Monday, January 04, 2016

Into 2016 from 86 years ago

One of those unexpected blasts from the past to start the new year is this picture from Newbridge College, which includes your editor's father Jim Byrne as a 13-year-old schoolboy, writes Brian Byrne.

It was sent to me by Joe Connolly, Newbridge-based local drama historian, who is working on his third book on County Kildare musical and drama groups, this one on Newbridge College Musicals. In addition to his writing interests, Joe has been the lighting director on all of the College's productions since 1983.

Though the musicals in Newbridge only began in 1948, Joe has been trawling back through the archives for any previous drama or sketches, and this picture is of the cast of the 1929 production of 'Vice Versa: A Lesson to Fathers', based on a comic novel by Thomas Anstey Guthrie, writing under the pseudonym F Anstey and first published in 1882.

The story line is of a father and his son who magically switch bodies as the boy is about to unhappily return to boarding school. The father finds out that his son's schooldays are not necessary 'the best years of your life' while the son learns quickly about the ups and downs of running a business.

As an aside, the John Oppermann beside my dad is the famous restauranteur and hotelier who started off his career as Catering Manager in Aer Lingus and established the Dublin Airport restaurant as one of the 'must go' venues in Dublin.

Joe Connolly's previous books are 'Pure Drama from Behind the Spotlight' and 'Musical Theatre from Behind the Spotlight'.

He would appreciate any memories, information or anecdotes about the Newbridge College Musicals and can be contacted by emailing