Busy month ahead on Ardhowen stage

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Geoffrey O’Keefe, the adjudicator for this year’s Enniskillen Drama Festival

The Ardhowen has a very busy couple of weeks ahead with great live performances from Ritchie Remo on Wednesday 25th, the stars of the Showband Years on Thursday 26th, Neil Delamere on Friday 27th, De Danann on Saturday 28th and Isla Grant on Wednesday 4th March before the launch of the 35th Enniskillen Annual Drama Festival on Friday 6th March.


With four studio albums under his belt and a string of awards this young versatile entertainer is a must see act for all music lovers. Things have been going from strength to strength for Ritchie following the launch of his live 5 piece band in 2013. Ritchie’s concert on Wednesday 25th February at 8pm showcases his most popular tracks such as ‘Cutest Girl’, ‘Absent Friends’ and ‘Oh Eh Oh’ to name a few, along with his rip-roaring covers from greats like Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash and Mumford and Sons.


On Thursday 26th February at 8pm, RTE’s Ronan Collins will compere this hugely enjoyable evening celebrating a unique era in Irish show business. Featuring many of the stars who dominated the music scene in Ireland at that time and influenced generations of Irish musicians to come, the show will include Roly Daniels, Eileen Reid, Paddy Cole, Ronan Collins, Lorraine McDonald and The Conquerors Showband. All of the stars will join in for a medley of songs from the unique Showband years bringing you back in time to this magical musical period.


Star of RTÉ’s The Panel, BBC’s The Blame Game and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Neil Delamere returns with a brilliant new show on Friday 27th February at 8pm. Described by The Scotsman as “a master”, Delamere is renowned for his on-stage banter and quick-witted, well-observed yarns. Please note, this performance is now sold out and due to the strong content is suitable for over 18s only.


Once described as ‘the Rolling Stones of Irish Traditional Music’, the legendary group De Danann, perform on Saturday 28th February at 8pm. Founding member Alec Finn is joined by Eleanor Shanley (vocals), Derek Hickey (accordion), Brian McGrath (banjo/piano), Ronan O’Flaherty (fiddle) and Neil Lyons (bodhrán). Don’t miss out on this opportunity to see one of the most influential bands in Irish Traditional Music.


Scotland’s hugely popular singer/songwriter Isla Grant has re-scheduled her concert for Wednesday 4th March at 8pm following her recent cancellation due to illness. Her highly entertaining concert features all her wonderful hit songs and as always her genial husband Al will make his popular contribution to Isla Grant’s concert at the Ardhowen.


The 35th Annual Drama Festival opens on Friday 6th March with Letterkenny Music & Drama Group’s first appearance at the Festival in ‘The 39 Steps’. Based on the famous John Buchan novel, memorably filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935, and adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow in 2005, ‘The 39 Steps’ is 100 minutes of ingenious fun and thrilling action as four actors play 139 roles in this gripping whodunit.

On Saturday 7th March, Glenamaddy Players from Co Galway also make their debut at the Ardhowen with another play new to the Festival, ‘Stolen Child’ by Yvonne Quinn and Bairbre Ní Chaoimh. A humourous yet moving story of a woman adopted at birth who enlists the help of a colourful and shambolic private eye to search for her biological father. What starts out as a personal odyssey soon becomes an exploration of one of the darkest chapters in the history of modern Ireland.

Sunday 8th March is a special night as the Enniskillen Festival will welcome the winners of last years All-Ireland Open Finals, Corn Mill Theatre Group from Carriigallen Co Leitrim. Last year it was the ‘Devil’s Ceili’ this season they have chosen ‘The Dead School’ by Pat McCabe. Raphael Bell, an authoritarian schoolmaster recruits the newly qualified Malachy Dudgeon. Bell finds Malachy wanting. They fall out. Then, in true McCabe style, madness encroaches.

Ballyshannon Dramatic Society returns to the Festival on Monday 9th March with a play which will be receiving its debut on the Ardhowen stage. French playwright Yasmina Reza’s ‘God of Carnage’ has won awards around the world and was also adapted for the big screen. A social satire about two sets of parents who meet up after a physical confrontation between their respective sons. The discussion begins in a civilised fashion but soon dissolves into chaos as the parents become increasingly childish.

Pomeroy Players return this year with Martin McDonagh’s ‘The Lonesome West’ on Tuesday 10th March. Full of McDonagh’s wit, aggression and farce, the plot follows two brothers, Valene and Coleman, living alone in their father’s house after his recent death. They find it impossible to exist without massive and violent disputes over the most mundane and innocent of topics. Only Fr Welsh, the young local priest, is prepared to try to reconcile the two before the petty squabbles spiral into vicious and bloody carnage.

Lifford Players make a welcome return to the Ardhowen stage with Owen McCafferty’s ‘The Absence Of Women’ on Wednesday 11th March. A gritty play which deals with the destitution and loneliness of the many young Northern-Irish men who flocked to London in the 1950’s looking for work. In the dialogue of the principal characters Iggy and Gerry we observe their lives of hardship, marked by alcoholism, periods of homelessness and, as the title suggests, loneliness.

The final three nights of the Festival includes St Dympna’s Drama Society on Thursday 12th March with ‘The Same Old Moon’ by Geraldine Aron, Estuary Players with, Canadian playwright, Michael Healey’s ‘The Drawer Boy’ on Friday 13th March and the popular Hollywood Players close the 35th Festival with Brian Friel’s charming adaptation of Turgenev’s timeless comedy ‘A Month In The Country’ on Saturday 14th March. Festival Adjudicator, Geoffrey O’Keeffe will have the difficult task of awarding the nominations for the Athlone finals and the Confined finals in Kilmuckridge in Co Wexford as well as the many individual awards on Saturday 14th March. All performances at the Festival begin at 8pm sharp.


Premier Theatrical Productions return with ‘Blood Brothers’ on Friday 20th March with performances at 10.45am, 12.45pm and 8pm and The 4 Of Us bring their critically acclaimed acoustic show to the Gallery Bar on Saturday 21st march at 9pm. Call the Box Office or visit the theatre website at” to book tickets or purchase gift vouchers. You can keep up to date with all the latest news and offers on Facebook or sign up for the theatre e-Newsletter.


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