Drama galore on Cork's stages... and panto time nears!

In her weekly Theatre Nights column Jo Kerrigan looks at what's on the Cork stage in the weeks ahead
Drama galore on Cork's stages... and panto time nears!

Aladdin is coming to the Everyman Palace this Christmas.

THE Cork One-Act Theatre Festival opened last night at the Cork Arts Theatre and runs to Saurday.

Last night saw Gaggin Drama Group with Lucy In The Sky, and Camross Drama Group with Semblance Of Madness. Tonight sees the Palace Players with Dreamers; and Gunpowder Productions with This Is A Play.

On Friday, it’s Kilrush with Red Carnations; Conna with The Extraordinary Revelations of Orca The Goldfish; and Carlow Little Theatre with Mother’s Day.

The final night on Saturday has Sliabh Aughty staging My Narrator, and Martello Productions with Something Unspoken, before the final judging and prize-giving.

Next week, from Wednesday to Saturday, UCC Players are in with Drumbeat by Gerry Cotter.

Booking on 021 450 5624 or www.corkartstheatre.com

The Gaggin group who opened the Cork festival are based in Bandon, and although they have been established for the last 30 years, this is their first time participating in the one-act festivals. After Cork, Gaggin take Lucy In The Sky to Doonbeg this coming Saturday, Bandon next Monday, Gorey on the 17th and Rossmore on the 19th. The best of luck!

The big pantomime, Aladdin, opens at the Everyman on Wednesday, December 8 and will run to January 15. They haven’t forgotten the backdrop of rising Covid cases though, and put all the necessary precautions into place. 

A smaller cast, reduced audience numbers, and other limitations will mean panto-lovers young and old can feel safe and happy attending this quintessential part of the Christmas season. 

“We delayed the official announcement until we could ensure it was staged in line with the most up-to-date public health guidelines,” explains Everyman artistic director, Sophie Motley.

“It feels like the right thing to do – to gradually build capacity,” she adds. “Stringent safety measures will be in place to keep the cast, crew and audience safe, including reduced cast and band numbers - and with no children in the cast.”

Yes, says director/producer Catherine Mahon Buckley, that decision on no children in the cast was a very difficult one to make, but the only possible one. 

“Normally, you would have crowds of different children on stage every night, and that simply isn’t something you can do under current conditions. Hopefully it will be back to normal next year.”

She has made sure though that, although they won’t be appearing on the Everyman stage this year, the children won’t miss out on the experience. “They will be creating their own pantomimes in their acting classes, and we will make videos of those to send out to parents in the last week before Christmas.”

Now that is a lovely idea, Catherine. Well done indeed.

Tickets for Aladdin went on sale on Monday, so get yours right away. 021 450 1673 or www.everymancork.com

Feis Maitiú winners in Cork in 1954 - an exhibition on the event was held last weekend.
Feis Maitiú winners in Cork in 1954 - an exhibition on the event was held last weekend.

Now, we had no prior notice of this or we would have told you: on Sunday last, the Father Mathew Hall staged a one-day exhibition on Feis Maitiú.

There must be hundreds who have vivid memories of taking part in that annual challenge. Our dearly loved and late lamented Cara O’Sullivan, Finbar Wright, Fiona Shaw, Nyle Wolfe, Cathal Dunne, and so many more. And that’s just the Feis.

When the old Opera House burned down, the Fr Mathew Hall came to the fore, along with City Hall and other smaller venues, to fill the gap in performing space.

Who has memories of the Southern Theatre Group doing Keane’s plays there? The Gilbert & Sullivan operettas? The early Everyman performances? The annual visits of the Carl Clopet company presenting melodramas like East Lynne? Even Joan Denise Moriarty’s students giving their annual presentation. Those old dressing rooms and backstage corridors must hold many memories.

If you have any, let us know, so we can share them with everyone!

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