Music theatre festival to boost town’s economy

Padraig Sheehan (Chairman Organising Committee), with the ladies who provided entertainment Irene Malone, Shona Holden, Helen Hahessy
A new music theatre festival will bring hundreds of visitors to Carrick-on-Suir next month.

A new music theatre festival will bring hundreds of visitors to Carrick-on-Suir next month.

Details of the inaugural Carrick-on-Suir Music Theatre Festival were unveiled at its official launch by Clonmel music legend Danny Carroll at the Strand Theatre last Thursday.

Festival Committee Chairman Padraig Sheehan told 80 assembled guests the Festival will take place at the Strand Theatre on Saturday and Sunday, September 28/29.

Four top musical societies are competing: Wexford Light Opera Society, winners of the Gilbert section of this year’s Association of Irish Musical Society (AIMS) awards; New Ross’ St Michael’s Musical Society, Sullivan section winners at AIMS this year; Thurles Musical Society, overall AIMS winners on several occasions and Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society, former overall AIMS winners and two-time International trophy winners at Waterford International Festival of Light Opera. The competing societies can either stage a shortened version of one of their past productions or a variety show at the Festival. Carrick Musical Society’s entry will be “The Best of Westside Story” and St Michael’s Musical Society’s will do a variety show called “The First Five Years”. Both will be performed on the Sunday night.

Thurles MS’ entry “Golden Moments” and Wexford LOS’s entry “A New World” will be staged on the Saturday night. The adjudicator will by Tony Finnegan, a highly regarded judge at Waterford International Festival of Light Opera, which isn’t taking place this year.

The overall festival winner will be awarded the Dick Meany Perpetual Trophy and a €2000 cheque. There will be a €500 prize for second place and trophies for outstanding individual performances.

Mr Sheehan said: “We will have an audience reaction score, which will be an incentive for societies to bring a large group of supporters with them. And we are delighted to be in a position to grant each competing group €1000 towards their competing costs. We deem this important as we don’t want this festival to have a cost to compete in it.”

Mr Sheehan and the late Dick Meany first thought up the idea for the festival in 2003 when the Strand Theatre was officially opened. It was decided to develop the concept last year when Mr Sheehan was approached by Carrick-on-Suir Tourism Development & Economic Committee after one of the proposals to emerge from its Carrick Economic Forum was to use the Strand Theatre to attract tourists to the town. “We want to see this festival grow into an annual event, expanding into theatre workshops and youth competitions. It is our view that we start small and get established and hopefully competing societies will enjoy their time in Carrick and we can attract more in the future,” added Mr Sheehan.

Tickets for festival shows cost €15 and can be purchased on-line or from Strand Theatre at (051) 645050.