Ballymoney Drama Festival
82nd Ballymoney Drama Festival
Monday 6th– Saturday 11th March 2023
Adjudicator: Chris Jaeger MBE, FRSA, GODA
8.00pm Ballymoney Town Hall
(7:30 ON FINAL NIGHT)
Monday 6th March
By Michael Simkins
Ballymoney Literary & Debating Society
Roger Mortimer was racing correspondent for The Sunday Times from 1947 to 1975. A collection of his witty and generous letters to his wayward son, Charlie, became a bestseller which was subsequently dramatised by Michael Simkins. Simkins worked closely with Charlie Mortimer to learn about the events covered in the play from his point of view as well as his father's but he has lost none of the charm of the original book.
This humorous and touching play enjoyed success in London in 2015 with real life father and son, James and Jack Fox, playing the central characters. It deals with adult themes.
Michael Simkins is an English actor and best-selling author. He has appeared in over 100 musicals and stage plays and in many television dramas, including The Crown, and is a regular contributor to The Telegraph and The Times as well as BBC Radio 4's Today and Front Row. The Daily Mail described him as 'one of the funniest writers in Britain'.
Ballymoney Literary and Debating Society is one of the oldest amateur drama groups in Northern Ireland and has achieved a string of performance and production awards at Festivals for over 50 years.
Tuesday 7th March
By Henry Filloux-Bennett
Nigel Slater's TOAST
Rosemary Drama Group
Based on his award-winning biography, TOAST is the story of celebrity foodie, Nigel Slater's childhood, told through the tastes and smells, pains and pleasures of growing up in the 1960s. From jam tarts to Christmas cake, from Angel Delight to Walnut Whips, TOAST is funny, heart-breaking and joyous; a veritable feast for the senses!
Nigel Slater's biography was first dramatised as a BBC Comedy Drama starring Helena Bonham Carter, Freddie Highmore and Ken Stott. Filloux-Bennett's play opened in Manchester in 2018 and then moved to Edinburgh, the West End and on a UK tour.
Henry Filloux- Bennett has worked for organisations including The Lowry, Bill Kenwright Ltd, the Theatre Royal Haymarket and the RSC. His dramatization of The Picture of Dorian Grey was seen in over 70 countries and chosen as one of The Guardian's Top Ten Theatre Picks and The Telegraph's Top 50 Cultural Events of 2020. He has also worked as a chef and first read Nigel Slater's book on bus journeys to and home from his work in the kitchen at The Savoy.
Rosemary are the most active drama group in North Belfast. For over fifty years they have staged two major productions every year. They have enjoyed considerable success on the Festival circuit and their productions are also popular with audiences at Summer Theatre in Portrush. RDG is a group whose members very much enjoy the social side of theatre and are always ready to party.
Wednesday 8th March
By Richard Bean
One Man, Two Guvnors
Produced by Gillian Porter
Described as 'a glorious celebration of British comedy', this play combines laugh-out loud satire, slapstick, songs and glittering one-liners to tell the story of the bumbling Francis Henshall as he tries to to keep his two criminal bosses apart and everyone else tries to hide their true identities.
One Man, Two Guvnors opened at the National Theatre in 2011 and was subsequently a hit on Broadway and in the West End. During the Covid Lockdown, 2.5 million viewers watched James Corden as Francis in the NT Live broadcast.
Richard Bean is a successful English playwright who, coincidentally, also wrote a play called Toast - it tells the story of seven men who work in a bread factory in Hull and has nothing to do with Nigel Slater! One Man, Two Guvnors is based on Il servitore di due padroni, an 18th century Italian comedy by Calo Goldoni. Bean's version won Best Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in 2011.
Bart Players are based in Belfast. Now in their 60th year, they perform three shows per season, from light comedies to serious dramas, at their home venue, the Canon Lindsay Hall, St Bartholemew's, Stranmillis and across Northern Ireland.
Thursday 9th March
By Arthur Miller
Produced by Maureen Dunn
Although not as well known as The Crucible or Death of a Salesman, The Price has been described as one of Arthur Miller's best plays. Inspired by The Wall Street Crash and The Depression, it tells the story of two estranged brothers who learn the true cost of dividing up their family's possessions. On one level it is about the cost of self-advancement and self-sacrifice but it is also about moving on and leaving the past in the past.
The Price enjoyed a successful revival in London in 2018 with David Suchet (Poirot) and Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey) as the central characters.
Arthur Miller needs little introduction to Festival audiences; he was considered one of the 20th Century's greatest dramatists and we have enjoyed productions of many of his plays in Ballymoney over the years. Among many other notable achievements he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1949. He was famously married to Marilyn Munroe between 1956 and 1961 and a minor planet, Arthurmiller3769, is named after him.
Theatre 3 was formed in 1984 when three companies in the Newtownabbey area decided to join forces. In the last 30 years Theatre 3 have successfully produced a multitude of plays from local comedies for Summer Theatre to Classics from around the world. They have regularly appeared in the Ulster, Irish and British Drama Festival Finals and will be representing Northern Ireland at The British One Act Finals later this year.
Friday 10th March
By Samuel Beckett
Produced by Sean Treanor
This is the latest in Newpoint's planned series of Beckett plays. It is a relatively short piece of theatre but has been named by The Independent as one of the Best 40 Plays of All Time. Beckett has said that he was thinking about the life of a modern woman when he wrote the play and 'who could cope with that and go down singing, only a woman'. Since the play was written in the 1960s, actors such as Felicity Kendal, Fiona Shaw, Juliet Stevenson and Maxine Peake have embraced the central role of Winnie who is partially buried in a mound of sand.
Newpoint describe the play as a 'theatrical experience like no other' and expect their production to provoke questions and discussion.
Awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize for Literature, Samuel Beckett was an Irish Novelist, poet, theatre director and playwright. He was resident in Paris for most of his adult life, fought with the French Resistance and wrote in both French and English. Many of his plays have been described as tragicomedies, exploring the human will to survive in an indifferent world. Reviewing Happy Days in the Sunday Times, the critic, John Peter wrote, 'Only Beckett could have written this play: a hilarious account of extinction, a short sonata for the dead.'
Newpoint Players from Newry have been active since 1946. Each year they participate in the ADCI and AUDF Drama Festival Circuits, sometimes with two concurrent plays. Newpoint run a youth theatre group which functions throughout the year; many of the young people involved return to contribute as adults. Newpoint Players have been Overall Winners and Sean Treanor the Best Producer at the last three Ballymoney Drama Festivals.
Saturday 11th March
By David Tristram
Last Tango in Derriaghy
The Clarence Players
Produced by Des Loughridge
The Clarence Players had planned to compete in the 82nd Ballymoney Drama Festival with their production of Gaslight but, due to circumstances beyond their control, they have had to withdraw from the Festival Circuit. However, they have kindly agreed to perform their entry for this year's One Act Festival Final instead.
Last Tango in Derriaghy is a hilarious short play about a failing Am Dram Group who decide to risk everything in a last-ditch bid to boost their dismal audience numbers. There are plenty of laughs and some unexpected twists in this very funny play which should leave everyone in good spirits for
the Final Adjudication which will take place after the Interval.
With an earlier finish than we are used to on the Final Night, there should be more time that usual to discuss the plays and the results over a celebratory drink in the Festival Bar.
See you there!