‘Strictly Drama’! Celebrating 20 year of RTÉ as title sponsor at the 2024 RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival

Planning is well underway for the 2024 RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival, under the stewardship of Festival Director, Regina Bushell and other Festival Committee members.

The festival which is held under the auspices of the ADCI, will run from Thursday, May 2nd to Friday, May 10th. The festival will conclude with a grand Gala Awards Dinner on Saturday, May 11th.

Audiences are in for a treat this year. Amongst the finalists are several premieres at the festival, that of a new Irish play, ‘Margaret’, ‘In the Shadow of the Glen: Reimagined’ (after JM Synge), and a premiere of ‘Radium Girls’. Two Arthur Miller plays also feature. There will also be performances by two first time qualifiers, as well as performances by former winners and qualifiers!

The draw for the nights on which the plays will be presented took place last Sunday, April 14th. Speaking at the draw Regina Bushell noted that the festival had celebrated a number of significant anniversaries in recent years and this year is particularly special as it marks the 20th year of RTÉ as title sponsor of the All Ireland Drama Festival. Mayor Louise Heavin, who is a committee member, grew up with drama. She said no matter what skills you have you can bring something to your local drama group. She commended the Festival Committee for its hard work.

Tom Maguire, formerly of RTÉ, reminded that Bride Rosney (RIP) a former director of communications at RTÉ was critical to the partnership between RTÉ and the festival. To mark this contribution and her particular interest in encouraging newcomers a special one-off Bride Rosney 2024 award will be presented at the gala awards. The finalists are invited to nominate one newcomer in their production, this could be across all skill sets involved, and send in a few lines as to why they would be deserving of the award.



Turning to the programme, first up are former All Ireland winners, Bridge Drama, who will perform ‘The Wake’ by Tom Murphy on Thursday May 2nd, 2024. Directed by Trish Doyle the play is a story of family, loneliness and resilience told with poignancy, humour and devastating truth.
On Friday May 3rd Wexford Drama Group will perform ‘How I Learned to Drive”  by Paula Vogel. Directed by Paul Welsh the play tells the story of an abusive relationship between a niece and her uncle during her adolescence.
Next up on Saturday May 4th are former festival winners, Ballyduff Drama Group, directed by Ger Canning. They will present ‘The Ferryman’ by Jez Butterworth. Set during the Troubles the Carney farmhouse is a hive of activity preparing to celebrate the harvest. But this year they will be interrupted by a visitor.
Former festival winners, Prosperous Dramatic Society, will perform ‘A View from the Bridge’ by Arthur Miller on Sunday May 5th. Set in an Italian-American neighbourhood on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge the play is directed by Connie Broderick.
On Monday May 6th first time qualifiers, Clontarf Players, will premiere ‘Radium Girls’ by D.W. Gregory at the festival. Directed by Myra Maguire, the play is inspired by a true story and follows Grace Fryer, a dial painter, as she battles for her day in court after falling ill to a mysterious ailment.
The 2023 All Ireland winners, Dalkey Players, will present ‘The Crucible’ by Arthur Miller on Tuesday 7th May. Directed by Emma Jane Nulty, the play tells the story of one man’s fight to save his identity in a repressive Puritan community where intolerance collides with lust and superstition.
On Wednesday May 8th former festival winners, Newpoint Players present ‘In the Shadow of the Glen: Reimagined’ (after JM Synge). Written by writer/director Seán Treanor, the original story is elaborated and expanded, with some characters being developed further.
First time qualifiers Ballycogley Players, directed by Pat Whelan, will perform ‘Out of Order’ by Ray Cooney on Thursday May 9th. When a Government Junior Minister, plans to spend the evening with one of the opposition’s secretaries, things go disastrously wrong leading to a hilarious chain of events.
Finally, regulars at the festival Ballyshannon Drama Society will premiere ‘Margaret’ a new Irish play by Shaun Byrne on Friday May 10th. This is the third of Shaun’s plays to be performed at the festival in recent years. Directed by Monica Doherty, the play centres on Margaret Thatcher in her final years.

Tickets go on sale online from 10 am on April 18th on the Dean Crowe website and from midday at the theatre box office, phone (090) 6492129. Admission €22. Concessions (€20) are available.