Latest News from the Alley Theatre
Spring Programme Out Now!!!
To downlaod your copy click here
The Alley Theatre Spring Programme is out now packed full of exhibitions, entertainment and workshops suitable for all ages. Supported by Caffé Fresco, Gary Gamble aka Dame Formaldehyde’s from Januarys Panto ‘There Was An Old Lady’ was in town last week with Trevor Mealiff and Chairman of Strabane District Council Ruairi McHugh promoting the programme.
Fun for all the family as Strabane’s biggest community panto hits the stage from 9th January. Dame Formaldehyde’s orphanage is in peril. She has been unable to pay the rent for ten years, so the cruel Squire wants to make her - and all the orphans - homeless. Just when the situation seems at its lowest, it gets worse, for a Giant treads on the orphanage and smashes it to smithereens! The Fairy Queen makes the shoe into a home for the orphans and all looks fine - but then the Giant comes back for his shoe and accidentally carries off Princess Primrose, girlfriend to the Dame’s son Finn. Full of comic adventures and hilarious characters, this lively new pantomime combines tradition, originality and, in the typical PuddleAlley Theatre Group style, huge dollops of comedy. Book Before 24th December to receive special offers.
January and February are full of Country Legends including Dominic Kirwan, Robert Mizzell supported by Grainne Gavigan, Michael English and Al Grant with Jim Reeves 50th Anniversary Concert. As 2014 is the 50th Anniversary of the death of the great Jim Reeves, Al presents a unique insight into the Life and Times of Jim Reeves with a wonderful concert of Jim Reeves classic ‘Hit’ songs. With narration and video screen footage it will be an evening of Song and Story. Al will be joined by the wonderful Isla Grant. At the end of February get ready to sing along to some Dolly Parton classics as we welcome ‘The Dolly Parton Story’. The Dolly Parton Story is a two hour journey through the sensational career of one of country music’s most successful ladies.
Dolly Parton’s career has spanned over 50 years and her most celebrated material features in this show, With an all live band providing the sound and an array of amazing
rhinestone encrusted costumes, this is a real treat for any Dolly Parton fan.
Claire Ziritt has been a stage Medium for many years and with her easy going manner and warmth she is without doubt one of the finest exponents of her art in Ireland today.
She never fails to captivate and amaze her audience with the messages of love and inspiration she brings forward from the spirit world.
As always the Alley welcomes today’s funniest comedians. Jason Byrne will be entertaining audiences in February. Jason Byrne was cooped up in the BBC for months this year writing and recording his brand new sitcom ‘Father Figure’.
He is bursting for a chat. Jason is the biggest ever selling act at the Edinburgh fringe festival for a very good reason. He is one of the most exciting live performers you will ever see. Nothing can compare to seeing Jason in full flow on the live stage. His live shows are part of comedy folklore. Join Jason and become part of that folklore.
Bernard O’Shea - resident roving reporter and Georgia Salpa’s love interest on RTÉ’s hugely popular Republic of Telly, Bernard makes his highly anticipated debut performance at the Alley Theatre where he returns to his first love, stand up.
Bernard was chosen to perform at the Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in 2005 and is a regular at numerous comedy festivals including The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny and The Vodafone Comedy Festival in Dublin. His Edinburgh Fringe debut received a 5 star review from the Scotsman
Brendan Grace: The Genial Family Comedian is back.
Amazing Grace is a catch phrase often applied to Brendan Grace and indeed very true in many respects. The genial and much loved Family Comedian is celebrating 42 Years in the Comedy Business. Brendan’s latest show features some brand new material and some ‘Old Favourites’ from the last 42 years. His sense of timing and ability to read an audience is without equal.
As well as Country music the Alley will be hosting a range of live music including Jacqui Sharkey & Justin McGurk in concert, Declan Sinnott and the wonderful Brass Band League Championships.
Award Winning Drama
If you are a lover of drama the Alley has a superb range of productions in the Spring months including Brian Friel’s ‘Molly Sweeney’ by the Lyric Theatre. Blind since infancy, Molly Sweeney is persuaded to have an operation to restore her sight. Her husband Frank is convinced she has nothing to lose; her ophthalmologist Mr Rice is not so sure. The play charts their expectations and fantasies of how the operation will change everything, not just for Molly, but for all three of them.
The Strabane Drama Festival is back for nine nights of superb drama including Wexford Drama Group with ‘Other Desert’ by Jon Robin Baitz. Ballyshannon Drama Circle with ‘The Gingerbread Lady’ by Neil Simon and Bradán Players with ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ by Edward Albee plus lots more... Smashing Times Theatre Company brings ‘Uprising’ to the stage at the end of March. A fusion of text, movement and dance, Uprising explores memories and experiences of war and peace in Northern Ireland and internationally and asks why do we kill for a cause, why do we die for a cause? Uprising is drawn from interviews, research, speeches, poems, archive video material and new writing. Strabane LGBT Group & Black Air Theatre Group are proud to present a new original script based on true experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual people living, working or socialising in Strabane.
At Easter time Much Ado Stage School brings ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ to the Alley featuring both the Junior and Senior pupils of Much Ado Stage School. This Musical tells the tale of Joseph- his father’s favourite son, and a boy blessed with prophetic dreams. When he is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and
taken to Egypt, Joseph endures a series of adventures in which his spirit and humanity are continually challenged. Set to an engaging abundance of musical styles, from Country- Western and Calypso to Bubblegum Pop and Rock ‘n’ Roll with Elvis thrown in for good measure, this Old Testament tale emerges both timely and timeless.
Joseph is the ultimate family show - the perfect outing during the Easter Break!
As well as award winning performances the Alley Art Gallery will be hosting prestigious exhibitions including Strabane History Society presents: ’Our Built Heritage Project’
‘Voluma Wearable Sculpture’ where tradition and technique merge in this solo exhibition by artist / jeweller Elin Johnston, ‘VAGABOND’ by Catalyst Arts and ‘Our Possession is Loss’ by Leslie McNicholl
Arts Development Programme
Arts Development workshops this season includes something for all ages with sketching, sculpture, pottery, drumming and art workshops plus lots more.
For more information or to receive your copy of the latest programme contact the Alley Theatre Box Office on 028 71 384444 or visit www.alley-theatre.com
Alley Theatre Awarded Arts and Disability Equality Plaque
Last week The Alley Theatre received a coveted Arts and Disability Equality Plaque in recognition of the venue's work and commitment to offer access to everyone.
The Arts and Disability Equality Charter provides a framework for continuous development in accessibility. The Arts and Disability Equality Charter is operated by a partnership of the Arts and Disability Forum, Adapt NI and Open Arts with funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The framework focuses on key assessment areas such as accessibility, employment, policy, participation and audience development.
The Alley Theatre received this award in recognition of their commitment to making the arts accessible to all people.
Receiving the award on behalf of the Alley Theatre venue administrator Jacqui Doherty commented ‘We are delighted to receive such a prestigious award. We are continually seeking to improve our services in improving accessibility for all our customers. We actively seek to provide equal opportunity for all who visit the Centre. Engaging in The Arts and Disability Charter ensured continuous improvement in providing that service. We also achieved the Prestige William Keown Accessibility Award and the gold award in the Change a Little, Change a Little campaign. We will continue to develop a standard of good practice in relation to building equality and inclusion into all our services and activities on offer to people with disabilities. In the past we have signed performances and we now have a captioned performance coming up at the end of November as Bruiser Theatre Company presents: The Caucasian Chalk Circle. An accessibility guide is available on the Alley website and at our box office.’
Speaking at the presentation, Bob Collins, Chair of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:
“Part of the signature of being human is self expression. Everybody has a cultural life, everybody has an inner life, and everybody has the capacity to enjoy themselves and the arts.
We all contribute to publicly funded arts and it is very important that everybody is able to use and enjoy them.
The venues here today have made a commitment to long term engagement in addressing this issue of access and participation for all members of our community.”
For more information on the Alley Theatre Accessibility Guidelines contact The Alley Theatre Box Office 028 71 384444 or online www.alley-theatre.com
From Home to Foreign Fields; First World War Booklet
A book entitled “From Home to Foreign Fields” which presents a short introduction to the history of the First World War on the districts of Derry City, Strabane, Omagh and Donegal was launched recently at the County Donegal Museum, Letterkenny.
The launch also saw the screening of a number of docudramas on the First World War as well as Emigration, the Partition of Ireland, and the Omagh born poet Alice Milligan. The booklet and short films are all part of the PEACE III funded Plantation to Partition Programme led by Derry City Council’s Heritage & Museum Service in partnership with Strabane District, Omagh District and Donegal County Councils.
Margaret Edwards, Project Officer with the Heritage & Museum Service of Derry City Council said that the book and short films offered a chance to bring to light the legacy the First World War and other significant events on the North West Region.
“‘From Home to Foreign Fields’ brings to life a number of touching memoirs of local peoples’ experiences during the Great War, with contributions from local historian Richard Doherty, former Strabane Council member James Emery and Donegal County Museum. It also includes stories about how men from all over the North West and Donegal joined up to fight for a variety of reasons. The interest in this has been huge and the booklet provides heartfelt accounts of people from across the region which we can relate to today.”
Catherine Cooke as Chairperson of the NW PEACE III Partnership said the project with Derry City, Strabane District, Omagh District and Donegal County Councils has already been a great success particularly in terms of highlighting key historical events and offering access to our local heritage.
“The PEACE III programme funding allows citizens of the region to engage directly with the past and feel a sense of connection and ownership to their local heritage. The short films provide another way of helping us to engage with the past, tacking historical events such as Emigration, the legacy of Alice Milligan as a Protestant, Patriot and Poet, the First World War and Partition.”
Copies of the book are available at the Foyle Valley Railway Museum, Foyle Road, Derry BT48 6SQ and the Docudramas are available to view at the following link;
For more information contact Margaret Edwards 028 7136 5151 ext 8253 or email Margaret.email@example.com
Cahoots NI presents
DUCK, DEATH and THE TULIP
Based on a book by Wolf Erlbruch.
Saturday 2nd November at 2pm and 4pm
“Who are you? Why are you creeping along behind me?”
“Good. You’ve finally noticed me,” said Death. “I am Death.”
Duck was scared stiff. You could hardly blame her for that….
This Autumn award-winning Belfast-based children’s theatre company Cahoots NI will present a brand new show adapted from the picture book ‘Duck, Death and the Tulip’ written by the award-winning author Wolf Erlbruch.
The production will tackle the topical and often taboo subject of death, in a strangely heartwarming story, a duck strikes up an unlikely friendship with Death....This simple, unusual, warm and witty story deals with the difficult subject matter of death in a way that is elegant, straightforward, and thought-provoking.
After the success of Cahoots NI’s production Egg, which dealt with the early stages of life and the transition from childhood to adulthood, this new show explores the experience of loss in the same engaging and thoughtful way.
Cahoots NI Artistic Director Paul McEneaney comments:
‘I was immediately struck by the life affirming tone of Erlbruch’s story book. He deals with the difficult theme of death with warmth and ease. Life and death are presented as close friends, where one cannot exist without the other in the natural cycle of life. I am very excited to be able to bring this wonderful book to life on stage for families across Northern Ireland this Autumn.’
The show features originally composed live music, illusion, dance and, above all….magic, brought to you by the same winning combination that brought Egg to the London stage, including: Director, Paul McEneaney, Choreographer, Muirna Bloomer, and Composer, Garth Mc Conaghie and Costume design by Gemma Porter. Gilly Campbell, Arts Development officer for Drama at the Arts council of Northern Ireland, said, “This brand new production from Cahoots NI which tackles the taboo subject of death, will not only entertain but will also enhance learning and further the exploration of personal identity for children as they grow and develop. With an outstanding creative team behind the scenes, I encourage everyone to go along to experience the work of this awardwinning children’s theatre company.”
Cahoots NI acknowledge the support of Belfast City Council Culture & Arts core multi-annual funding.
A performance not to be missed on Saturday 2nd November at 2pm and 4pm. Tickets are £4 each or a family of four is £12. For more information and to book tickets contact the Alley Theatre Box Office on 028 71 384444 or online www.alley-theatre.com
Johnny Crampsie Song and Dance Music Festival Coming Soon…..
In just a few weeks time CRAIC are delighted to be presenting the annual Johnny Crampsie Music Festival and this year there is going to be loads of ‘Song and Dance’ throughout the weekend. The festival starts on Friday 18th October as CRAIC will play a very special session in the cabaret style auditorium of the Alley Theatre. Joining them will be traditional Irish Dance from Niamh Brown School of Irish Dancing.
The following day on Saturday 19th October young people will have the opportunity to take part in a wonderful music workshop with the Irish Trad Group Goitse. Goitse will be on hand to mentor young people in playing and performance skills and to show what they have learned participants will be able to perform with Goitse later in the evening in the Alley Theatre. If you would like to find out more about this workshop contact Jean Smyth on 028 71 384444.
The five piece band Goitse will be playing in the cabaret style auditorium on Saturday 19th with a wonderful mix of music. Goitse have made quite a name for themselves as one of the most sought after bands amongst connoisseurs of Irish Traditional music, having won feverish critical plaudits for their Dónal Lunny-produced second album Transformed. Their distinctive sound lies in the quality of their own compositions interspersed with well-known traditional tunes, which make each set entertaining and unique. The gripping rhythm section sets a breath taking pace for the music while through the sweet, charismatic voice of Áine Mc Geeney draw audiences into the music in a way very few performers can achieve. Goitse are Irish music with a twist so lace up your dancing shoes and get ready for a night of wonderful music and fast paced fun with Goitse. To take you on into late in the evening Strabane’s very own CRAIC will be playing late night sessions in various pubs around Strabane town.
To end the festival CRAIC will be playing a session in Smugglers Bar and Restaurant in Clady from 3pm – 6pm.
A special launch event of the festival will take place in Christies Bar on Thursday 10th October from 9pm where CRAIC will be joined by special guests.
To book tickets for the festival click here
Festival celebrates the Life of O’Brien
The Flann O'Brien Literary Festival
Strabane – Lifford
Thursday 3rd October - Saturday 5th October
This year’s Flann O'Brien Literary Festival, which takes place in Strabane and Lifford from Thursday 3rd October to Saturday 5th October, will celebrate the life and works of one of the major players in 20th century Irish literature, whose legacy lives on today thanks to brilliant works such as At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman. Organised by the De Selby Institute, the three-day festival comprises talks, discussions and performances to celebrate the life of O’Brien, who was born Brian O’Nolan in Strabane on 5th October 1911.
This year’s festival is supported by the Reconciliation through the Riverine Project, which is managed by Donegal County Council in collaboration with Strabane District Council and funded by the International Fund for Ireland, and will bring Flann’s works to life through performances, readings, exhibitions and more.
The festival kicks off on Thursday 3rd October with a special performance of Flann's Yer Only Man, a comedy based on the life and works of Flann O'Brien. Local secondary school pupils are invited to see actor Val O’Donnell perform a wide range of extracts from the humorist’s work and links them with key events in the writer’s life. They include selected extracts from the author’s famous novels – At-Swim-Two-Birds, The Third Policeman, The Poor Mouth and The Hard Life, together with liberal libations from Myles’ celebrated Cruiskeen Lawn column in the Irish Times.
One of the highlights of the festival will undoubtedly be Friday’s night’s performance of literary masterpiece The Third Policeman, a music and spoken word presentation of O’Brien’s blackly comic masterpiece, with live piano and string ensemble. It’s a murder thriller about a botched robbery and brutal murder, a hilarious comic satire about a village police force, a surrealistic vision of eternity, the story of unrequited love between a man and his bicycle, and a chilling fable of unending guilt. Audiences will experience Flann’s masterpiece brought to life in a highly acclaimed presentation which has toured widely throughout Ireland, north and south.
Following the show, the audience will be invited to a bit of craic in the Pool Bar, Strabane, where the “The Houses of Flann O’Brien” will be launched, a photo-journal about a three day trip taken in August 2013 by two senior citizens from Tyrone. Their mission was to visit the places where Flann had lived throughout his lifetime and what emerges is a light hearted personal take on our greatest ever humorist.
The launch will be followed by music from “The Logues”. Fronted by Flann fan, Justin Logue, and fresh from their European tour, the Logues’ unique ‘psycho ceilidh’ party music, which has made them one of Ireland’s most sought-after live bands, will bring Friday’s celebrations to a close.
Saturday 5th October, the anniversary of Flann’s birth in Strabane in 1911, will prove to be equally as exciting for art and literature buffs, as the programme features a panel discussion on the works of Flann O’Brien at Lifford Courthouse, chaired by Frank McNally of the Irish Times. This is followed by selected readings by bestselling author Brian McGilloway at Strabane Library, where visitors will also be able to view entrants to the festival’s Doodle Pic Art competition. Throughout the festival, a series of short Flann O’Brien films, scripted by Anne McMaster-Welch and performed by the Lifford Players, will be projected on various public buildings in Strabane and Lifford town centres.
The festival will close on a high on Saturday night at the Alley, with the hilariously outrageous Delicious O'Grady, a tragicomedy set in the time of the Great Irish Famine (though as Delicious admits it wasn't that great). Inspired by the satirical works of Flann O'Brien, and directed by Cal McCrystal of The Mighty Boosh, this circus theatre piece tells the tale of a family and its demise during the Famine. It is a story of love, loss and potatoes, where Colm O'Grady depicts the story of his ancestors with irreverence, wit and physical skills. He brings to life characters that may have lived through the blight and died of it. O'Grady presents a show that is touching, hilarious and uplifting.
For further information please contact the Alley Arts & Conference Centre 028 7138 4444 or:
Enjoy this two day festival of non stop music by bands, groups and ensembles.
Enjoy everything from jazz, big band tunes, hymns, marches and entertainment.If you do not think Brass and Wind music is for you think again and come to the Gathering of the Gales – you will be SURPRISED
Friday 6th September
Come and Play Workshop
The Alley Theatre from 2pm - 6pm
Young musicians will have the opportunity to learn new skills by playing and singing with professional musicians
Brass Band from Lifford to Strabane
6pm - 7pm
Come and Play Concert
The Alley Theatre at 7.45pm
Participants from the Come & Play Workshop will perform to a full audience in
the Alley Theatre with professional musicians
Saturday 7th September
All events free
Brass Band Parade
11am - 12noon
15 bands will parade through Strabane Town Centre to The Alley Theatre
Alley Courtyard Brass Band Ensemble
12noon - 8pm
The Alley Courtyard
Enjoy an afternoon and late evening across two stages in the Alley Courtyard from bands, groups and ensembles from all over Ireland and further afield
Gathering of the Gales Concert
The Alley Courtyard 8pm - 9.30pm
Outdoor concert withThe North West Concert Ensemble – a mix of local professional musicians coming together from all over Ireland. Enjoy new musical
This project is supported by the Reconciliation through the Riverine Project which is managed by Donegal County Council in collaboration with Strabane District Council and funded by the International Fund for Ireland
Alley Theatre Autumn/Winter
Programme Out Now!!!
Conal Gallen was in Strabane this week launching the new Alley Theatre Autumn/Winter Programme of Events Guide. Packed full of wonderful shows for the all the family the Alley Theatre really has something to suit everyone this Autumn/Winter season.
Conal Gallen will be with us in November starring in his very own comedy play 'A Bit on the Side' which has sold out across the North West to rave reviews. The Alley will also be welcoming superb dramas such as 'Meeting at Menin Gate', 'Maire - A Woman of Derry', 'Crows on the Wire' by Jonathan Burgess and Bruiser Theatre Company with 'The Causasian Chalk Circle'.
As always the Alley will be hosting a range of festivals during September and October commencing with 'Gathering of the Gales' - a two day festival full of brass band, jazz, contemporary and pop music across Strabane and Lifford a range of concerts will take place in the Alley Theatre and the Alley Courtyard. Culture Night will take place on Friday 20th September. A day full of free events across the Strabane District for the whole family to enjoy. The Flann O'Brien Literary Festival will take place from 3rd - 5th Ocotober. A weekend full of talks, performances and music to explore the life and work of Strabane's most famous sons. The Johnny Crampsie 'Song and Dance' Music Festival will take place from the 18th - 20th October. As always CRAIC will be performing a selection of wonderful sessions across the weekend and we are delighted to welcome 'Goitse' as the headline act on Saturday 19th October.
Comedy and Live Music
Live music this winter will include Tommy Sands, Sean Keane, The Ulster Orchestra, John McNicholl, and a selection of Jazz nights. David O'Doherty will be with us in November with his brand new show 'David O'Doherty Will Try to Fix Everything'. If you love comedy this is a show you'll not want to miss. The brilliant Phill Jupitus will also be with us in October with his new show 'You're Probably Wondering Why I've Asked you Here...' A three part performance unlike anything you have seen before.
There will be an array of family entertainment coming up to Christmas including Broadway Blockbusters, The Snowman featuring St. Josephs Brass Band, Bugsy Malone, Duck, Death and the Tulip by Cahoots NI Childrens Company and The Adventures of Santa Claus.
If that wasn't enough we also have a full programme of beautiful and thought provoking exhibitions and a range of art workshops suitable for all ages.
For a full line up of events and information on how to book click here
Be Involved in Strabane District Culture Night 2013
Friday 20th September
A late night of free cultural events
Call for Arts Organisations, Venues and Creatives: It’s time for you to plan what you are doing for Culture Night 2013.
On Friday 20th September 2013, in more than 28 towns, cities, counties and islands across the island of Ireland, the clocks of museums, cathedrals, galleries, theatres and other cultural venues will be reset to stay open until 11pm, in celebration of Culture Night 2013, a late-night of free culture for people of all ages.
Organisers, Temple Bar Cultural Trust, say what began as small scale Culture Night in the Temple Bar area in 2006 is this year spreading to more than 28 towns, cities and counties across the island, and reaching as far as the islands of Tory and Inis Meáin. Streets, venues and open-spaces will come alive with a rich cultural offering of electric atmosphere, colour, music, performance and workshops providing people with an opportunity to reacquaint or introduce themselves to a vast and rich cultural offering. Culture Night provides the platform to celebrate our distinct cultural and creative resources.
On Culture Night, key artistic and cultural organisations provide the public with increased free access to the various events, collections, workshops and other events hosted by the organisations.
Culture Night has grown significantly in the past two years in the Strabane District with all sorts of events not only happening in Strabane Town but in Sion Mills, Bready, Plumbridge, Donemana and Newtownstewart.
Chairman of Strabane District Council, Councillor Ruairi McHugh commented ‘We plan to build on the opportunities that Culture Night can bring in the Strabane District and are looking to involve local arts, culture, heritage and all areas of the larger community such as local clubs, schools, as well as retail spaces and arts and cultural centres/organisations in the area. Culture Night is a snapshot of our vibrant cultural landscape so don’t miss the chance to be part of a wonderful night and raise your profile. You might want to trial a new initiative, wet art loving appetites with a preview or stage a wonderful event just for the joy of it and show off what you’re doing. Examples of past events included photo exhibitions, cultural gatherings, drama, visual arts, live music, workshops and poetry readings plus much more. Culture Night is a way for us to come together, collaborate and promote Strabane District arts and culture in all its forms.’
Now is the time to start thinking and planning activities for Culture Night 2013. If you have an exciting idea or I would like to get involved in Strabane District Culture night contact Jacqui Doherty in the Alley Theatre on: 02871884760 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for event submissions is Monday 1st July.