Drama festival continues

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STRABANE Drama Festival continues this weekend and into next week with a whole host of productions from local thespians.

Now into its 30th year the organisers have lined up an array plays which should appeal to a wide range of tastes, with something for everyone.

Saturday night sees the return Co Kildare group, Bradan Players, with their production of ‘Blackbird’ by David Harrower.  This is a very dramatic play concerning a young woman searching for a man she knew many years ago.  She comes to his place of work and confronts him about past events.  
“This is a tense, intriguing and explosive piece of theatre,” a spokesperson for Strabane Drama Festival said. “Bradan have already won a number of festivals this year and are sure to be in the running for the festival’s premier award and appearance in the All Ireland Drama Finals.”
Sunday night’s performance is presented by Pomeroy Players with Patricia Burke Brogan’s, ‘Eclipsed’, set in a convent laundry for ‘penitent’ women in the 1960s. This is described as a harrowing tale but one told with a lot of humour as these young girls try to cope with their experiences. 
Next Monday Lifford Players return to the festival with a play by, Mike Leigh called ‘Abigail’s Party’.   
“This is a suburban situation comedy of manners as Beverly Moss invites her neighbours over for drinks,” the spokesperson continued. “The gathering starts off in a stiff, insensitive, middle-class way as the virtual strangers tentatively gather, until Beverly and husband, Lawrence, start sniping at each other.  As Beverly serves more drinks and the alcohol takes effect, all of the obsessions, prejudices, fears and petty competitiveness of the protagonists are ruthlessly exposed.”
Co Donegal group, Butt Drama Circle, also return to Strabane’s festival and on Tuesday they will present Brian Friel’s classic, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’.   Set in 1936, the play depicts the late summer days of the Mundy sisters as they welcomes home the frail elder brother, who has returned from a life as a missionary. 
‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ is presented next Wednesday by Newtownstewart’s, Backburners.  
Sixteen years after graduation, Mitch learns that his old professor is battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Mitch is reunited with Morrie, and what starts as a simple visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and a last class in the meaning of life.  A leading review described the play as, “Unforgettable! No matter how well you tell the story, the play makes it more vivid, more shattering, more humorous.” 
Bernard Farrell’s, ‘Stella by Starlight on Thursday March 30 is a hilarious comedy about a couple coming to terms with shattered dreams, life in the Wicklow mountains and the internet!  
This is followed on Friday 31st with Letterkenny’s presentations of Eugene O’Neill’s towering classic: ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night’.  A multi-award winning play concerning the playwright’s own American family.  
The final night on Saturday April 1 is presented by Wexford Drama Group with Marina Carr’s, ‘Portia Coughlan’.  Wexford are past winners and great favourites of Strabane festival and this production has already won on this year’s competition circuit so expect a tight finish for awards right up to the very end.
“The best way to enjoy this feast of live theatre is with a season ticket which, at £48, is great value at roughly £5 for each performance with concession rates available,” the spokesperson continued.
“The organising committee are hoping for strong local support for this year’s festival having been unsuccessful in securing grant assistance from Derry City and Strabane Council.”
Bookings can be made through the booking office of the Alley Theatre and online.

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