Drama News

Drama at Cork RTAI branch

For several months, several members of the Cork branch of the RTAI have been busy rehearsing a new play about a dysfunctional school. The play is called “There Goes the Bell” written and directed by Helen Hallissey, a practising teacher in Ballincollig.  15 actors including practising teachers play 25 different parts at a fast moving pace. The scenes arise from events in the calendar year. There are some familiar faces and some new.  Well-known Cork actor Paddy O’Brien plays three parts:  Paudie, the sports fanatic teacher/Johnny the shady caretaker/Mossy who teaches accordion every summer in Milltown Malbay. The popular actor, Gerry Motherway, is the lazy Dad and the fig roll loving Parish Priest (no clichés here!)

Kathleen Lowney has been busy compiling the play list of music and the sequences of images. She plays the part of the Vere Foster Medallist who comes to teach at Ballytrasna N.S. Marian O’Callaghan is sparkling as the Divisional Inspector. Grace Donovan steals the show as the formidable school secretary. Alice Barry is delightful as the Junior Infant teacher, knitting her way through the play with some very amusing commentary.  Judy McCarthy is a treat as she plays the part of the teacher of the Holy Communion class and is a firm devotee of Canon Sidney McEwan. Kathleen O ’Flynn beautifully adds emotion to her part of the tender-hearted Learning Support teacher who is much loved by the children. But there is confusion among the students when she goes missing……. Mags Walsh, new to the stage, is a gem as the ambitious Mum saddled with a ‘useless article’ of a lazy husband. So, it’s all go at our Cork branch. We rehearse twice a week. Costumes are being assembled, lines are being learned, flyers are out and about in schools, furniture is being painted. Behind the scenes are the unsung heroes  – Marian O’Callaghan, Marie  Dennehy, Claire Bradley and Marie Power who have started the momentum as,  most of the tickets have been sold.  The play will be performed at Cork Arts Theatre, Carroll’s Quay, Cork on Tues. Nov. 7th and Wed 8th, as well as Fri. Nov. 17th and Sat. 18th. The word on the street is ‘Don’t miss this play’!

Who are the stars of this show

Paddy O’Brien

Retired primary teacher Paddy has a long list of credits in drama /
storytelling.
Began drama in primary / secondary school ( great teachers ).
All-Ireland Slógadh winner ( 1978) – scéalaíocht as Gaeilge.
Years of acting with Compántas Chorcaí – several All-Ireland awards.
Four years presenting “Dilín Ó Deamhas” on RTÉ TV.
“Tops of the Town” All Ireland winner – Cork Teachers 1987.
Years of pleasure producing drama in schools.
Presented Sumner Courses – Drama in the Primary School.
All Ireland Scór (GAA) Storytelling champion – 2001 ,2004 (Tracton club ).
Paddy now tells stories ( for ages 3 to 103 ) in schools, libraries and pubs.
He regularly attends all kinds of drama events in Cork and is a member
of the board of The Inkwell Theatre ( Tracton).

Gerry Motherway

Acting since 1976, mostly with Compántas Chorcaí and the Everyman. Gerry has won 7 acting awards at Féile Náisiúnta Drámaíochta – one with Helen Hallissey directing.

Took a one-man show “On the Road” by Liam Weir, to London and Boston

Retired since 2007 from Douglas Community School, where he taught Irish and English.

Judy McCarthy

Judy  retired from her post of Teaching Principal in Maria Assumpta Infant School in 2011 after 14 years as Principal.  After her retirement the school amalgamated with Maria Assumpta Senior School. Judy has a great love  of stage and theatre and the small children in her school enjoyed many school trips to the CAT CLUB , Opera House, Firkin Crane and Everyman. The highlight of the school year was the school Christmas Concert where the young children shone like stars on the school stage and entertained their parents and the parish!

It is Judy’s first time to tread the stage boards! She joined the Drama Group to help backstage but found herself cast as Teresa, the Holy Communion teacher. We think she was good at her prayers!!!!

She told us a story from her time in 3 rd class in Primary School, where the Elocution Teacher told her mother to take her home and not bring her to any more classes as it was a waste of money, the reason being Judy wouldn’t say her poems!!! Different Times!!

Let us hope she will say her lines tonight!!!

Alice Barry

Alice originally comes from Cloyne but lived for many years in Carrigtwohill before moving to Grange where she now resides. She is a great supporter of the arts in Cork and is a friend of The Crawford Art Gallery. Alice is an avid theatre goer and has been for many years yet this is her first time threading the boards. Since she is now retired from teaching she has great hopes that this debut will lead to a very long, fulfilling and inspiring second career. (Note she didn’t say prosperous!)

Marian O’Callaghan

Marian O’Callaghan began acting in Clonakilty under the direction of

-Eileen Nolan of the Monforts. Lead roles in the Playboy of the Western World, The Merchant of Venice  -followed by plays in Ballinora GAA hall.

Marian joined the Muskerry Players under the direction of Tim Murphy and played in Big Maggie, The righteous are Bold, Night must Fall, Juno and the Paycock and many more productions.

Random Theatre with Muiris McGillacuddy  – Widow Quinn in the Playboy, I do not like thee, Dr. Fell, Hubert Murray’s Widow, Marrying Mary and many more over the years

the Pyke theatre with Charlie Conway  as a director and now instrumental in the formation of the RTAI Drama group. Production of “There goes the bell” is a new departure. Hopefully the start of a new phase in a life long love of drama.

Kathleen Flynn 

was a member of the teaching staff at Scoil Eoin, the boys school, in Ballincollig for 37 years. During those years I taught both Junior and Senior Infants for many years which I thoroughly enjoyed. In my latter years I moved into the more specialised areas of Language Support, Learning Support and Resource teaching. I was happy to be a member of the management team, and see the school flourish and rise to the many new challenges that came over the years. I always had a particular interest in drama and performance. I had many proud moments over the years helping the pupils prepare for Cór Fhéile, school concerts, and the spectacular and unique Christmas Pageants we performed in the Church of St. Mary and St. John, Ballincollig. The wheel has turned full circle for me now as I find myself tripping the light fantastic, on the little stage of the Cork Arts Theatre.

Kathleen Lowney

Kathleen Lowney plays the character Fidelma Uí Laoghaire, the Vere Foster Medallist with a secret!She hails from Mayo originally. She taught  in various schools in Cork before becoming  Principal of Scoil Mhaoilíosa, Knockavilla. Kathleen was very involved in the IT 2000 initiative. She became  IT Advisor to the West Cork Education Centre in 2003 until 2008. Her particular interest was IT and SEN. Her other passion was Film Making. She set up the West Cork Film Festival, part of the FÍS project. She was also very involved in INTO. Now retired, she is an active member of the RTAI.

Grace Donovan

Grace lives in Coachford and spent all her teaching career in Ovens N. S. She has always had an interest in drama and music, starting as a tiny tot in the famous Coachford Pantomimes to being a member of Coachford Players since its foundation. She has played many parts such as Big Maggie, Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, Aunt Eller in Oklahoma, Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa and many other similar interesting parts. She is also taking part in The Wizard of Oz as Aunt Em/The Good Witch with Coachford Players 9th-12th December. In this production she not drawing from her experience as a teacher, but has changed roles to becoming the formidable School Secretary!

Malachaí Mac Amhlaoibh 

Malachaí is a teacher in Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil, Gleann Maghair. Originally from Dún Chaoin in the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht, he has been involved in many different productions with An Lab, Aisteoirí Bhréannain and Beehive Theatre in Kerry.  While studying in U.C.C he was actively involved with An Cumann Drámaíochta. He has both written and directed school productions for An Féile Scoil Drámaíochta.

Margaret Walsh

Margaret’s earliest memory of drama is of playing the king in “An Rí a bhí breoite” in primary school many moons age. There followed more drámaí and sceitseanna in secondary school. However, she never quite managed to reach the dizzy heights of playing An Mhaighdean Mhuire in Dráma na Nollag. She has been resting ever since!

However, during her career, she regularly wrote and produced school plays. Her longstanding interest in textile art, fabric dyeing and sewing stood her in good stead when it came to costumes. Joining the RTAI Drama Group has had her in stitches in more ways than one.