Date Published: 31-Dec-2010
It’s all systems go at Performing Arts School Galway where 100 kids are currently preparing for the group’s Christmas panto, Cinderella which will open in the city’s Black Box on January 1 and run until January 8.
“We are up to our eyes in costumes, carols, lights, all the works,” says Paula McGurrell, Director of Performing Arts School Galway (PASG), who is choreographing the show.
This is the sixth annual panto from the group which was set up almost 20 years ago in Galway by Paula and two colleagues who had all been trained in performing arts in Dublin. They had realised that there was no facility in Galway for young people who wanted exposure to a range of arts, with training in music, dance and drama being offered.
The three held auditions in the city, expecting 50 kids to turn up – such was the demand for places that over 100 auditioned. But because they had only three teachers, they began with 50 students. That grew steadily and now there are 250 kids in the PASG under the directorship of Paula who moved to Galway from Dublin 10 years ago. Of that 250 nearly 100 are taking part in Cinderella.
They’ve been in rehearsal since November, according to Paula, who explains that the school has two end-of-year projects. One is the panto, which is voluntary as rehearsals are held over Christmas which is outside of term time; the other is a compulsory show, which this year was the Wizard of Oz.
Students aged three to 22 come from all parts of Galway and beyond to PASG – currently there are participants from Connemara, Clare and Mayo. Weekly classes are held in the city’s GMIT every Saturday and there are also classes in Knocknacarra, Craughwell and the Rowing Club in Galway City.
Almost 100 students, who have been rehearsing for Cinderella since the end of October and early November, will join a cast of professionals who began working on the panto couple of weeks ago.
These include Co Sligo actor, Bob Kelly and local man Seán Ó Meallaigh who is well known for his roles in Ros na Rún,Kkings and Cré na Cille. They play the ugly Sisters and, according to Paula, are “demented”.
For more see this week’s Tribunes
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.
Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.
She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.
Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.
Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.
When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.
Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.
And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.
All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.
“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”
That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.
For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup
Date Published: 29-Jan-2013
Athenry FC 1
Kilbarrack United 2
(After extra time)
For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.
On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.
An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.
However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.
They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.
With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.
Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.
Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.
Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.