72 years of Larne Drama Festival

Rosemary Drama Group's production of "Kindertransport".
L-R: Sara Donnelly and Roisin McCanny. Photo by Brian Haslett. INLT-09-701-con
Rosemary Drama Group's production of "Kindertransport". L-R: Sara Donnelly and Roisin McCanny. Photo by Brian Haslett. INLT-09-701-con

Larne Drama Festival will open today (Monday March 7) with six powerful performances, each by a visiting amateur drama group.

The festival, in association with Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, is kicking off with the Bart Players bringing Neil Simon’s Rumors to the McNeill Theatre.

In true Neil Simon form, confusions and mis-communications mount throughout the play and eventually spin off into classic farcical hilarity.

Tuesday’s offering is “After Dresden”, a new play by local playwright and historian Phillip Orr, which will be performed by Belvoir Players.

This play interweaves the stories of the formation of the Corrymeela Community for peace and reconciliation with the World War 2 experiences of its founder. It is a must-see for drama lovers and history buffs alike, showing local issues and their historical and on-going impact.

On Wednesday the festival will host Newry’s Newpoint Players who will perform Sean Treanor’s Time and Remembering.

This play covers the adult lives of a farming couple and their son.

It is the story of love and passion, of difficult relationships and the inability to articulate emotion.

Thursday sees Theatre 3 perform Lee Blessing’s A Walk in the Woods, which is set in Geneva in 1987. Two superpower arms negotiators, a Russian and an American, meet informally in the woods after long frustrating hours at the bargaining table.

Taking the festival into the weekend, Rosemary Drama Group presents “Kindertransport”.

When Eva’s daughter discovers some old letters and photos in an attic she is forced to confront the truth about her past, as one of the thousands of German children, mainly of Jewish origin, who were sent to foster homes in Britain before the outbreak of World War 2.

The festival will close on Saturday March 12, when The Clarence Players will turn the stage of the McNeill Theatre into the Sisters of Calvary Nursing Home in the play Brighton.

Jack, a professional actor arrives there having been paralysed in an accident. In this gently humourous play, we follow him on his journey of acceptance. After the final performance on Saturday evening, adjudicator Robert Meadows GODA, who has worked and performed across the UK and North America and has written and directed over thirty plays for community and youth groups, will offer his verdict on the week’s performances, prior to the presentation of awards.

Chairman of the festival committee Patricia Bresland, said: “A week of excellent plays is in store and we are delighted to welcome the competing teams to Larne.

“We are also very pleased that Robert Meadows is back with us for the second time as our adjudicator.

“On behalf of the committee I hope you are able to come along, support Larne Drama Festival and the visiting teams and enjoy their performances, a brilliant opportunity to see a varied programme of amateur theatre live in Larne”.

Season tickets are available from Larne VIC and Larne Leisure Centre and are fantastic value, with an entire week’s worth of high-quality amateur dramatics for just about the cost of three.

To come along to individual performances, tickets will be available from the box office at the McNeill Theatre on the evening of the performance, as are season tickets. The box office will be open from 6.45pm, doors open to the house at 7pm and performances begin at 7.30pm sharp.