NEWS RELEASE

“AND  THE DIAMOND DID SPARKLE”.

This year’s Diamond Jubilee Drama Festival was a “Sparkling Success”. These were the words of Festival Chairman, Gerry McNulty, after the curtain came down on the 60th Festival. Gerry described the Festival as a real Feast of both new and well-known plays aimed at satisfying the tastes of many different audiences.

The Festival exceeded all expectations with great plays and performances, which attracted large audiences every night – and provided experiences, which will live long in the memories of  Season Ticket holders and many theatre-goers alike.

Plans for the Diamond Jubilee Festival began in July 2011 and by November a number of Special Events were confirmed. To the great delight of the Committee Cathal Austin, manager, THE QUAYS NEWRY, announced an increase in Sponsorship for the Festival and new Sponsors also came on board.

By December, seventeen Drama Societies had applied to perform in the 2012 Festival,
A Committee Meeting was held and the Programme was agreed.

January saw the Celebrations begin when Mayor Charlie Casey hosted a Civic Reception to mark the Diamond Jubilee Festival. In February, the Committee, Sponsors and the stalwarts from the RTE All-Ireland Drama Festival, the Drama Council of Ireland and the Association of Ulster Drama Festivals partied at Stormont Buildings, hosted by Karen McKevitt MLA.

A Celebration Dinner organised by the Committee was held in the Canal Court Hotel also in February. Season Ticket Holders were given first preference and this event “sold out” in January.

The climax came on the final night of the Festival, when Rosemary Drama Group, from Belfast, were declared the winners with their presentation of “When We Are Married” by J.B. Priestly and Ballyduff Drama Group, Co. Waterford, who presented “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller, were declared Runners-Up.

The adjudicator, Walker Ewart, GIDA expressed delight at the extremely high standard of performances to a packed Town Hall. Furthermore, he had found it difficult to decide on many of the awards, due to the wealth of super performances and presentations.

It is indeed an indication of the high standard at Newry, when “The Crucible” by Ballyduff Drama Group and  “Jerusalem” by Silken Thomas, have won their way to the RTE All-Ireland Finals.

Three of Newry’s entries have also qualified for the Ulster Finals namely: –
Rosemary Drama Group, with “When we are married” Holywood Players presentation of “The Importance of Being Earnest” and Silken Thomas Players who  presented “Jerusalem”
Chairman, Gerry McNulty, was delighted with many aspects of the Diamond Jubilee Festival. He said that a number of big names in the Irish Theatre had visited Newry in February and March and all were fulsome in their praise of the manner in which the Committee welcomed Groups and Visitors and looked after their needs. He was very pleased to see the increase in the number of Season Tickets sold and booked.

It also gave him great pleasure to see almost full houses every night and the very positive comments from the audience. This augurs well for the future.

Thanks, he said, must go to the Art Teachers and Pupils of Newry High School, Abbey Grammar School and St. Mary’s High School, for their creations of Theatrical Masks to commemorate the 60th Drama Festival. The masks were on display during the nine-day Festival.

Finally, Gerry expressed his sincere thanks to those hard-working members of the Committee who spared nothing to make the Diamond Jubilee Festival a very memorable occasion.

Further information contact:
Gerry McNulty
Festival Chairman
Tel.  (028) 3026 2443