About Us

Newmarket Drama Group has a long and proud tradition of amateur drama which goes back to the turn of the last century. It started out in the 1920s as a subsidiary of the Newmarket GAA club when it was known as the Dramatic Society. Groups have been active in practically every decade since then.

This is not an official history but rather a placeholder to be replaced once the official history is written. If you have any material whatsoever that might be useful please contact us.

The Early Years

Another subsidiary of the [GAA] club was the Dramatic Society. There was always a taste for plays in town, be they the visiting fit-ups or the larger companies or the smaller ones – ‘Dusky Dan & Co’, ‘Shannon Players’, ‘Bart Patterson’, ‘Dobells’ – an English company, the Equity Players from the Abby and Anew McMaster’s Shakesperian Company.

The old Dramatic Society during the end of the ’20’s and ’30’s with people like Davy Duggan, Jim Nevin, Mrs. Lennon, Mrs. Eddie, Nora Corcoran, Nell Shea; later on Matt Jones, Jane Finucane, Jimmy Cronin, Con O’Shea, Julia Cronin, Bill O’Keeffe – they did plays like “The Red Redeeming Dawn”, The New T.D.”, “The Lord Mayor”, “Con the Shaugherain” and “Paul Twining”.

Extracted from Jimmy Cross’ book “A History of Newmarket GAA Club 1899-1999“.

1939 Revival

Later on in ’39 we revived the Group, and with Con O’Leary as producer and names like Hannah Allen, Kathleen and John Shine, Paddy McCarthy, John Lucey, Philly Reardon, Eddie Jenks who was also stage manager and electrician, we did plays – “The Eloquent Dempsey”, “Nothing in his Life”, “The Upper Room” (Passion Play), “Sleeping Beauty” (pantomime) “The White Headed Boy” with a younger cast again, the Bradys, the Sullivans, Deirdre, Phil and Junita, Kattie Daly, Ted Philpott, Pat Joe Cremin, Tommy Cross, Mickey Joe O’Connor, Larry Keeffe, Terry Eddie, Paudy Daly, Ted, Michael and Kathleen O’Sullivan, Mick Quane, John Ryan.

“The Bugle in the Blood” in 1953 was one of the best we did with a great cast: Jim Nevin,Con O’Leary, Jimmy Cross, Mary Duane, Maura Cremin Mulcahy, Nancy Cotter, Richard Allen, Dan O’Riordan, Kattie Daly, Paudy Daly and Jimmy O’Riordan. Another production was “Sinbad the Sailor” by Donie Duggan, with Maureen O’Connor Brown, Michael O’Reilly, T D Cronin, James Fitzpatrick and Siobhan O’Brien.

They all contributed to the club funds. The Christmas plays, such as “Christmas in the Market Place” were produced by Jimmy Cross.

Extracted from Jimmy Cross’ book “A History of Newmarket GAA Club 1899-1999“.

Festivals

The group attended festivals as far back as 1946 and a certificate – which still exists – was awarded to them for their performance of a scene from Arms And The Man at the Kerry Drama Festival in 1946.

There was then a lull for many years on the festival scene, but in 1966/67 the group entered and won at one-act rural festivals at Limerick and Scarriff and went on to win the All-Ireland in Loughrea with a production of Brian Barrett’s A Song for Sixpence, a play with a 1916 theme.

The cast consisted of Anne Hennessy, Margaret Collins, Maura Cremin, John Hennessy, John Joe Kavanagh, Michael O’Halloran, Peter O’Neill and the man who produced it, Liam Cuddihy.

Extract from the 1992 Corkman article “Curtain up once again.

THE 1960s THROUGH THE 1980s

There were a number of plays in the 60s including A Song for Sixpence in 1966/67, The Wise have not Spoken in 1967/68 and The White Steed in 1968/69.

The group again took an enforced and long “rest” mainly because of emigration and because they did not have anyone to produce drama in town. However, the spark was kept alive, principally by the ICA who entered in drama festivals in the early 80s.

In 1986 the group won at North Cork one-act Festival in Charleville with The Trial by Anthony Booth. The cast were Eileen Fitzgerald, Anne Leo, Lucy Lane and Mary O’Connor. Lucy was chosen as the best actress and Michael O’Halloran the production award in the rural section.

Extract from the 1992 Corkman article “Curtain up once again.

1990s REVIVAL

The town’s drama tradition, which spans a century, was rekindled in October [1991] when a group of enthusiasts took part in an intensive five week course of drama work shops.

Extract from The Corkman early in 1992 “Back on the boards after twenty years“.

For some groups, 1992 will go down as a year of new beginnings. After an absence of nearly 20 years, Newmarket Drama Group took to the boards with new enthusiasm, staging three one act plays earlier this month.

Extract from The Corkman on April 3, 1992 “New drama groups lure capacity audiences“.

 

 

Aug 25 1992 Newspaper article  “Newmarket Drama Group on man hunt”

THE NEW MILLINIUM

The Drama Group has been very active starting in 2001.

The Newmarket Dramatic Society staged many of their productions there [the CYMS hall, also now known as the Newmarket Community Centre] after the building underwent a major, much needed renovation in 2002, spear headed by the late Father Anthony Cronin and a committee of local people. The first play the group performed there was their award winning production of John B. Keane’s ‘Many Young Men of Twenty’. Among the many plays they performed there, were ‘Dancing at Lughanasa’, ‘Out of Order’. ‘Holiday Snap’, ‘Don’t dress for dinner’, ‘Caught in the act’, ‘Lend me a Tenor’. More recently the group performed a play by local playwright Mike Guerin called ‘Alpha’ in Meelin hall.

Extract from “A Brief History of the CYMS” by Eilis Hourigan in the Newmarket website.

As of March 2015 the latest production was “A Skull in Connemara” presented in Meelin Hall in March 2015.

Material Needed

We are looking for more content (old posters, programs, articles and photos ) that pertain to the Drama Group.

 

See the materials obtained to date.

Our Committee

  • Philip Linehan
    Philip LinehanTreasurer
    • Teresa O’Keeffe
      Teresa O’KeeffeSecretary
      • Sheila O’Connor
        Sheila O’ConnorChairperson
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