Tuam to honour playwrights MJ Molloy and Tom MurphyJuly 27, 2012 - 7:00am
A theatre festival, which will stage plays written by the likes of Tom Murphy and MJ Molloy as well as other local playwrights, takes place in Tuam next year to mark the 400th anniversary of the town.
If it proves successful, it will become an annual event and enjoy the same success as the town’s Trad Festival which is now in its third year.
Druid Theatre has made a huge success of staging three Tom Murphy plays, Conversations on a Homecoming, A Whistle in the Dark and Famine in London and New York, as well as in Ireland, and the organisers of the Tuam 400 believe that a selection of his plays would also go down a treat in the playwright’s home town.
Other Murphy plays like the much-performed On the Outside, A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer’s Assistant and The Gigli Concert would also form part of the theatre festival planned for Tuam.
Meanwhile, the Tuam 400 committee also want to honour MJ Molloy, who was born in Milltown in 1917 and died there in 1994.
Molloy originally intended to become a priest but contracted tuberculosis as a young man. He began writing plays during his long hospital stays and his first venture was The Old Road in 1943.
His plays proved to be incredibly popular during the 1940s and 1950s and nine were premiered at the Abbey Theatre and one in the Gaiety. Three of his plays were brought to London and three to Broadway. Druid Theatre staged one of his most popular works, The Wood of the Whispering during the early 1980s.
The former student of St Jarlath’s College in Tuam is so well regarded in his home place of Milltown that a quill was added in his memory in the local GAA club’s logo.
Mike Stewart, one of the main organisers of the Tuam 400 celebrations, told The Connacht Tribune that the theatre festival would take place in March next year and would also feature the works of other local playwrights including Kevin O’Dwyer who has showcased some of his original material at recent Tuam Arts Festival events.
“In view of the fact that there were so many theatre groups in Tuam over the years, we felt that a theatre festival would be appropriate and it is something that could easily become an annual event in the town.
“We are hoping that there will be a revival of some of the theatre groups that were in the town and we will be inviting in established groups from neighbouring towns to assist us in honouring some of the great playwrights that Tuam and North Galway have produced over the years”, Mr Stewart added.
There are also plans to hold a film festival in Tuam as part of the year-long celebrations while the Trad Festival, which normally takes place over a weekend in September, will be extended especially for the 400th anniversary of the town.