SOME of the best young actors in Donegal took to the stage of the Balor Theatre last Wednesday and Thursday nights for the annual Primary Schools Drama Festival.
Organised by Teresa McGowan of the award-winning Butt Drama Circle, the prestigious competition has been running for more than forty years, giving the children of the county the opportunity to perform in front of an audience in a professional theatre.
There were five entries from three schools this year – on Wednesday night, Woodland NS, Letterkenny, performed ‘The Great Famine, followed by SN Taobhóige, Cloghan, with ‘Oisín i dTír na nÓg’. On Thursday night the stage was taken over by the children of St Eunan’s NS, Raphoe. Twenty five Senior Infant and 1st Class pupils from Ms Dympna Gallagher’s class staged ‘Eddie the Penguin Saves the World’, followed by Ms Keeve’s 3rd and 4th class with ‘Calamity Jane’ and Ms Daly’s 5th and 6th class enthralled the packed theatre with ‘Mary Poppins.’
The festival was adjudicated by Maura Logue who awarded many certificates of merit to the participants and their teachers. The adjudicator said she was very fortunate to have been involved with the schools festival for many years.
Ms Logue proceeded to deliver, from the stage, some wise words of wisdom for the young actors and those in the audience.
She also paid tribute to the teachers who she said go beyond the call of duty in taking on their theatre productions.
“By doing this, and they don’t have to do it, the teachers are giving students an opportunity to do something different from their daily academic studies,” she said.
“And as I always say, students will never forget the night they stood on a stage under the spotlight, being watched by a live audience. The learning they get in preparing for a play is also about teamwork and taking a step into the unknown. And it all comes to fruition when they take to the stage and learning they had a beautiful gift they never knew they had.”