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Rory takes on fresh challenge as lauded DruidMurphy returns



Arts Week with Judy Murphy –

There are changes afoot when Druid Theatre returns to the Town Hall Theatre next week with its new version of Druid Murphy, which was the major theatrical event of 2012 in Ireland as well as being acclaimed in the UK and the United States when it was performed in both places.

Conversations on a Homecoming and A Whistle in the Dark are returning, while the third – and bleakest – of the three DruidMurphy plays, Famine, will not be performed. After Galway, the production will go on a nationwide tour.

Returning to the company for this tour is Dublin actor Rory Nolan, who he is taking on a new challenge this time out. Rory who played the taciturn, hard-drinking Junior in last year’s production of Conversations on a Homecoming, has changed roles and will now play the flashy auctioneer, Liam in the drama, which is set in a North Galway pub.

Liam was previously played by Aaron Monaghan, who was not available this time, so director Garry Hynes suggested that Rory should take on the part.
The “lazy actor” part of him would have been happy to return to Junior, but once the new challenge was put to him, he wasn’t going to pass it up, he says.

“What an honour to be able to play two roles in one of the great Irish plays – and to do that with Druid,” he says.

Recasting him as Liam and bringing in Stephen Jones to play Junior has changed the whole dynamic of the production, he says. Rory pauses when asked if it’s been difficult to change roles and having considered carefully, responds “yes and no, but more no than yes”.
This is a new production, he explains, and all the actors in the rehearsal room are exploring different aspects of their characters. That changes everything.

“We are starting to re-examine and re-explore the play and this is making it more fun and an adventure for me.”

Several of last year’s cast, including Marie Mullen, Marty Rea and Garret Lombard have returned to Conversations in their original roles, but the dynamic has changed, because of the different casting.

It’s no problem for Rory to watch Stephen taking on the role of Junior – it’s more difficult getting the character of Liam, played so brilliantly by Aaron Monaghan last year, out of his head.

“It’s about making the part my own and letting him live from within,” he says. That challenge is made easier because he and Aaron are very different vocally, while Rory is “a good half-foot taller” than his acting colleague and friend.

“As well, I’m going down routes trying to highlight things about Liam whereas Aaron might have highlighted other things – I’m trying to hear him with my voice.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.


Maeve named as Film Fleadh programmer



Maeve McGrath.

Limerick woman Maeve McGrath has been named as the new Director of Programming for Galway Film Fleadh, taking over from Will Fitzgerald. She will be responsible for curating this year’s festival, which will run from July 11-16.

She previously worked as artistic director of Kerry International Film Festival, producer at Carlow Arts Festival and joint short film programmer at Dublin International Film Festival.

Maeve is involved with  Limerick’s artist-led, community-focused facility, The GAFF where she recently curated a community audio/visual project, Tiny Little Histories, and produced TravFest, a Traveller wellness festival as part of Guth na Mincéirí.

She has a Master’s in Media Studies from Limerick’s Mary I/UL, graduating in 2015 with the thesis, Irish Short Film: The Road To Oscar.

“The Fleadh has a very special place on the film festival circuit, nationally and internationally, and I am delighted to be part of the team that will programme the 35th edition,” she stated.

“I forward to being part of the continued growth of the Galway Film Fleadh and supporting the development of emerging and established filmmakers.”

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Mystery of Wolfe Tone’s death



Leader of the 1798 Rebellion Theobald Wolfe Tone.

Historical entertainer Paddy Cullivan will be at the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday next, February 2, with The Murder of Wolfe Tone, the incredible story of the mysterious death of Theobald Wolfe Tone, leader of the 1798 Rebellion and the man who is regarded as the founding father of Irish republicanism.

In this audio-visual show featuring hundreds of images, shocking new research and a vast array of songs, Paddy works to unravel the secrets and lies around what happened that fateful week in Dublin’s Provost’s Prison in November 1798 when 35-year-old Tone was found dead in his cell.

Tickets for The Murder of Wolfe Tone, which starts at 8pm are €20/18, plus a €1 booking charge. They are available at, 091-569777 and at the Town Hall Theatre Box Office.

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Funnyman Neil brings latest show to Athenry



Neil Delamere

Comedian Neil Delamere will bring his new show, Delamerium, to the Raheen Woods Hotel in Athenry on Saturday, February 18.

Audiences can expect hilarious stories, wry observations and quick-witted improvisation as Neil tries to makes sense of the world around him.

Neil is one of the top acts working in the Irish comedy scene today, well-known to audiences for his regular television appearances on RTÉ and BBC, as well as his hilarious sell-out stand up tours.

His shows have received stellar reviews and resulted in several platinum-selling DVDs, while Neil has also written and presented comedy documentaries including programmes on the Vikings and St Patrick which won IFTA and Celtic Media awards.

He also presented a series on heroes from Ireland’s past, Holding out for a Hero, on RTÉ 2.

He’s a regular on BBC Northern Ireland’s popular panel show, The Blame Game, as well as being a panellist on BBC 5 Live’s Fighting Talk and has featured on BBC 4’s The News Quiz.

According to the Irish Times, ‘no TV camera could accurately measure the lightning speed of Delamere’s wit’, while the Scotsman awarded him five stars during an appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, stating: ‘You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more gifted comic at the Fringe.’

He continues to tour at home and abroad and audiences can catch his latest show, Delamerium, on February 18 in Athenry.

Tickets for Delamerium are available from the hotel or at

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