The Abbey Launch

21st April, 2022

Festival Launch Night

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 2022 festival.

It was the 70th year of the Athlone-based festival, and the first festival since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Regina Bushell, Festival Director, said:

“The RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival Committee is looking forward to welcoming back festival audiences to the refurbished Dean Crowe Theatre in Athlone, where they can meet up with old friends, make new friends and come together once again experience the magic of live theatre. In addition to the usual challenges of competing in festivals around the country, drama groups had to contend with Covid regulations when rehearsing and presenting their plays – some even braving the elements during outdoor rehearsals! At this year’s festival, theatre goers are in for a feast of drama, from two handers (including two from the same playwright) to a brand-new Irish play, as well as a re-imagined classic myth.”

Mark O’Brien, Executive Director / Co-Director, Abbey Theatre said:

“It is a great privilege to host the launch of the RTE All Ireland Drama Festival at Ireland’s national theatre and continue the Abbey’s relationship to this festival and, through it, to the breadth of wonderful Irish amateur dramatic groups. The need for us as society to gather and share our stories was never more important than in these times of great change. The passion, dedication and camaraderie of the people involved in groups up and down the country is one of our nation’s greatest assets.”

Dee Forbes, Director-General, RTÉ, said:

“Each year RTÉ supports over 130 national and community arts events. The RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival is both of those things: it is a major national festival for amateur drama, born of the creativity of dozens and dozens of community drama groups all over the country. Throughout the pandemic, that close-knit national community stayed united virtually and will now unite again, in person and in character, in Athlone. 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 after two challenging years when the houselights were dark.”