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The 62nd RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival Launched Today

24 April 2014: All-Ireland Drama Festival Launches with Introduction of A New Mentor Scheme.

www.dramafestival.ie #dramafest @rte @AllIrelandDram1 

The 62nd RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival launched officially today in the Abbey Theatre, marking the commencement of one of the country’s finest theatrical events as well as the début of a new All-Ireland Drama Festival Mentor Scheme.

Beginning on Thursday 1st May in the Dean Crowe Theatre Athlone, under the auspices of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland (ADCI), the nine-day festival will see the top nine amateur drama groups, nationally, compete for the All-Ireland title as well as a number of other major acting and technical awards, including the newly-introduced RTÉ Fair City Award which will be presented to a single actor deemed to have had an outstanding performance during the course of the Festival. The lucky recipient will go on to take a screen test for a potential role on Ireland’s most popular drama Fair City and will spend time working behind the scenes of the famous programme. 

Nationwide’s Drama Festival special (RTÉ One, Wednesday 30th April) kicks off RTÉ’s coverage and RTÉ will be at the Festival from beginning to end with daily updates across RTÉ Radio 1 on The John Murray Show, Today with Sean O'Rourke, The Ronan Collins Show, Mooney, Liveline, Drivetime, Late Date and Drama on One as well as updates from Morning Edition on RTÉ One.  From Monday 28th April, an All-Ireland Drama Festival promotional campaign will be broadcast across RTÉ on Radio, Television and Online.

For the first time in the Festival’s 62-year career, a carefully-devised mentor scheme pairs nine of RTÉ’s well-known faces and voices with this year’s finalists. Each mentor will offer support to their respective drama group, in the hope that it will be the one to perform the winning play in front of the thousands of visitors the Festival attracts. The nine mentors are; Miriam O’Callaghan, Derek Mooney, John Murray, Damien O’Reilly, Ronan Collins, Joe Duffy, Mary Wilson, Seán O’Rourke and Seán Rocks. 

Noel Curran, Director-General, RTÉ, said: “RTÉ has been immensely proud of its association with the All-Ireland Drama Festival and this year RTÉ is working harder than ever to ensure we play our part in supporting and developing the amateur drama sector in Ireland. Nurturing a vibrant arts and cultural sector at all levels in Ireland is an important cornerstone of our public service remit and of our responsibility as a national media organisation.”

All Ireland Drama Festival Director Joe MacCarrick said:

“We’re so pleased to be working with RTÉ again for our 62nd Festival and to once more benefit from the invaluable sponsorship afforded the All-Ireland Drama Festival. Each year, we strive to improve on that which went before and I believe that this year, with the introduction of the Mentor Scheme, our theatre groups, as well as legions of theatre-goers, can look forward to perhaps the most exciting celebration of top-class drama to date”

The Chairman of the Abbey Theatre Bryan McMahon today confirmed that for the third year running, the prestigious Abbey Theatre Award will offer the winner the opportunity to perform on the Peacock stage for a three-night run from the week of 19th May 2014. Speaking at the launch he said:

“The local drama movement makes a wonderful contribution to the cultural and social life of Ireland.  It fosters a love of theatre amongst local communities and helps to nurture people’s creativity, acting talent and stage craft.  The Abbey Theatre supports this vibrant movement to further develop its critical audience for theatre by once again sponsoring the Abbey Theatre Award for a third consecutive year.  It’s a pleasure and a privilege to welcome the winners of this award to the national theatre each year and have them perform on the Abbey Theatre’s Peacock stage for a three night run.”

Since its inception in 1952, the RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival has grown and developed into a flagship tourist event while at the same time achieving excellent standards in amateur drama. The festival is complemented by a lively fringe, running throughout the week and featuring street theatre, school workshops, art exhibitions, writer’s workshops and other theatrical performances at locations around Athlone. The 2014 programme of plays offers a broad array of content with a good mix of exciting new plays and returning favourites.

RTÉ’s Editor of Features, Arts & Drama Lorelei Harris, speaking at that launch commented:

“The RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival is a unique cultural event which draws on a wealth of amateur talent and an enthusiastic community commitment to amateur drama all around the country. RTÉ is proud to be the title sponsor of this hugely successful festival and takes great pleasure in seeing it go from strength to strength each year.  Supporting and nurturing a vibrant arts and cultural sector at all levels in Ireland is an important part of our public service remit and of our responsibility as a national media organisation.”

For further information please contact:
Killian McCrea, RTÉ Communications Coordinator  
T: 086 397 0122 E: killian.mccrea@rte.ie

Notes to Editors:

All-Ireland Festival 2014 Schedule
Date Drama Title   Drama Group County  RTÉ Mentor
May 1st  Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Sheppard Ballyduff Drama Group  Waterford  Derek Mooney
May 2nd Gingerbread Lady by Neil Simon Ballyshannon Drama Society Donegal  John Murray
May 3rd Devil’s Ceilí by Philip Doherty & Kevin McGahern Cornmill Theatre Group   Leitrim  Damien O’Reilly
May 4th Outgoing Tide by Bruce Graham  Nenagh Players Tipperary  Miriam O’Callaghan
May 5th Steward of Christendom by Sebastian Barry  The Moat Club Kildare  Ronan Collins
May 6th  A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller  Thurles Drama Group Tipperary  Mary Wilson
May 7th  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee  Bradán Players  Kildare  Joe Duffy
May 8th Boeing Boeing by Marc Camoletti Prosperous Dramatic Society Kildare Sean Rocks
May 9th Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Batiz Wexford Drama Group    Wexford  Sean O’Rourke

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