Dramatic coach-house plans at West Cork’s home of live theatre

A dramatist’s "treasure trove" of artefacts, some of which date to the Second World War and which are housed in farms around West Cork, is to be moved to a custom-built ‘coach-house’.

Old oil-lamps and cooking utensils, vintage clothes, record players and suitcases, antique bicycles, period costumes and even a 1950s cooker will be brought together under one roof next summer in a tiny village renowned for live drama tradition which stretches back more than 50 years.

For decades, the colourful stage props — which also include old car wheels, furniture, and radios — were carefully stored in sheds and outhouses on five farms in the countryside around the village of Rossmore on behalf of the Kilmeen Drama Group and the West Cork Drama Festival Committee.

However, in the run-up to 2015’s West Cork Drama Festival, which runs in Rossmore from Friday, March 13, to Sunday, March 22, and which annually attracts thousands of visitors, festival chairman Ger Finn has announced plans to build a 220 sq m ‘Coach-House.’

The facility will store and preserve the costumes and stage sets used in the plays for which the village has become famous.

The ‘Coach-House’ will also act as a much-needed community hall. Planning permission has been sought for the €150,000 building, the latest project by the local community, which three years ago oversaw a major renovation project of the local St Mary’s theatre.

Local parish priest Fr John Collins had offered a long lease on a suitable piece of land near the village, and has now applied for planning permission. It’s hoped the facility will be ready for use next August.

In the meantime, booking for the 2015 West Cork Drama Festival opens today.

The festival features eight plays that will be entirely new to West Cork.

In excess of 3,000 people are expected to visit the village over the 10-night run of the festival, organised by a core group of about 60 local volunteers.

The West Cork Drama Festival offers a variety of Irish and international plays including intrigue, tragedy, and comedy, which are presented by groups from all over the country, including counties Clare, Wexford, Cork, and Waterford.

This year’s adjudicator is Brendan Murray, artistic director of Áras Inis Gluaire in Belmullet, a former professional actor who appeared in shows such as Ros na Rún.

The booking office opens today, 12pm-7pm Tel: 023-8838526/086-4481086. Tickets are priced €12 nightly. Credit card bookings or cash can be paid with the collection of tickets in advance.


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