The RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival was launched last Wednesday at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.
The festival – which is now in its 61st year – is the premier theatrical event of its kind in Ireland, showcasing the very best of Irish amateur theatre and attracting thousands of visitors to Athlone, where it takes place.
During the festival, RTÉ will broadcast daily reports on Radio 1 and on RTÉ One on television, with presenter Karina Buckley providing the updates for The Ronan Collins Show, Marian Finucane and Morning Edition.
There will also be live radio broadcasts from the festival during the event.
Held under the auspices of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland, the festival will see the top nine amateur drama groups in the country compete for the All-Ireland title and the prestigious Festival Perpetual Trophy, as well as several major acting and technical awards.
The nine-day festival will take place at the Dean Crowe Theatre in Athlone from Thursday, May 2 to Friday, May 10.
The programme of plays includes: J M Synge’s classic ‘Playboy of the Western World’, Marina Carr’s ‘By The Bog of Cats’, Brian Friel’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’, and Ron Hutchinson’s ‘Moonlight and Magnolias’. There is American drama from Arthur Miller’s ‘All My Sons’ and Tom Griffin’s ‘The Boys Next Door’.
There is also the theatrically challenging ‘The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia’ by Edward Albee, ‘Mercury Fur’ by Philip Ridley, and Ray Cooney’s comedy, ‘Out of Order’.