Having started off as an avenue of raising funds for the local community festival, the Dooega Drama Group from Achill Island are heading for loftier heights after it was confirmed they will play the TF Royal Theatre next month.
Following on from the hugely successful staging of John B Keane’s classic, ‘Many Young Men of Twenty’ in Achill over the New Year, the Dooega Drama Group will play the TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar on Friday, February 10 at 8pm. The staging of ‘Many Young Men of Twenty’ was a huge success for the group with over 400 people paying to see the play over two nights.
The Dooega Drama Group was founded in September 2010 as a way of fundraising for the Féile Dú Éige which was held in the village during the summer. Its founder Michael Lavelle told The Mayo News that playing in the TF was beyond their wildest expectations when they founded the drama group but the cast and crew could not wait.
“There is a great buzz around not only the village but the whole island and there is a lot of excitement about the prospect of staging the play in the TF. To get to play in the TF was a big surprise and we have to thank Pat Jennings of the TF for giving us this opportunity. I approached him thinking he would tell me to go on home but he agreed and we are really honoured. Not in our wildest dreams did we think we would be playing the TF when we started off first,” he said.
There are over 30 people involved in the play with a cast of 20 and the remaining crew members working behind the scene with Marty Mangan directing. The show in the TF will not be the end for the Drama Group who are also set to play the Civic Theatre in Tallaght on March 24.
The majority of the cast are from the village of Dooega and Michael said the play has brought real energy to the village.
“The play over the New Year brought people out of their houses and there was a great atmosphere over the two nights. The cast put on a great show which the public really enjoyed. This will be a whole new experience for the cast to play before a large crowd in the TF but they are really up for it and determined to put on a good show,” he said.
‘Many Young Men of Twenty’ is a play based on emigration and while the original play was set in Kerry the group decided to put an Achill twist on the show, setting it in McLoughlin’s Pub in Achill Sound, as young Achill men waited for the bus to take them to England.
Tickets on sale through Ticketmaster and from the Royal Theatre on 0818 300 000 or www.theroyal.ie.