Frost/Nixon, Hedda Gabler, Steven Berkoff, Brian Friel and much more...

THE STAGE IS SET. Pictured on Monday at the launch of Ballymoney Drama Festivall are committee members along with Chairman Mac Pollock and sponsors, Mayor Alderman Bill Kennedy and Chief Executive John Dempsey (Ballymoney Borough Council) and Pat Hasson (M. Hasson & Sons Ltd).INBM6-15 001SC.

THE STAGE IS SET. Pictured on Monday at the launch of Ballymoney Drama Festivall are committee members along with Chairman Mac Pollock and sponsors, Mayor Alderman Bill Kennedy and Chief Executive John Dempsey (Ballymoney Borough Council) and Pat Hasson (M. Hasson & Sons Ltd).INBM6-15 001SC.

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Ballymoney Drama Festival, a Spring highlight in the town’s calendar since 1934, will stage five nights of high quality amateur theatre in Ballymoney Town Hall this year.

It opens on Tuesday 3rd March at 8pm. The programme includes two adaptations of classic plays by festival patron, Brian Friel, and a dramatic version of a Bohemian short story.

There is also a chance to see a play by a critically acclaimed contemporary British screenwriter and oneby the Lyric’s current playwright-in-residence.

Last year’s Festival winners, Rosemary Drama Group, will open the Festival with Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan. This award-winning play dramatises events during David Frost’s famous televised interviews with Richard Nixon after Watergate.

Clarence Players’ production of Hedda Gabler on Wednesday 4th March will be the first Brian Friel adaptation of the week: it is set in a comfortable drawing room in nineteenth century Norway where good manners disguise boredom and discontent.

Steven Berkoff, the writer of Thursday’s production, Metamorphosis, is best known for playing a Bond villain in Octopussy; Newpoint Players have a reputation for daring productions so there is bound to be much to enjoy in his version of the story of a man changed into a giant insect.

On Friday 6th, the Festival welcomes Lifford Players in The Absence of Women by Owen Mc Cafferty; this premiered at the Lyric Theatre in 2010 and was described as a “mini-masterpiece”.

The Festival closes on a comic note when Holywood Players bring us Friel’s version of A Month in the Country by the Russian writer, Turgenev.

This performance on Saturday 7th will start at 7:30 to allow time for the Final Adjudication.

The Drama Festival will run from Tuesday 3rd until Saturday 7th March.

Ballymoney Festival’s adjudicator this year, MrAndrew Rawlinson, is an actor, director and theatre manager with a wealth of experience of amateur and professional productions. See separate story for details of tickets, booking and sponsors.