2020 Festival Program



6  to 14  March 2020




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A prisoner feigns psychosis in order to be transferred from the prison work farm to the perceived easier option of a mental institution. He, however, arrives on a psychiatric ward ruled by a tyrannical nurse. His future and those of his fellow patients come to depend on whoever wins the ensuing battle of wills between Randle P. McMurphy and Nurse Mildred Ratchet.

One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest

by Dale Wasserman,

from a novel by Ken Kesey

Lislea Dramatic Players

Friday 6th March 2020


All Ireland football Final Sunday, 2020. Cavan vs Dublin. Former Cavan footballer, and 1952 All Ireland winner, Rua Smith, is watching the match on television from his blacksmith's forge in Templeport.  His grandson is playing wing-forward in Croke Park, being marked by Jack McCafferty. His grandson's wife, Sarah, calls around to the forge in order to help Rua commit suicide with a syringe of Nembutal she has purchased off the dark net. After all, Cavan can't win if Rua is still alive since he's the last surviving member of the 1952 team, a team which was cursed by an old woman on the top of Ireland’s Holy Mountain, a curse which states that Cavan will never win another All Ireland until everyone who played in '52 is dead. Rua knows that with him being dead there will be nothing standing in the way of his beloved Cavan capturing Sam Maguire, apart from the six-in-a-row chasing Dubs, probably the best football team of all time.

The Cavan Curse

by John McManus

The Knocks Drama Group

Monday 9th March 2020

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All the ladies who are anybody in Chinquapin, Louisiana come to Truvy’s Beauty Salon to get their hair done. Wise-cracking Truvy and her eager new assistant Annelle – who isn’t sure whether or not she’s still married) dispense shampoo and free advice to an array of memorable characters. There’s the towns rich curmudgeon Ouiser (‘I’m not crazy, I’ve just been in a bad mood for 40 years’), Miss Clairee the eccentric millionaire with a raging sweet tooth and the local social leader M’Lynn whose daughter Shelby – the prettiest girl in town – is about to marry a ‘Good Ol’ Boy’.

With comedy and tragedy in equal measure, Steel Magnolias is a play filled with hilarious repartee and humorously revealing exchanges. A testament to the touching quality of amiable company in good times and in bad.

Steel Magnolias

by Robert Harding

Butt Drama Circle

Thursday 12th March 2020


Maddy and Rory are devoted parents to three- year old Joshua, committed to keeping him happy and safe. But when an everyday visit to a supermarket café turns into a far more troubling incident, their trust in those closest to them is shattered. They are flung into a well of paranoia.

Gnawing away at Maddy is the possibility- just the possibility- that her toddler, Joshua, has been abused by a stranger. Such is her protective instinct that she now perceives everyone as a potential danger to her child. Maddy’s neurotic mistrust of the world leads her to a dark place.

Gut is a taut psychological thriller that asks who can be trusted with our children, and is it more dangerous not to trust at all? The play is a vision of contemporary society where hyper -vigilance has replaced a sense of community and helpfulness.


by Frances Poet

Thurles Drama Group

Saturday 7th March 2020

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The true Story of Mary K." is a "memory play" and is indeed a true story, or rather true elements of the lives of two of the director/playwright’s ancestors combined. It is a dramatisation of the life of a young Irish girl, who enters service in a 'big house', is abused and is forced into emigration. She is exposed to the industrial life of Pittsburgh. She returns to Ireland, is widowed and as a woman has to fight repeatedly to keep her financial and personal independence. Mary K. also has to fight to protect her fragile brother who is gay.

All of this makes the piece sound "dark' and indeed some of the scenes are brutal and tragic. However, there are scenes which are designed to be charming and heart-warming.

The True Story of Mary K

by Sean Treanor

Newpoint Players

Tuesday 10th March 2020

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A family’s seemingly ordinary life is gradually undermined when a middle-aged couple entertain their daughter’s new boyfriend. As he begins to take more than a polite interest in them both, secrets are hinted at and boundaries crossed.  As cracks open up in the bland surface of their lives, the play moves into the realm of the psychological thriller, building to a disclosure that changes our understanding of all that has gone before.

In this commission by the Abbey Theatre, Mark O ’Rowe has crafted an unnerving, arresting and shape-shifting play that suggests our reality is already stalked by evils beyond our comprehension.

Our Few and Evil Days

by Mark O'Rowe

Prosperous Theatre

Friday 13th March 2020

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The Communication Cord centres around scheming barrister Jack McNeilis and his hapless friend, junior lecturer Tim O’Donoghue, and their attempts to get bombastic Senator Dr Donovan to allow his daughter Susan to be Tim’s fiancée and, hopefully, at the same time secure a fulltime lecturing position for him.

To impress the senator, Jack brings Tim to his cottage in Donegal, which Tim pretends is his. The problem is that Tim is a high-strung academic who is nervous and not really comfortable about going through with the plan of pretending the house is his. So from the moment Susan and her father show up, things spiral hilariously out of control as Tim starts feeding everybody a different story, and then fights to keep his deception from unravelling completely.

The Communication Cord

by Brian Friel

Phoenix Players

Sunday 8th March 2020

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The Night Alive is a play that explores the lives of a few lost souls, and a chance connection that may change their world. Tommy is a man who has been drifting through life for the past two years after failing in business and becoming estranged from his family. Discouraged and unkempt, he lives in a make-shift bedsit, converted from a room in his uncle’s house in Dublin. Tommy gets by, making ends meet, through whatever crackpot schemes he can think of. He is often helped by his slightly younger friend Doc, who is innocent, a lost soul and homeless.

When he rescues a young prostitute named Aimee who has been badly beaten, Tommy begins to feel a glimmer of hope that he can make something of his life. All that may end however, as a shady character from Aimee’s past makes an unwelcome appearance.

The Night Alive

by Conor McPherson 

Enniskillen Thatre Company

Wednesday 11th March 2020

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Colin must be comforted in his grief over the death of his fiancée. His Friends, who never met the girl, arrange a tea party for him. Understandably, they are on edge wondering what to say to him.


But there is more in their unease than that. Diana, Paul, John, Evelyn and Maggie are all kept together by a mixture of business and cross marital affairs. By the time Colin arrives for tea, their mood is tense and the cheerful analysis of the trouble causes each, in his own way, to break down.

Absent Friends

by Alan Ayckbourn

Holywood Players

Saturday 14th March 2020