Coleraine man Billy Bones’ first appearance on stage was in 1956/57 with Killowen Parish Players in pantomime in Killowen Parish Hall.
The company name was changed to Provincial Players when membership was opened up to other congregations in the town and Billy, along with Harry McWilliams and Geoff Payne took on the role of director and scriptwriters.
Their annual pantomimes were usually sell-outs and are fondly remembered.
In addition to writing and directing, Billy played the comedy role of “the Dame” and was either “Dame Cookie” or “Dame Fanny Flatfeet” and the comedy duo
of Billy and friend John Molloy saw plenty of locally based humour in the Town Hall for many years. The late popular local councillor, MLA and former
Mayor David McClarty also shared the stage with Billy and wasn’t the least phased about being “sent-up” in front of a home crowd.
Billy has also been involved in theatre with Ballymoney Literary and Debating Society and Portrush Summer Theatre as Director and recently directed the
Highfield Players in a production of the well-known play “Dancing at Lughnasa” at our own Riverside Theatre.
This talented and humorous local man will talk about his experiences of pantomime and the stage at the next meeting of Coleraine Historical Society on January 16 in the Sandel Centre.