FAMILY TIES Mick and Gemma Gannon are pictured with their son, Oisín, all of whom will be appearing in Ballinrobe Musical Society’s production of ‘Me And My Girl’ next week. Pic: Trish Forde
ANOTHER sign that life is returning to some sort of normality will come next Sunday afternoon when the curtain comes up on Ballinrobe Musical Society’s matinee performance of ‘Me And My Girl’.
It will be the first time in three years that the award-winning South Mayo society will take to the stage and hopes are high that audiences will flock to Ballinrobe in their customary big numbers for the seven shows that are being staged.
“We’re back with a bang!” Society chairman, Kenneth McCarthy told The Mayo News last week. “We picked a show with lots of comedy and that lots of our patrons and audiences would like. There’s loads of parts so we had a huge amount of interest in our auditions, so we got a lot of new, young talent back into the show. And most of our old friends are back too!
“It’s an old favourite, we did it 20 years ago, so a lot of people will have good memories of ‘Me And My Girl’”
Clare native McCarthy is also ‘double-jobbing’ as the Stage Manager this year, having initially come on board as a cast member in 2002.
After the Covid-enforced shutdown, his first year as chairman has been mostly about getting the show back on the road.
“Initially we did think it would be a challenge, but we had a great turnout for auditions so that gave us great faith that it would be easy to get it up and running again,” he explained.
“Unfortunately, some of our volunteers in areas like ‘Front of House’ aren’t in a position to come back and, sadly, some of our great friends have passed away since 2020.
“But the closer it gets to the show, the easier it is to get people to come on board to help out in the background across the week. There’s a great spirit of camraderie in the society.”
The lead roles this year are filled by John Byrne from Partry, Kerry native Helena Brosnan, who lives in Castlegar, Kate McDonnell from Dunmore, local legend Niall Conway, with society stalwarts like Richard Crumlish, Gerry Hughes, Michael Sweeney, Gemma Gannon Des Treacy, Michelle Conroy and Walter Donoghue all back on board as well.
More than 40 people make up the cast with another 20 on duty backstage and a small army of volunteers signed up to help out in a variety of other roles.
“Everybody has really rowed in,” said Kenneth McCarthy.
“It’s a big stage too, there’s a lot involved in it. Our props team — Gwen Costello and John Hyland — are scouring the country for props, getting everything ready backstage, and we have a massive crew who have been building the set on weekends and in the evenings.
“So there will be a lot to watch out for! It’s a big impressive set.
“I’d also like to thank William Culkeen [Ballinrobe Community School principal] for being so accommodating and encouraging. It’s fantastic to have such a great facility to host the show while we’re waiting for the new Town Hall to come on stream.”
The ball gets rolling with a matinee next Sunday, February 12 at 4pm with shows taking place each night across the week at 8pm in the Ballinrobe Community School.
Get your tickets
Tickets are available from the box office in Tacú on Main Street in Ballinrobe or via the society’s website: ballinrobemusicalsociety.com