Seventy-fourth annual Ballymoney Drama Festival is on the way

The 2013 Drama Festival is on its way and this year they have six plays presented by six of the best drama groups in the Province, beginning on Monday 4 March with the Bart Players’ production of “God of Carnage” by Yasmina Reza.

When two sets of parents meet to discuss a playground fight between their sons, a civilized evening quickly descends into name-calling, tantrums and tears. This sharp-edged comedy about modern life and parenting was the winner of the 2009 Tony Award for Best Play. The play contains some strong language.

On Tuesday 5th, the Holywood Players present “Blood Brothers” by Willy Russell. This original drama (not the musical version), is the story of twin brothers and what happens when their mother, who already has a big family and whose husband has left her, decides to have one of them adopted by the childless woman for whom she cleans.

Their contrasting upbringing and the hand fate deals them is fast-moving, perceptive and ultimately tragic. On Wednesday Theatre 3, Newtownabbey bring us “Eleemosynary” by Lee Blessing. The play examines the relationship of three exceptional women – the grandmother, Dorothea, a strong–willed eccentric, her brilliant daughter Artemis – a biochemist with an incredible memory, and Artemis’s daughter Echo who also has extraordinary intellectual abilities.

On Thursday the Clarence Players present “Taking Sides” by Ronald Harwood. This drama revolves around the de-nazification trial of the famous Berlin conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. The confrontation between Furtwangler and Major Dave Arnold fully engages its audience leaving them with food for thought and discussion that should extend well beyond the evening’s proceedings.

Newpoint Players on Friday bring us Tom Stoppard’s award winning play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”. Stoppard’s play cleverly re-interprets Hamlet from the point of view of two very minor characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who bumble about and are totally incidental to the action of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The play turns Hamlet on its head by giving these two the main roles and reducing all of Shakespeare’s major characters (including Hamlet) to minor roles.

Finally on Saturday, the festival closes with Rosemary Drama Group’s production of “The White Rose”, a true and inspiring story by Lillian Groag. With their only weapons an old typewriter, some paper and a printing machine, in 1942 a group of students of the University of Munich chose to actively protest against the atrocities of the Nazi regime and to advocate that Germany lose the war as the only way to overthrow Hitler’s regime. We follow their efforts, their arrest, their interrogation.

The distinguished adjudicator is Scott Marshall MA, LGSM, FRSA, GoDA. Scott is an actor, director and playwright who has adjudicated Drama Festivals throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Season Tickets, £35, concessions £25 are available from McCurdy Hamilton Travel on Saturday 23th February from 10am-12noon. Nightly tickets £7, concessions £5 are available from Ballymoney Town Hall from Tuesday 26th February 9am-4pm (not Sunday) and nightly during the festival.

The officials and members of Committee are most grateful for the financial support given to the Ballymoney Borough Council, Biesty’s Centra, Ballymoney, Danske Bank, Ballymoney, First Trust Bank, Ballymoney, Glebeside Spar, Ballymoney, M. Hasson & Sons Ltd, Rasharkin, The Henry Family, Ballymoney, Kelly’s of Ballymoney, McAfee Properties, Ballymoney, McCarroll Plant Hire, Cloughmills, H A McIlrath & Sons, Ballymoney, James McMullan & Son, Ballymoney, John W Pinkerton & Son, Ballymoney, R&F Mechanical Services Ltd, Ballymoney, Zing Print and Design, Coleraine, O’Neill’s Caravan Sales & Distributors Ltd, Portstewart, R Robinson & Sons Ltd. Ballymoney and Thomas Taggart & Sons, Ballymoney.

A special thanks to McCurdy Hamilton Travel for the use of their premises for pre festival ticket sales.