CHAMPAGNE celebrations were the order of the day for the cast and crew of a west Cork drama group who clinched the top prize at the 2011 All-Ireland Drama Festival.
The Kilmeen Drama Group from Rossmore won the event, held in Athlone over the weekend, for the second time in their history with their production of Tom Murphy’s A Whistle in the Dark as well as picking up awards for Best Actor — Declan Price, and Best Actress in a Supporting Role — Irene Kelleher.
No strangers to accolades, the group were nevertheless jubilant after fighting off stiff opposition from around the country.
Announcing the award, adjudicator John P Kelly commended the overall acting, technical and production skills of all the participating groups, but when it came to deciding which group was true to the writer’s intentions, Kilmeen’s production had the edge.
The group’s director Tim Coffey picked up the award for Best Director which was presented by Tom Savage, chairman of the board of RTÉ. Mr Savage said the importance of drama in local communities was immense and “amateur drama is one of the most special threads in Irish culture”.
Festival director Billy Nott congratulated Kilmeen Drama Group and all the award-winners on their success. Expressing gratitude to RTÉ for its association with the festival, Mr Nott also thanked the qualifying festivals, local businesses, the media and local authorities for their support for the festival, which this year attracted unprecedented attendances.
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