What's on Cork's stages this week? A super soprano... and panto fun too

Jo Kerrigan looks at what's coming up in Cork theatres
What's on Cork's stages this week? A super soprano... and panto fun too

Acclaimed soprano Celine Byrne performs at Carrigaline Court Hotel tonight. 

I WAS talking with Linda Kenny, star of the so popular Sunday Songbook series at Everyman, and she told me something I hadn’t realised: that Alan Carney, MD of the Songbook company, is also MD of the Carrigaline Singers.

Now, the latter are a really progressive group, who have already collaborated with Phil Coulter and the Celtic Tenors in two sold-out concerts already this year (producing both in association with Carrigaline Lions Club). Now they have internationally-renowned soprano Celine Byrne coming to the Carrigaline Court Hotel this very night for their big concert, A Celebration of Christmas!

It has probably sold out most if not all of its tickets by this time, but try your luck anyway - direct to the hotel or on eventbrite.ie.

And the Sunday Songbook team themselves (their Michael Buble show last Sunday was a sell-out) is going further afield than ever.

“Would you believe we are now working in the National Concert Hall, Civic Theatre, Mermaid Theatre, and University Concert Hall Limerick, as well as local theatres like the Glen Theatre, Banteer, and, of course, our beloved Everyman,” says Linda. “It’s certainly going to be a busy year ahead!”

Well, they deserve their success, but due credit must also be paid to their ever-growing and fiercely loyal supporters right here in Cork who will never miss a show.

Speaking of Everyman, their pantomime, Cinderella, is delighting audiences of all ages. The children from CADA who are participating divide into three separate groups who take turns at shows (young performers are limited in the time they can spend on stage). All this takes quite a bit of organisation as you can imagine - each group has a strict timetable about exactly when to arrive at the theatre, and there is a complex schedule issued to parents (and indeed grandparents) showing precisely who is appearing in which show on which day and at which time (morning, afternoon, and evening shows, remember).

When we were in the theatre recently, we sat in the balcony next to a proud pair who were eagerly awaiting the first appearance of their granddaughter onstage. They showed me her schedule on their phones, and related an interesting story about her which exemplifies the commitment and determination these young players possess.

Back when rehearsals start, it is made clear to would-be young performers that if they want to take part in the pantomime, they must commit for the entire run - no taking days off or just not feeling like turning up.

Now, this particular young lady’s parents had planned a family holiday in Spain after Christmas, but she had no hesitation in choosing to stay behind, cared for by those loving grandparents, so that she could play her part in the Everyman pantomime. Are you absolutely sure, she was asked. Absolutely, was the firm answer. If you want to be in something like this, you have to give yourself to it full time.

It’s a good story, and augurs well for her future. Knowing what is important, and choosing that course of action, even if it means giving up something else, shows a strong and reliable character.

And participating in a pantomime is such good training for any child. They learn the importance of time-keeping, of obedience, of giving their best, no matter how they are feeling.

Long may the children of Cork take their first steps on the boards in our beloved pantomimes!

ALSA Productions opened at the Cork Arts Theatre last night with At The Moment, Everything Is Missing, a moving story about a performer trying to move on from loss and grief.

Written and performed by Al Dalton, directed by Katrina Foley and produced by Sadhbh Barrett Coakley, it runs to Sunday at the following times: tonight and Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 3 and 6pm, Sunday at 6pm. Booking on corkartstheatre.com or| 021 450 5624.

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