Athy Musical and Dramatic Society has announced its next show to be performed in the Clanard Court Hotel on the 12th and 13th of June. ‘Next Dance Please’, directed by Tom Cooper, will showcase songs from the showband era. Now in its 29th year the society owes its foundation to Joe Crowley, Mary Spellman and Fr. Owen Sweeney who in September 1984 sought to revive the town’s long standing musical and dramatic tradition. Former members of the Social Club Players Patsy O’Neill and Ger Moriarty were also involved, and by the first week of the following December the newly formed Society staged its first production. ‘Happy Days are Here Again’ was put on in the Lions Centre and if I correctly recall Fr. Pat Mangan, Frank English and myself, with some others, shamelessly disported ourselves on stage in nappies.
Better things however lay ahead for Athy Musical and Dramatic Society which the following year put on the show ‘Curtain Call’ and two years later staged its first full musical ‘Annie Get Your Gun’. The Society under the presidency of Connie Stafford has gone from strength to strength and over the years has contributed much needed funds to a variety of local charities including K.A.R.E., St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Patients Comfort Fund of St. Vincent’s Hospital.
Many of the stalwarts of the Society are included in the following photograph of the cast of ‘Carrousel’ which was performed in 1988. Their names, starting at the back from left to right, are: Damien Cardiff, Malachy Cardiff, John Keogh, Ed Kirwan, Michael Kelly, Chris Fingleton, Tony Cardiff, Kieran Dooley, Gertie Gray, Brid Horan, Breda Fitzgerald, Ann Greaney, Mary Quinlan, Siobhan McGilly, Romy Cox, Tina Donoghue, Carmel Shaughnessy, Karen Fleming, Dympna O’Flaherty, Marguerite Keegan, Margo Heskins, Anne Brennan, (?), Ann Jennings, Helen Keegan, Dolores Craig, Veronica O’Connell, Deirdre O’Halloran, Connie Stafford, Betty Cusack, Marie Caffrey, Catherine Campion, Nora Burke, Liz Watchorn, Celine Stafford, Imelda Dooley and Trish McQuinlan.
Connie Stafford, who has been involved in Athy’s Musical and Dramatic Society since its foundation, celebrated her 90th birthday last Friday. She is the longest living resident of the Pairc Bhride estate which was built by Athy Urban District Council in the early 1950s. Congratulations and best wishes to Connie on her 90th birthday and long may Athy Musical and Dramatic Society continue in the great show making tradition which is an important part of Athy’s cultural heritage.