The world premiere of a new Billy Roche play at the National Opera House in May will also mark the first ever production for a new County Wexford theatre group.
Enniscorthy-based Scalder Theatre Company will perform the celebrated Wexford playwright’s ‘Of Mornington’ in the Jerome Hynes Theatre from May 23 to 28.
It will be an ambition realised for two former schoolteachers, Michael Dunbar and Andy Doyle, who have long hoped to establish their own theatre group and see a new Roche play as the ‘perfect vehicle’ to get their venture up and running.
‘To have Billy’s name is invaluable because he has such a respected reputation in the world of drama,’ said Andy.
Andy and Michael, who are well known in Wexford drama circles, have a history with Billy Roche productions. As far back as twenty years ago, in 1996, they scored an All Ireland Drama Festival win with Enniscorthy Drama Group, performing ‘Poor Beast In The Rain’.
‘Of Mornington’ tells the story of a former world famous snooker player named Phil who has fallen from glory and is trying to come to terms with his new life. Phil, played by Andy himself, soon meets the aspirational young man Mike – played by Wexford’s Jack Matthews – who reminds him of what he once was. Meanwhile, Shauna – played by Gail Jordan from Ballindaggin – is facing her own problems and forever living in the hope that she can put her past behind her. The play is about the interaction between the three characters and their hope for a redemptive future.
”It is really tightly written and very well structured. It is a polished little gem, a little snippet of perfection,’ said Andy.
It is not only Michael and Andy who are excited to be staging the new play. Billy Roche is equally as thrilled to put his latest work in the hands of the pair.
‘I knew them for a long long time and they have always spoken about dipping into the professional world and going out on their own. When Andy came looking to perform it, I said “ok, let’s do it”. So it’s an exciting new venture for everyone,’ said Billy.
‘Of Mornington’ and the new Scalder Theatre Company will both be launched in the National Opera House this Thursday, April 14. Tickets for the May run will soon be on sale from the Opera House.
(First published in the Wexford People: print edition. Also available online at: http://www.wexfordpeople.ie/lifestyle/new-scalder-group-to-perform-world-premiere-of-billy-roche-play-34631191.html)