What’s on at West Cork Drama Festival 2019

The 58th West Cork Drama Festival opens in the theatre Rossmore on Friday, March 8 and runs until Saturday, March 16. A rich miscellany of drama will take to the stage with a something to please everyone. Irish Classics (Philadelphia Here I come, The Beauty Queen of Lennane and The Lieutenant of Innishmore), compelling dramas (Fool for Love, Bloomsaday), tender evocative plays (A Fine Bright Day) and comedies (Unforgiven) all feature in this year’s lineout.    

The festival is delighted to offer online booking, which is now open at www.rossmoretheatre.com. The tickets cost €13 per night and €90 for a season ticket. The festival booking office opens on Monday, March 4, 12-7pm at 086-4481086 / 0238838526. Doors open at 7pm and all plays start at 8pm. 

On Friday, March 8 the festival opens with Holycross-Ballycahill Drama Group from Tipperary with their production of ‘The Beauty Queen of Lennane’ by Martin McDonagh

This play along with several of McDonagh’s other plays are considered by many as becoming modern Irish classics of the stage. Replete with dark comedy, acerbic observations and shocking surprises, this exploration of a turbulent mother-daughter relationship.

Next up on Saturday, March 9 are Doonbeg Drama Group from Clare with ‘Fool for Love’ by Sam Shepherd. This explosive, emotional play tells the story of two people in the American mid-west who just can’t live without each other whether they like it or not. A very popular play on the American stage and this is a great opportunity to see this contemporary drama.

Wexford’s Gorey Little Theatre take to the stage on Sunday night with ‘Bloomsday’ by Steven Dietz. Described by some as ‘an Irish take on the love that got away’, this immensely clever memory play is sweet and poignant with the lead character looking back on his younger self and an opportunity missed in finding love. Set in Dublin, it is not about Joyce or his seminal work Ulysses but rather just alludes to it.

On Monday, March 11, regular visitors to Rossmore, Ballyduff Drama Group from West Waterford present ‘A Fine Bright Day’ by Philip Goulding. This sweet and evocative tale of autumnal love and unexpected second chances is written by the contemporary English playwright Philip Goulding and is bound to have audience goers going home with a smile on their face. 

Brideview Drama Group from Tallow in Waterford follow on Tuesday with the popular classic ‘Philadelphia Here I Come’ by Brian Friel. This groundbreaking play is now a classic of the Irish stage. Ger, a young man on the eve of his departure to America, reflects on himself, his life and in particular his relationship with his father. Described by some as a tragic comedy the cleverness of the writing and insight into familial relationships never fails to impress. 

On Wednesday ,March 13 the local Kilmeen Drama Group present Martin McDonagh’s ‘The lieutenant of Inishmore’. A black comedy set in the context of the Northern Ireland peace process, the play follows an off the edge ‘freedom fighter/terrorist’. It has been said by some that McDonagh’s gift as a playwright, as evident in this play, is for pushing a situation to its most brutal extreme, and being funny with it.

Another West Cork group, Skibbereen Theatre Society take to the stage on Thursday with McDonagh’s ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’. Another chance to see the first of award winning playwright McDonagh’s ‘Lennane trilogy’ in another production. 

Friday, March 15 sees Nenagh Players present ‘What Happened Bridgie Cleary’ by Tom McIntyre. A poetic and intriguing play about the fascinating, infamous case of Bridget Cleary, a Tipperary woman who was burned to death by her husband in 1895 for suspected witchcraft. A production sure to have theatre goers compelled with this intriguing tale.

The festival closes on Saturday March 16 with North Cork’s Kilworth Drama Society on stage with ‘Unforgiven’ by contemporary Irish playwright John McDwyer. This is the last play of the playwright’s ‘Leitrim trilogy’, a poignant, humorous and very ‘earthy’ tale about two men, PJ and his brother Seamus who are awaiting their father’s death while their neighbour Mary is nursing her mother through her final illness. However, with the death of their father, and the return of their brother from America, an unexpected and very funny turn of events ensue.

The Adjudicator is Jim Wolstencroft who makes a welcome return to Rossmore. Jim’s dramatic past goes back to the iconic Lyric theatre in Belfast and he has been involved in several amateur drama groups including Holywood Players, Bangor Drama Group, Theatre 3, and, more recently, with the Web Theatre in Newtownards.

The Festival Committee would like to thank all the festival sponsors and supporters and look forward to welcoming theatre audiences.

WCP Staff

WCP Staff Writer

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