The 2023 RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival
Launches at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre
Drama groups from around the country gathered today at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, for the launch of the 2023 RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival, under the auspices of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland.
Starting on Thursday, 27 April, and running until Friday 5 May, drama festivals from across the island of Ireland will compete in the All-Ireland deciders, with the presentation of the final awards on Saturday May 6.
Festival Director, Regina Bushell, said: “This is a very special year for the festival as the ADCI, founded in Athlone in 1953, is celebrating its 70th Anniversary. Fittingly, the standard of the plays this year is truly very high, and expectation is building as our groups prepare to perform under the watchful eye of this year’s adjudicator Paula Dempsey. And this year we have the premiere of a brand-new Irish play written by one of the group members, as well as two amateur premieres.”
Dee Forbes, Director-General, RTÉ, said: “With the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival, RTÉ is proud to foster creativity and acting talent through drama, and to bring the excitement and tension of this unique festival to audiences all over Ireland, through the partnership with RTÉ lyric fm, through RTÉ.ie and our social channels, and through RTÉ Radio 1. We are delighted this year to produce yet another ambitious radio and television campaign that gets to the heart of what make this festival so enduring: the power of drama, of the individual, and of the collective, and the resilience to start again. The spotlight is on Athlone during May, and we will be there”.
The festival also revealed a revamped website at http://www.dramafestival.ie. The official draw for the line-up for the 2023 RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival took place on Monday 10 April.
The 2023 festival sees the return of last year’s winners, Ballyduff Drama Group, presenting an exciting Irish premiere of ‘The Welkin’ by Lucy Kirkwood, while former winners Newpoint Players will present ‘Happy Days’ by Samuel Beckett. Dundalk Theatre Workshop will perform Brian Friel’s masterpiece ‘Faith Healer’, and Thurles Drama Group will present Conor MacPherson’s play, ’The Seafarer’. Former winners Dalkey Players are presenting ‘By the Bog of Cats’, Marina Carr’s play. And the festival will also welcome back former double winners, Prosperous Dramatic Society. Prosperous are performing the amateur premiere of “Oleanna” by David Mamet. Back too are Wexford Drama Group with the amateur premiere of the winner of the 2014 Molière Award for Best Play, Florian Zeller’s “The Father”, alongside Ballyshannon Drama Society with their production of the Pulitzer Prize winning, ‘A Delicate Balance’ by Edward Albee. Butt Drama Circle will return with another premiere, a new three hander Irish play ‘Darkness Echoing’ written by Butt Drama member Shaun Byrne, following on from the success of last year’s ‘An Incident with Dave Cotter’.
This year’s adjudicator Paula Dempsey, is an actor, director and drama adjudicator and holds an MA in Modern Drama Studies from University College Dublin. She has been adjudicating since 2007 and is a member of the Association of Theatre Adjudicators.
Tickets are now on sale and can be booked through the Dean Crowe website at http://www.deancrowetheatre.com/ or at the theatre box office, phone (090) 6492129. Admission €20 (includes a €1 Booking Fee). Concessions are available.
The Athlone Festival will also have a packed programme of fringe events, including fringe highlights the Annual Schools Playwright competition and the Athlone Film Festival. Now in its 10th year the playwright competition attracted entries from TY students from 12 counties. Sponsored again by Athlone Credit Union the awards ceremony takes place on 25 April. Further details are available on our website and social media.