RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival 2023
April 27th – May 5th 2023, Dean Crowe Theatre
Awards on May 6th, Radisson Hotel Athlone
The 2023 All Ireland Drama Festival is a very special year as the Amateur Drama Council Of Ireland founded in Athlone in 1953 is celebrating its 70th Anniversary. It is an amazing success story and one everyone is so proud to be part of.
All around the country festivals are taking place and the nine best plays, all of them multi award winners, arrived in Dean Crowe Theatre in Athlone on a level playing pitch to battle it out for the RTÉ All Ireland Title under the watchful eye of the adjudicator Paula Dempsey.
The plays conveyed many emotions bringing excitement, delight and surprise to the Athlone audience.
For 70 years the people of Athlone have supported the committee and this year is no different. The town has been decorated with the Festival colours red and black, the retailers excelled taking part in the Shop Window Display competition. Discover what happened during the 2023 Festival.
If you would like to take a look at some accommodation options, you can download our brochure using the button below.
Introducing this year’s finalists with the date they performed their plays. If you would like to read more about their work please click the button below.
On Easter Monday the 10th April the directors and members of the cast and crew of the 9 play’s competing in the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival gathered in the Dean Crowe Theatre where a draw for the nights that the groups would perform took place.
Since its establishment in 2014, this annual competition challenges Transition Year students to write a short 1-Act play (2,000 words approx) on a given theme. The winner gets to experience their play being performed on stage at an awards ceremony at the Dean Crowe Theatre before their classmates, teachers and family members.
The Festival Fringe promises a bumper crop of Drama again this year. Some highlights include the All Ireland one act winners and the UK finalists from Northern Ireland. The Athlone Film Festival, part of the fringe, took place on Saturday the 22nd of April with a script writing workshop beforehand.
On Thursday the 20th April the 9 finalists, the Athlone Director and committee and ADCI representatives travelled to the Abbey Theatre in Dublin to meet up with RTÉ representatives the Abbey Directors and invited guests to launch the 2023 festival.
Gala Awards Night
This special evening is attended by all involved in All Ireland Drama festival circuit. The groups, festivals, various committee representatives and VIPs. Glamour and sparkle, great food, conversation, dancing and the presentation of the awards and All Ireland Title were announced.
Come back here to see photos and find out who the winner is!
As the director of the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival It was an absolute pleasure again this year to visit a number of the ADCI festivals around the country and meet up with the hard working committees and get to see many of the plays that have made it to the All Ireland finals here in Athlone. It was so positive to hear that most festivals reported that their audience numbers were recovering well after Covid and that there were many nights where they had full houses. I wish to thank all festivals for their amazing voluntary work year after year. Without the groups and Festivals we would not be gathering together in Athlone to celebrate the cream of amateur drama in Ireland.
The 2023 All Ireland Drama Festival is a very special year as the Amateur Drama Council Of Ireland founded in Athlone in 1953 is celebrating its 70th Anniversary. It is an amazing success story and one I am so proud to be part of it for the last 40 years. All around the country festivals have taken place and the nine best plays, all of them multi award winners, will arrive in Dean Crowe Theatre in Athlone on a level playing pitch to battle it out for the RTÉ All Ireland Title under the watchful eye of the adjudicator Paula Dempsey.
Having seen most of the plays on the festival circuit I can confirm that the standard and quality of the plays, acting and directing is very high. I would not like to be in Paula’s shoes picking the overall winner. The plays will bring up many emotions and will, excite, delight, surprise and shock the Athlone audience. For 70 years the people of Athlone have supported the committee and this year is no different. Plans are in place for decoration of the town, the retailers are getting behind the Shop Window Display and there are many more activities planned which will be unveiled in the coming days. Tickets go on sale on Friday 14th of April.
Director General of RTÉ
Last year RTÉ supported over 150 national and community arts events – it was a record number, as our arts and cultural sectors bounced back from the challenging years of the pandemic.
We are so proud to support the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival. This major national festival for amateur drama, born of the creativity of dozens and dozens of community drama groups all over the country, united again last year, in person and in character, in Athlone. This important partnership illustrates one story in the tale of RTÉ’s commitment to communities, and reflects the vital role RTÉ plays in keeping our communities alive, be it in crafts, in sport, or, as in this case, amateur drama. Over the 10 or so days of the festival, drama groups from all over Ireland will compete, each one a winner in regional heats that took in the length and breadth of our nation. They will compete for their community, and their art.
With the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival, we are proud to foster creativity and acting talent through drama, and to bring the excitement and tension of this unique festival to audiences all over Ireland, through the partnership with RTÉ lyric fm, through RTÉ.ie and our social channels, and through RTÉ Radio 1. We are delighted this year to produce yet another ambitious radio and television campaign that gets to the heart of what make this festival so enduring: the power of drama, of the individual, and of the collective, and the resilience to start again. The spotlight is on Athlone during May, and we will be there.
We wish all participants the very best of luck in the competition and look forward to a week of great drama, on and off the stage.
Paula is an Actor , Director and Drama Adjudicator. She has worked on Programmes including ‘The Accrington Pals’ and ‘The Wild Poppy Blowing’ for RTE produced by John MacKenna. Plays include ‘Who By Fire’ and ‘The Woman at the Window’ with Mend and Makedo Theater Company, ‘Married to the Sea’ for Dragonfly Theatre Company and Christopher Durang’s ‘Beyond Therapy’ for Orions Belt Theatre Company. As director of Laois Youth Theatre Paula collaborated with writers and members in order to devise original theatre productions. These include “Laois- A Sound History “ by poet Pat Boran and “On Track” by author and screenwriter Ursula de Brun.
Paula has also worked as an Actor Trainer and Facilitator for theatre training companies such as Shift Theatre Company and ToBe Theatre Training. She has been adjudicating since 2007 and is a member of the Association of Theatre Adjudicators. Paula adjudicated the Confined Three Act Finals in Doonbeg in 2019 and the All Ireland One Act Drama Finals in Ballina in 2022.
Since moving to Germany taking part in the local Drama Scene has been a priority and Paula directed the German translations of both “The Importance of being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde and “ Blithe Spirit “ by Noel Coward.
Paula holds an honours BA and MA in Modern Drama Studies from University College Dublin and is looking forward immensely to her time in the Dean Crowe.
Meet the team that work extremely hard behind the scenes to make this a success.