles flexed and our theatre skills finely tuned!


Needless to say, when the COVID-19 pandemic closed theatres in March 2020, our programme was greatly impacted, but like most groups we made the most of technology to keep our community of theatre enthusiasts alive and kicking, patiently waiting for the day when we could bask in the limelight and entertain once again. With that behind us now, we are back to planning and presenting a full programme of activity for our members and our loyal audiences.

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Read more about our past performances in the Productions section.


Balally Players Committee for 2024

Pat Hand
Karen Carleton
Béibhinn Whelan
Joanne Keane
Mary Ryan
Lauren Devine


The Committee, which is elected each year at the Annual General Meeting, serves for one year. In previous years, the AGM has been held between the end of the summer activities and the start of the next year in September. However, following a decision to change to the calendar year from 2021, the AGM is held closer to calendar year-end.

To contact a member of the Committe, you can send a message using the email form on the Contact page.

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A Forty Year Milestone

Booklet to celebrate the first four decades — 1982 to 2022

In 2022, Balally Players celebrated 40 wonderful years. To mark the occasion the Committee asked Mark Coen to bring together some of the many photographs and memories created within the group during those years. The booklet aimed to capture some of the achievements, energy and fun of Balally Players throughout its first four decades in existence, from the first play presented in 1983.


To move through the pages, click the mouse on the document window and move up and down using the mouse scroll wheel, or the arrow keys. Depending on the internet browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari etc) there will be controls to zoom in and out and to downlaod to your computer.

To view and/or download a copy of the '40 Years' PDF file, click on this link.

A Thirty Year Milestone

Reflections for the celebration of three dramatic decades — 1983 to 2013

Balally Players celebrated 30 years involvement in amateur drama at a party in Dublin on Friday 14 June 2013. As one contribution to the occasion, the Committee asked Declan Brennan to prepare a short video presentation for the evening, to mark the milestone and say something about the group and how it had evolved over three decades.

Commenting on the task, Declan said "There were probably as many different ways of answering the brief as there are members in the group. The number and range of personalities guarantee that! What I created is deliberately short. We initially aimed for about six minutes and it finished up at nine. An outline idea was agreed in advance, but I knew the final shape and tone would be set, not by me, but by what we recorded at a series of very informal interviews with some of the founders and current members of the group."

"Óran [O'Rua] did a huge amount of work organising everyone to sit in front of the cameras over a couple of weekends. And he was also the interviewer who got everyone relaxed and got them to share some of their memories and thoughts. I was the ruthless editor, who cut it down to a series of glimpses that set out to draw no more than an outline — one which represents the group rather than all the individuals who have made it what it has become over the years — from the first glimmer of an idea in the minds of those who 'lit the torch', so to speak, in the first year, right up to the much bigger group that celebrated its thirtieth birthday and looks forward to many more."

"The video is not a documentary or a history, though it has a bit of both. It's a personal, pencil sketch created from just a few of the thoughts and feelings of people who create something worthwhile and do it with love, laughter, sweat and tears — and even the occasional drop of blood!"

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can join Balally Players?

Membership is open to anyone 18 years of age or older. You may have years of experience or none, but all are welcome to come along to our Open Nights, which may be held in September (and sometimes January) and by arrangement during the year. If you are interested in joining the group, or wish to find out more, you can contact a member of the Committee using the email form on the Contact page.

Costs of Membership?


How are the funds used?





The Annual Membership Fee is €50. A 20% discount (€40) applies to fees paid by 1 November and new Members who join at any time during the year. For those who are not earning, are over 65 years, and for students, a 50% reduction (€25 / €20) applies to those charges.

The Membership Fee contributes to the cost of running Balally Players, organising and staging shows and events, and also pays for the insurance that each Member must have before they can be permitted to participate in events organised by the group.

In addition, the money helps to fund resources used to keep Members informed, with notifications on auditions for forthcoming shows, text message alerts and reminders about events, subsidised drama workshops and, when funds permit, a discounted group event such as a theatre visit.

At the Annual General Meeting (AGM), which is usually held at the end of June or early July, each Member has an opportunity to express their opinion, influence the future plans and organisation of the group, and cast a vote on proposed resolutions and Committee elections.

Do I have to act?

No. Not everybody wants to act, or not straight away. There are many other facets to a theatre company and you might prefer to get involved in the design of a set, the sound or lighting, set construction or one of the many other support roles that are equally important — from promoting a show, to finding props, to helping backstage or assisting another member of the creative team and crew. There are openings for all kinds of talent.

Will I get a role on or off stage?

The Balally Players Theatre group prides itself on giving as many members as possible the opportunity to perform, if they wish, during the year. However, the work done behind the scenes is just as vital to the success of what is presented on stage. Therefore all Members are expected to contribute to some aspect of that work — as a member of the creative team behind a play, or as part of the crew that organises, prepares and runs a show — and also to help with the essential tasks that are part of the setting up for a show and then taking it down and clearing up afterwards ('striking' the set).
What nights? Usually Monday and Wednesday nights when a play is in rehearsal.

Where does the group meet?

Rehearsal venues include:

St Tiernan's Community School Parkvale, Dundrum, Dublin 16.

Queen of Angels Primary School, Wedgewood, Dublin 16 – on Blackthorn Drive, near the Beacon Hotel, at the entrance to the Sandyford and Stillorgan Industrial Estates

St Olaf's GAA Club, Gaelic Athletic Association grounds, Holly Avenue, Stillorgan Industrial Park, Co. Dublin.

Methodist Hall Wesley College, Ballinteer Road, Dublin.

See the Links page for directions and venue websites.

Where are these venues? You can access maps showing you how to find these places through the 'Rehearsal Venues' section of the Links page.