Saturday, November 11, 2017

New book on drama and musicals in Newbridge College

A history of musicals and drama in Newbridge College to be launched next week will explore a 75-year-old heritage in those arts at the school, writes Brian Byrne.

Written by Joe Connolly, 'Musicals & Drama from Behind the Spotlight' will be launched by former RTE newsreader Michael Murphy and has a Foreword written by Christy Moore. As students, they played respectively 'Sir Joseph' in HMS Pinafore and 'Ko-Ko' in The Mikado, and are among very many pupils of the College who trod the boards in the theatre and later became public personalities in various fields.

After a short introduction about the establishment of the College by the Dominican order and an outline of early performances (your editor's father, Jim Byrne, is second from right in the above picture of the cast of the 1929 production of Vice Versa: A Lesson to Fathers), the author then details the more structured history from 1942 and the beginning of regular drama productions in the school. The construction of a fully-equipped theatre as part of the Senior House building in the early 1950s allowed very professional stage work to be accomplished.

These productions developed into a speciality with the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas from the Victorian era between 1948-1982. A much broader range of musicals produced from 1983 are detailed in the book, finishing with the Les Misérables show from last year.

Joe Connolly has already published two books on amateur drama and musical theatre in Kildare town and in Newbridge and The Curragh. In addition to his writing interests, Joe has been the lighting director on all of the College's productions since 1983.

The launch of 'Musicals & Drama from Behind the Spotlight' will be on Wednesday 15 November, at 7pm in the New Theatre in the College.