There was great excitement in Newtownforbes on Friday last as the newly-formed Orbus Theatre Productions celebrated its official launch.
A crowd gathered at the old convent in Newtownforbes for the event, which took place amid Orbus’ second local run of their show ‘The Trip to Bountiful’.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD performed the official opening, displaying a great knowledge of theatre, particularly from his own home in Co Kerry.
“I’m delighted to be performing on your stage ‘in the round’” the Minister began, as he addressed the group.
Welcoming all in attendance, Minister Deenihan also paid tribute to the late Longford/Westmeath TD Nicky McFadden, who he stated was a good friend and a fan of theatre.
Adding that Orbus will greatly contribute to the artistic scene in Longford, the Minister continued; “I’m convinced that you’re going to produce people here that will make it big on stage or in the film industry in the future.”
Referencing the €10,000 that his own Department have awarded Orbus under the Small Capital Grant Scheme 2014, the Minister said, “I’m delighted to see taxpayers’ money being used so well and so strategically here in Orbus”.
Artistic Director at Orbus, Noel Strange, told of how the group had begun as an idea between friends, adding that the launch was a very proud moment for all involved.
“To have the Minister here to launch a project that we started on a beer mat is just stunning,” he continued, thanking the Minister for the grant, which will allow the group to equip themselves for touring.
Newtownforbes native Lorna Quinn was also in attendance at the launch, taking time to visit during her current run of ‘An Ideal Husband’ at the Gate Theatre, Dublin.
As Arts Officer, Fergus Kennedy took to the stage, stating that Orbus are, “excellent ambassadors for Longford”, while Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD James Bannon added, ‘I can see Orbus going from strength to strength as the years progress.”
Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD Gabrielle McFadden also attended the launch, offering very high praise for the group, as a fan of theatre herself.
After witnessing a small snapshot of the show, she said: “I think this ‘in the round’ idea is fantastic,” concluding “As Arnold Schwarzenegger said; ‘I’ll be back!’”