Video: Powerful drama to make Clonmel history

For the first time ever, John B Keane’s epic drama ‘The Field’ will take to the stage at the White Memorial Theatre in Clonmel from May 16-19.

With a powerful strong cast under the direction of Anne Williamson, Clonmel Theatre Guild is buzzing with excitement in anticipation of this production.

Rehearsals are in full swing while the crew behind the scenes are working hard building a set to create the atmosphere for this wonderful play.

The Field is probably John B. Keane’s best known and much loved play. Set in the small village of Carraigthomond in southwest Ireland in the early 1960s, The Field tells the story of the hardened Irish farmer "Bull" McCabe and his love for the land he rents. Bull has spent five hard years of labour cultivating a small plot of rented land, nurturing it from barren rock into a fertile field. When the owner of the field decides to auction it, Bull believes that he has a claim to the land. He decides to deal with the situation in the only way he knows and his actions have tragic consequences.

In casting this play, director Anne Williamson was passionate about finding the perfect actor to best portray each of the characters in the plot. She has done an amazing job of casting long standing and new members of the guild in Ger Meagher (Bull), John Morris (Tadgh), Catherine O’Donnell (Maimie Flanagan), Jim Malone (Sergeant Leahy), Desmond Cunningham (Fr. Murphy), Carol Acheson (Maggie Butler), Paul Kelly (Dandy McCabe) and Tom Callery (Bishop).

Returning faces to the stage include Kevin Fahey (the Bird) and John Leahy (Mick Flanagan), along with new members Caolán Deehy Power (William Dee), Majella Carrigan (Mrs. McCabe), Adele Armstrong and Holly Jean Williamson (village girls), with the added delight of four children - Trysten Afrin, Brianna Boyle, Leah Alyward and Tara Malone (the Flanagan children) - joining the cast.

John Morris (Tadgh McCabe), Kevin Fahey (The Bird) and Ger Meagher (Bull). Photo: Clonmel Camera Club.

Ger Meagher says it has been a lifelong ambition of his to play the role of Bull. Even though he has a lot of lines to learn, Ger is relishing the challenge, loves coming to rehearsals and is really looking forward to bringing this play to the people of South Tipperary.

Anne Williamson began directing in the 1990s and is well known for her productions with the well-travelled and loved Fionn Mac Cumhaill Players from Cloneen. Anne has been involved with many groups including Clonmel Theatre Guild, Galloglass Theatre Company, JW Productions and Slievenamon Musical Society.

Throughout her acting career, Anne has played many lead roles on stage in musicals and plays, with her favourites being Maggie in 'Big Maggie', Annie Wilkes in ‘Misery’ as well as Lady Bracknell in ‘The Importance of being Earnest’ to name but a few. Delighted to be directing The Field for Clonmel Theatre Guild, Anne hopes everyone enjoys her take on this wonderful John B. Keane masterpiece.

Behind the scenes, set builders Edmond Ryan and Mark Small are hard at work, ably assisted by guild members who are always on hand to help with painting and moving sets. Newcomer Adele Armstrong takes on the role of stage and props manager, while Carolanne Mullooly will be looking after sound and lighting, Ann Loh-Wrenne and her team in front of house will look after patrons on show nights, and Adrienne Small is the show’s producer and is responsible for PR.

It is a tradition in the guild to make a donation from the opening night’s raffle to charity and on this occasion we are supporting Brú Columbanus which provides ‘home from home’ accommodation for relatives of seriously ill patients in any of the Cork Hospitals regardless of where they come from.

Tickets are on sale from Marian’s Bookshop in Clonmel. Telephone 052-6123813. Tickets are also available online right here. Adults €15, OAPs and students €12.

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