Pictured from left Geoff O’Keeffe (Adjudicator) Emma Jane Nulty receiving the Winners of The Open Section Award for Dalkey Players for (The Crucible) from Festival Director (Sharon Farrelly).

Crucible bewitches Shercock adjudicator

Reigning All Ireland champions Dalkey lit up the Shercock Drama Festival as expected, as they advance in their bid to retain their national title, writes Katie O'Brien...

The South County Dublin troupe had already won the Open section in the Cavan Drama Festival the week before and proceeded to make it a Breffni clean sweep as they took the top prize in the Open section of the Shercock Festival for their epic production of Arthur Miller’s ‘Crucible’.

The 36th annual Shercock Drama Festival was “very successful” according to the Festival Director Sharon Farrelly.

The festival saw drama groups from all over the country come together in St Patrick’s Hall, Shercock for a week full of quality acting and performances.

Ms Farrelly was very impressed by the high standard of performances at the festival. From March 14-22 Shercock had welcomed a different play each night with the nerve-jangling final evening concluding with Adjudicator Geoff O’Keefe deciding where the silverware would go. Dalkey Players were again the big winners, claiming the open category’s main prize for ‘The Crucible’.

Meanwhile the Newtown Theatre Group which performed ‘The New Electric Ballroom’ were overall winners of the Confined category.

While not amongst the major award winners, ‘The Outgoing Tide’ by the Glenamaddy Players left a lasting impression on the festival director.

Sharon Farrelly also recalls being “very impressed by the amazing scene changes by the Bridge Drama Group which staged ‘The Wake’ on the festival’s second evening.

Overall Shercock’s Drama Festival director lauded the event as a great success.

“Everything went accordingly with no hitches and no bad shows, making for a very enjoyable festival for all involved,” enthused Sharon.

The number of spectators attending this year’s festival had “improved when compared to previous years”. She also welcomed the “many new, young faces on the stage this year”, however, she noted a decrease in the number of groups competing in the Open category.

Sharon mentioned the commitment factor along with the expense involved with crews and sets as factors that may discourage drama groups from competing.

Despite this she is confident, “the future of the Shercock Drama Festival is bright”. She acknowledged the great support received from the local community through sponsorships and the addition of “new, young members to the committee”.

“It’s good to see new people,” said Sharon Farrelly, “with loads of new actors under the age of 20.”

The quality of the drama staged in Shercock could be measured by the fact that at least two productions - Dalkey Players and the Glenamaddy Players - have now secured their places in their respective All Ireland finals in Athlone and Laois, with more likely to follow.

Plans have already started for next year’s drama festival. The hard working organising committee have already confirmed a prominent local figure in the theatre world as the 2025 adjudicator, no doubt a festival not to be missed.