By Dan Walsh
Kilrush Drama Group’s production of Class by Iseult Golden and David Horan and directed by Pat Whelan and featuring Michael Dunbar, Catherine Stafford and James Whelan will be performed in the RTÉ All—Ireland Open Drama Finals on Wednesday May 11th in the Dean Crowe Theatre in Athlone.
Following last week’s performance in the National Opera House in Wexford there will be two performances in St. Bridget’s Hall Carnew on the Sunday and Monday, May 8th and 9th.
THE TEAM; Pat Whelan (Director) spent a number of years acting and like many amateur participants gave a contribution to lighting, set design, sound and general dogsbody. When he got the opportunity to direct in 2005 it became his passion. Pat treasures the National awards he won, including awards for Best Lighting at the All-Ireland Confined Finals in 2009, Best Director at the RTE All-Ireland Finals in Athlone 2013, Best Director again in the All-Ireland Finals of 2016 and for the design of the Best Set for ‘Lost in Yonkers’, also in the 2016 Finals.
Michael Dunbar started his acting career with Enniscorthy Theatre Group and was part of the group when they won the Open All Ireland finals in 1996 with ‘Boor Beast in the Rain, with Moonshine in 1997 and with the Cripple of Inishmaan 1999. The group were British All Winners in the Drama finals from 1997 to 1999.
Michael has directed many of Carnew Musical Society’s musicals since 1996 and is a long-time member of Kilrush Drama Group, Michael won Best Actor award for his role in KDG’s Steward of Christendom in the Open Drama All Ireland in 2019.
Catherine Stafford played many roles with Kilrush Drama Group, including the role of Rita Shanahan in The Salvage Shop in 2020,she also played the the role of Valerie in the Weir. Catherine has been a long-time member of Carnew Musical Society and won an AIMS Best Supporting Actress Award for her role as Katy Brown in Carnew Musical Society’s production of Calamity Jane.
James Whelan is a schoolteacher by day, who caught the acting bug while in Australia, after a chance encounter led him to working as an extra on a couple of films and TV shows, including Home & Away. On his return to Ireland James trained at the Bow Street Academy in Dublin. He is currently studying with voice and acting coach Helena Walsh and hopes to pursue a career in acting.
Kilrush Drama Group sent best wishes to both Kilmuckridge (All-Ireland winners) and Camross Drama Groups participating in the Confined All-Ireland Drama Finals in Ballyshannon recently.
Near neighbours Bunclody/Kilmyshal Drama group who have also qualified for the Open All-Ireland Drama Finals in Athlone and take to the stage tomorrow night (May 7th).