DV GODA Portrait 1This year we are delighted to welcome David Vince to Ballyshannon to act as adjudicator in the 2017 Ballyshannon Drama Festival, which will run from March 11th-19th.

David studied at Birmingham Theatre School and has acted professionally for stage and television. His involvement with amateur theatre spans some forty years, during which time he has worked at almost every job in the theatre both backstage and front-of-house: from painting scenery, set design and construction to publicity and administration. His main loves are acting and directing and he has won many festival awards in both fields.

He is a former Vice Chairman of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators, having been a member since 1986. He served for eight years as a member of the GODA Council and is a former Editor of both the G.O.D.A. News & Views magazine and Asides, the Guild’s newsletter to festival organisers. He has adjudicated widely throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, including Divisional and Area Finals of the All England Theatre Festival.

He is no stranger to the organisation of theatre festivals having been Chairman of the Shropshire Drama Festival for seven years as well as Festival Secretary to the Telford Drama Festival and a member of Divisional and Area Committees of the All England Theatre Festival.

He is keen to encourage participation in the theatre by young people and was the founder Director of the Donnington Youth Theatre in Shropshire.

Since retiring from a career in arts management he is able to devote more time to acting, directing and adjudicating. He lives in Suffolk and is delighted to have been invited to adjudicate the 2017 Ballyshannon Drama Festival.

The programme for the 2017 Ballyshannon Drama Festival has been finalised, and here’s what you need to know:

The 65th Ballyshannon Drama Festival 

oneactlogoMarch 11th – 19th, 2017

Nightly at 8.15pm (7.30pm on Final Night)

Adjudicator: David Vince (GODA)

Sat. 11th: Backburners’ Drama present ‘Tuesdays With Morrie’ by Mitch Albom/ Jeffrey Hatcher (Confined)
Sun. 12th: D. A. D. S. presents ‘The Odd Couple’ by Neil Simon (Confined)
Mon. 13th: Newtownstewart Theatre Group presents ‘The Hen Night Epiphany’ by Jimmy Murphy (Confined)
Tues. 14th: Lifford Players present ‘Abigail’s Party’ by Mike Leigh (Open)
Wed. 15th: Letterkenny Drama presents ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’ by Eugene O Neill (Open)
Thurs. 16th: Phoenix Players present ‘The Third Policeman’ by Flann O Brien (Confined)
Fri. 17th: Bradán Players present ‘Blackbird’ by David Harrower (Open)
Sat. 18th: Corn Mill Theatre Group present ‘Philadelphia, Here I Come’ by Brian Friel (Open)
Sun. 19th: Prosperous – ‘The Play About The Baby’ – Edward Albee (Open)

Season tickets – €65 for all nine nights

Nightly – €15/12 concessions
Group rates available
Booking: Abbey Arts Centre 0719851375 or 0863743207

There were dramatic autumn beginnings for our company, planned and designed, as we threw down red carpets and sent aspirations to the gods of dry weather for the arrival of the Vikings. Of course I’m talking about our Oslo Askeraden Drama friends who arrived on our shores on September 29th to perform their version of ‘Peer Gynt’ for the Donegal Bay & Bluestacks Festival.

Warm hugs and huge smiles joined us all back together in a bonding moment. We set off for a celebration union dinner in the resplendent Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh. In this perfect setting we were treated like royalty and dined
like kings as our guests  gazed in awe at the Atlantic Ocean waves. After dinner we were  entertained with Irish dance and shared  our local history before retiring to bed.

Day 2 was filled with rehearsals and a trip to the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, then back to partying in Aiden and Sharon’s home. What a fabulous evening in the nicest of company, sharing great food, wine, song and lots of dancing .


Day 3 started with a tour of the Donegal Craft Village and Donegal Castle. That  night the Abbey audience were treated to a wonderful  technical production of “Peer Gynt” performed in English, no less. They certainly did us proud. The group left on Sunday and parting is such sweet sorrow but  hopefully  we will meet again in the near future. That’s our wish.
14657413_1774995136095454_5751957620586136711_nourtownWe had a short reprieve  to recharge the batteries in preparation for our in-house production of ‘Our Town’  by Thornton Wilder. We had a fabulous  four-night run: Oct 11th, 12th, 13th and 16th, all of which were sponsored by the ever-supportive Sandhouse Hotel. A cast and crew of 35, directed by Anne Mc Hugh and Geraldine Diver, delighted audiences and brought so much new talent to our  stage. Hopefully our new members will stay with us for further productions.


the-real-thing-5to0bqyv-uq3There’s more…We are hitting the Circuit road again with Tom Stoppard’s  play “The Real Thing” directed by Christian Carbin. Our  winter sport begins on Tuesday 25th of October with our first reading, and we are looking forward to the fruits of that labour.

That’s you all caught up! It’s busy but it’s all good madness. I’ll be back with more updates  soon but for now it’s a massive thank you to everyone involved in all our recent events, especially our sponsors The Sandhouse Hotel who were our sponsors each night for ‘Our Town’, and please stay close because we appreciate you all.
Trish Keane
Chairperson, Ballyshannon Drama Society

Ballyshannon Drama Society presents ‘Our Town’ by Thornton Wilder, directed by Anne Mc Hugh & Geraldine Diver. It tells the story of the fictional American small town of Grover’s Corners between 1901 and 1913 through the everyday lives of its citizens. The show will run in the Abbey Arts Centre for four nights: Tuesday 11th October, Wednesday 12th, Thursday 13th and Sunday 16th, at 8pm each night. 

While there is no traditional set in Wilder’s play, there is an abundance of characters, as there is in any small town. Over twenty actors will take to the stage tonight, some familiar to the Abbey audience, but many new and full of talent. Our journey through ‘Our Town’ is guided by the Stage Manager, played by Michael Mc Mullin. He introduces us to the town and all its characters.

This is a wonderful play which breaks away from traditional theatre to tell a well-known story which is still relevant today, even though the play was first produced in 1938. Contact the Abbey Arts Centre box office to book your ticket: 0719851375. Tickets will also be available at the door.


‘Our Town’ opens in the Abbey Arts Centre on Tuesday, Oct. 11th, and features over 20 cast members, some of whom you may recognise, and some you will hopefully see more of in years to come! 

Directed by Ann Mc Hugh & Geraldine Diver, the play is a classic of American theatre which poses particular challenges as there is virtually no set!

Tickets are €10 on opening night and €15 each night after that. To book, phone 0719851375 between 10 and 4. Tickets will also be available on the door. 

Ship mastThis Autumn we are delighted to welcome the Askeraden Drama Group to Ballyshannon to present their version of Ibsen’s ‘Peer Gynt’. The production is a slightly reduced version to allow for travel restrictions, and will be performed in the Abbey Arts Centre on October the 1st at 8pm as part of the Donegal Bay and Bluestacks Festival.

Here’s the synopsis of the play from the group themselves: ‘This year Askeraden are diving into the dramatic depths of Ibsen’s literary world. We are creating our own variation on Ibsen’s iconic romantic dramatic poem; Peer Gynt. The lead male role, Peer Gynt, will be played as a female role in our version of the dramatic tale. We meet the young Pe Gynt as a modern teenager with Attitude. Pe launches herself into a life of impulsive wandering to fulfill ambition, and introvert procrastination as her sand castles crumble in the tide. Morten Andreas Kise, an experienced member of Askeraden, has adapted the original manuscript for this Askeraden production.

Coffin and soapbox 2Pe is about to embark on a quest to ambitious self-realisation as we join her rollercoaster ride through life. Starting in her real world, we are whisked up into her imaginary heroic scenes, then swept down into the sublime and surreal drama within a troubled soul to share moments of peculiar perspective. Pe completes a circle of life, at last to find some solace in being loved.

Is it madness to worship ambition? Shall we sacrifice everything to ambition? Ambition has layer after layer of ambition, with layer after layer of compromise and sacrifice? Is there no core, no value, no soul, no final realisation? Will there be no fellow traveller?

Grey moltonAskeraden will take you on Pe Gynt’s journey. Ride with us through Ibsen’s masterful tour in search of self realisation, to be oneself, to be good enough. Is that enough?’

The group are coming here as part of an exchange which was set up by Phelim Rooney, originally from Kinlough but now resident in Asker, Oslo, and John Travers, which saw Ballyshannon Drama Society travel to Oslo last year with ‘The God of Carnage’. We’re only too happy to have a chance to return the hospitality we were shown, and to introduce the Norwegians (and the Dane in the group) to the finer aspects of Ballyshannon life and culture!


Join Olive Travers for an experiential writing workshop in the beautiful and inspirational setting of the Longford Demesne Woods in Beltra, Co. Sligo, on August 13th, and help raise funds for a centre for children with disabilities in India. Read on for more info, then sign up quickly as this sounds like a wonderful experience for both new and established writers.

Olive Travers“The Art of Observation” is the first in a series of “Writers in the Woods” workshops which will be held in the grounds of Longford Demesne in Beltra, Co. Sligo. Taking place  on August 13th, the first workshop will be facilitated by writer and Clinical Psychologist Olive Travers.

Awareness through observation is an aspect of “Conscious Writing”, a new holistic approach grounded in cutting edge scientific research. It draws on age-old wisdom and unifies the fields of mindfulness psychology and neuroscience. The aim of the workshop is to enable writers to bring their authentic selves to the desk and allow them to write from the deepest place within so as to realise full creative potential.

Writers will be introduced to the seven core principles that are the gateways to the “conscious” in conscious writing. There is a close connection between spirituality and creativity. Becoming and remaining conscious is a primary focus of all the major spiritual traditions. In spite of their differences these traditions point in the same direction and their seven core principles of   Presence, Alignment, Authenticity, Balance, Simplicity, Intuition and Connection also support writers to open and deepen their conscious awareness. These principles can be applied to any and all types of writing. Creativity is so much more than just something we do. It is a state of being that adds colour, depth and richness to everyday life. “All things are ready if our mind be so,” wrote Shakespeare in Henry V. With conscious writing we ready the mind with an initial inner focus that enables us to write from the level of our true self and the mystery beyond to bypass the fears and anxieties of everyday self. It is the recognition that what we write is the 10% visible tip of a vast iceberg only made possible by the 90% that is unseen. Conscious writing explores these “invisibilities” in search of our true authentic voices and clarity about our core message.

The five core practices of Conscious Writing are;

  • Cultivating Awareness
  • Spending time in Nature
  • Conscious movement
  • Nurturing Creativity
  • Journal Writing

This experiential workshop will explore each of these core practices with an emphasis on sharpening the pencils of our five senses so that we can appreciate the richness of life around and within us. Participants will have access to the natural world of over 9 hectares of a magical privately owned ancient woodland. There are also paths through wild meadows surrounding a ring  fort and fulacht fia.The venue is a winner of the RDS Forest Service Bio-Diverse Forestry/woodlands award.


To Book or for further information please contact Eoghan Timoney at wood.series@gmail.com  or alternatively telephone 00353867358044



McCutchen Julia,(2015) Conscious Writing.  Hay House.

Lappin Linda, (2015) The Soul of Place.Travellers Tales.

Frith Chris,(2007) Making up the mind. Wiley Blackwell.