‘The 39 Steps’ sweeps the board

Padraigh O'Fearraigh, Director of the Letterkenny Musical & Drama Group, with Adjudicator Tom Doherty and some of the trophies that they won. (2303JC2)
Padraigh O'Fearraigh, Director of the Letterkenny Musical & Drama Group, with Adjudicator Tom Doherty and some of the trophies that they won. (2303JC2)
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What a Festival! After nine days of superb productions from some of Ireland’s best amateur drama groups there was no surprise about the final winner of the 32nd City of Derry Drama Festival.

In a week when there were many outstanding productions, Letterkenny Musical and Drama Group were the clear winners with their presentation of ‘The 39 Steps’ by John Buchan, adapted by Patrick Barlow. Some of the audience who had seen the West End production thought that Letterkenny gave an even better performance.

For adjudicator Tom Doherty there were no quibbles. It was a production in which “we had complete entertainment and total theatre. Comedy is hard work, the hardest of all theatre genres and one that, in this production, Letterkenny Musical & Drama Group have mastered superbly.”

The audience endorsed his decision by awarding the Michel Gillen Memorial Trophy for the Most Entertaining Production to ‘The 39 Steps’. The company also picked up awards for Best Moment of Theatre, Best Lighting, Stage Management and the Best Directing and Acting awards in the Confined section of the competition.

Prosperous Dramatic Society from County Kildare were the other big winners at the festival. Robert Massey, who wrote the play ‘Deadline’, not only had the satisfaction of having his play win the Kevin & Anna McLaughlin Trophy for the Best Production of a Play in an Irish Setting by an Irish Author, but he also won the award for Best Actor in the Open Section. Prosperous also won the Best Director and Best Play in the Confined section.

Leo McBride of Lifford Players picked up the award for Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress went to Sandra Ardill for Bart Players for her role as Geraldine in Stella by Starlight. Best Actress went to Caroline Forsythe who played Cicely in The Importance of Being Earnest.

In his closing remarks, Festival Director Gerry McLaughlin thanked the audience for their tremendous support during the week.

“It has been great that so many people have enjoyed the Festival this year and that so many people came back night after night. It is a tribute to the quality of the productions and the strength of the Festival that it can engender such support.”

The festival receives financial support from Derry City Council and local businesses.

The full results are available now at www.cityofderrydramafestival.org.