The Annual Newtownabbey Full Length Drama Festival returns to The Courtyard Theatre from Monday 13 – Saturday18 March, with a rich selection of sensational plays by amateur dramatic groups from across Northern Ireland and beyond.
The programme kicks off on Monday 13 March as Rosemary Drama Group present BLUE STOCKINGS by Jessica Swayle. At the first college in Britain to admit women, the ladies study ferociously and match their male peers grade for grade. Yet when the men graduate, the women leave with nothing but the stigma of being “blue stockings” – an unnatural, educated woman. They are denied degrees and go home unqualified and unmarriageable. Tess Moffat and her fellow first years are determined to win the right to graduate.
On Tuesday 14 March the Clarence Players present THE MAI by Marina Carr. An accomplished beautiful 40 year old woman, The Mai, has always sought an exceptional life. Robert, her cellist husband, has always felt stifled by The Mai’s ideals of perfection. After seventeen years he leaves her, whereupon she sets about building a dream house in the hope that one day he will return to her. From her fairy tale castle The Mai waits by the window for her dark-haired prince to return. Set in the inspiring surroundings of the West of Ireland, on the banks of the legendary Owl Lake, we enter this world on the day of Robert’s return after an absence of four years. Deeply theatrical and profoundly intense, The Mai is an epic tale of love and loss, of elusive dreams shattered by vulgar but inescapable reality. (Some strong language)
Wednesday 15 March, Theatre 3 Newtownabbey present HEROES by Gerald Sibleyras. In this hilarious but poignant translation, we meet three World War 1 veterans who pass their monotony-filled days in a military hospital by engaging in verbal battles of long-forgotten military campaigns, grumbling about the staff and reflecting on their lives. Gustave, Phillipe and Henri – all war heroes– are plotting an escape. While keeping each other company on the back patio, they hatch a plan to escape to Indochina, or at least to a picnic under the poplars on the nearby hill. (Some strong language)
Thursday 16 March, Holywood Players present HUMBLE BOY by Charlotte Jones. All is not well in the Humble Hive. 35 year old Felix is a Cambridge astro-physicist in search of a unified field theory. Following the sudden death of his father, Felix returns to his middle-England home and his difficult and demanding mother, and soon realises his search for unity must include his own chaotic life.
On Friday 17 March, Bart Players present SUMMER by Hugh Leonard. Three married couples, accompanied by the son of one and the daughter of another, assemble on a hillside near Dublin to picnic. During the afternoon the relationships between them on the surface and beneath become apparent, while the young people regard their elders somewhat sardonically across the generation gap. Six years pass and the group come together again but the place has changed and so have they.
Estuary Players bring the Festival to a close as they present NOVEMBER by David Mamet on Saturday 18 March. It is November in a presidential election year and the incumbent Charles Smith’s chances for re-election are looking grim! Approval ratings are down, his money is running out and nuclear war might be imminent! November is a scathing, hilarious take on the state of American politics today. (Some strong language)
Why not join us for what promises to be a Festival of moving, at times ironic and often hilarious productions, performed by some of the best community companies performing in Ireland today.
Festival tickets are available from box office T: 028 9034 0202 or online at www.thecourtyardtheatre.com