Ballina One Act Drama Festival - Visit North Mayo

Ballina One Act Drama Festival

It’s All Ireland Festival Final Fever at Ballina Arts Centre from Dec 2nd to Dec 4th 2022.

Hosted by Ballina One Act Drama Festival under the auspices of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland and the Drama League of Ireland-the Finals promise to be a whirlwind of competitive drama mixed with top class hospitality and a host of activities during the 3 days as participants and visitors make Ballina their base for the weekend.

“It is a privilege for us to stage this prestigious event at Ballina Arts Centre and an apt tribute to the memory of our festival founder Eugene Loftus. We have every intention of fulfilling that honour to the very best of our ability and we are especially looking forward to welcoming both the anxious title contenders, their crews and the eager patrons.  Be assured that those who join us in Ballina for the weekend will enjoy a streamlined run of events. It is always a delight to showcase the excellent facilities of Ballina Arts Centre and of course the town itself”.

The drama circuit has a band of dedicated followers but for those who may not be familiar – “The circuit” provides a competitive platform for amateur groups. Festivals run all across Ireland during October and November and groups must apply to take part.

The competition offers both an open and confined section and players must adhere to some basic guidelines – for example, the length of the play and an agreed timespan to erect and take down a set. Timekeepers sit discretely in the audience and oversee this.

 The adjudicator usually sits out of sight at the back of an auditorium. Although their main task is to award points they also encourage and offer advice for actors and directors as they venture farther on the circuit. It is always a very keenly contested event and naturally the more points gained enroute the better the chances of qualification.

In all it shows the dedication of amateur groups who strive to be the best they can.  From an audience perspective it is quite an entertaining night out – meeting old friends and speculating on the pending results and of course seeing 3 ‘One act’ plays every night.

The competition as always will be keenly contested in both Confined and Open categories and all eyes and ears will be on Paula Dempsey on Sunday evening as she delivers her results.

Paula herself is a professional actor and director and has been adjudicating since 2007. She holds an Honours BA & MA in Modern Drama Studies, is a founder member of the Chekov Studio’s and we are delighted to have a lady of this calibre officiate for the weekend.

Festival director Marie Loftus and her team have left no stone unturned to ensure that events run smoothly over the course of the weekend and enjoy an excellent working relationship with the director and staff of the Ballina Arts Centre. 

Patrons and participating groups will be our main priority and Marie is confident that the strong relationship between the Ballina Festival and the nearby Ballina Manor Hotel will prove to be the icing on the cake.  Edel and her staff at the hotel which is a 3-minute walk from the Arts Centre and also perfectly located right in the town centre are looking forward to hosting drama guests and the traditional ‘festival club’.

With the last of the preliminary festivals closing on Nov 20th and with the exception of a draw, 11 groups are assured a place in the final.  Much like G.A.A. championship football – all contenders who have qualified are included in a DRAW to outline the running order of the festival weekend. This in itself creates a buzz amongst groups, some of whom may swop their allocated days or times. This draw takes place at Ballina Arts Centre on Sunday afternoon-Nov 27th followed by the launch of the festival itself.

Tickets for this event – like any All Ireland were snapped up instantly and there is a cancellation list.

Check out these websites for extensive snippets of worthwhile information on the locality – everything from hairdressers to Christmas gift shopping suggestions, available parking, hospitality and things to do :-

They will host a “Launch” on Sunday afternoon November 27th   at Ballina Arts Centre following the all-important “draw”. This will determine the running order of our festival programme for the weekend.

Festival weekend:

All paths lead to the Arts Centre early on Friday evening for the official opening of the festival and the first 3 plays

On Saturday – choose from a selection of town centre activities that include walking treasure hunts, historical walking tours and an afternoon traditional Irish musical sessions in one of Ballina’s oldest pubs.  Again, there are three plays on Saturday night

On Sunday – enjoy the many amenities in the area before catching the afternoon matinee of 3 shows and the closing night consists of 2 performances, the Irish Playwright Award and the much anticipated results.

The Awards Ceremony will be live streamed via Ballina One Act Drama Festival Facebook page on Sunday Night.

The popular Festival Club runs nightly at the Ballina Manor Hotel allowing groups and patrons to relax and mingle.

The anticipation is building here in Ballina as preparations are being finalised for the All Ireland One Act finals and as always, the organising team wish to sincerely thank our invaluable sponsors and supporters who collectively are integral to the overall success of this event.

Ballina is ready.

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Ballina Arts Centre