So many actors wanted the part of patriot Thomas Kent that a production company had to extend its auditions for a summertime play about him. It will run in a number of venues in Co Cork.

Lantern Productions recently held auditions for the role of Kent, who was the only person to be executed outside of Dublin following the 1916 Easter Rising.

Kent was buried in an unmarked grave in Cork Prison and the presence of his remains there was only confirmed last year. The remains were exhumed last September and buried in his native Castlelyons, Co Cork.

To mark the centenary, Lantern Productions are to stage Thomas Kent — 1916 Rebel and also auditioned many others for different roles in the play.

Programme director Eoin Ó hAnnracháin said finding the right Kent is the priority for the production

“In the story, we follow Thomas’ life from his return from America, as a 24-year-old, up until his execution at age 50,” said Mr Ó hAnnracháin.

“As this will all be played by a single actor, we were using the auditions to explore what age of actor gives us the most artistic leeway.”

Initially, one day was set aside for auditions, but so many people showed an interest that a second day was needed.

“At Lantern Productions, it is one of our objectives to hold open casting sessions for all of our projects,” said Mr Ó hAnnracháin.

“I love seeing as many actors as possible and knowing that I have the absolute best people to work with.”

Lantern Productions was only formed by Mr Ó hAnnracháin in recent weeks. Hehas widespread experience with other companies.

He said the reason for staging the plays in the Rebel county was not just Kent’s Cork connection, but because Cork is the number one place in Ireland for site-specific theatre.

He said the audience engagement in suich productions is usually phenomenal.

“With Thomas Kent — 1916 Rebel, we will be making ourselves available after every performance to hear the thoughts of the audience and to discuss their response to the work,” said Mr Ó hAnnracháin.

Rehearsals begin on April 11, with performances in venues around County Cork starting May 3. The play will run in the Everyman Theatre from May 9-13.

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