We will miss you Liam Halligan ...

December 10, 2012

We're sad to say goodbye to Liam Halligan after his year working with Draiocht and our D15 participants ... the final performances of 'You, Yes You' were amazing ...

Enjoy some video snippets advertising the shows here ... and some from the Final Performances here ...

Also on hand was photographer Tom Lawlor who took some stunning pictures so we can remember this project for ever! More to follow ... 




Liam wrote this lovely Director’s Note for the Printed Programme on the night:

The piece of theatre you will see tonight is the result of an Artist-in-Residency project which began in November of last year.

This residency provided me with a wonderful opportunity to make something new and different - a piece based on what the community have to say. It allowed me time to work with a large group of non actors in a large theatre with constant administrative support. The objective was to bring a diverse group of individuals together, to build confidence, to have fun, to collaborate, to inspire each other and to create something that mattered.

I was hoping to spend the year working with a group of about 15 individuals from the local area but then Draíocht received over 100 enquiries! So this quickly changed the shape and the possibilities of what we could create. The last thing I wanted to do was to turn people away. So, we began in February and created 4 groups of approx 12 participants. We continued with 4 week sessions in April, July and October/November.

The themes and content of the piece slowly emerged. The sequences you will see are based on the improvisations and exercises that the group really enjoyed doing. The final group of 28 ‘die hards’ selected themselves naturally. A strong group dynamic developed and the themes took on more depth. All the text and the songs you will hear were suggested by the group.

As a theatre maker I wanted to hear the voices of people who are often airbrushed out of theatre, voices that are too quiet to be heard. I hope we have achieved that.

I am hugely grateful to everyone who came along and I am delighted that such a smashing group of people stayed with it to the very end. Thank you for all your commitment, energy and bravery. It will be very difficult to ‘say goodbye’. 

Liam Halligan


Very Special Thank You To:
Fingal County Council and The Arts Council who funded the project.

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By Draíocht. Tags: Theatre, Workshops, Liam Halligan,

A Christmas Carol - A Christmas Dickens!

November 7, 2012

A Christmas Carol - A Christmas Dickens!


Opening on November 24th 2012 - One of Britain's leading stage actors Clive Francis comes to Ireland for the Irish Premiere of his unique one man adaptation of A Christmas Carol to coincide with the Dickens Bicentenary 2012. Clive Francis will perform his acclaimed production as part of his extensive Bicentenary tour of the UK and Ireland over twelve nights in eleven venues across the country from Saturday November 24th through Friday 7th December (Draiocht Blanchardstown) before the shows London premier at the new St James Theatre Westminster and further dates in Birmingham, Guildford and Bath.

Clive Francis was last seen playing Ken Lay in the West End transfer of the hit play Enron at Dublin's Gaiety Theatre as part of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival 2010 Directed by Rupert Goold.

Inspired by Dicken's first reading and performance of A Christmas Carol at the Birmingham Town Hall on December 27th 1853 - Clive Francis re-enacts this festive masterpiece while playing every notable character in the story in a haunting, moving and brilliantly entertaining performance. Clive Francis is indeed the first actor since Charles Dickens himself to re-enact that famous reading at the Birmingham Town Hall - where his production has now become an annual event in the city where huge audiences gather each year to see his remarkable interpretation.

We caught up with Clive Francis, ahead of his Irish Tour, and he chatted about this amazing and mesmerizing production …


“A Christmas Dickens - Marley was dead to begin with, there’s no doubt about that.
And thus Charles Dickens’ slim little Christmas book gets under way and Scrooges remarkable journey of reclamation begins. A Christmas Carol is a wonderful read, full of parallels and metaphors that hopefully makes us occasionally re-examine our own existence and how we behave towards one another.

For the past twelve Christmas’ I have travelled up and down the country, performing Dickens story of redemption in a variety of settings from theatres, churches, schools, country houses and even on one occasion around the fireside of someone’s drawing room. In nearly fifty years as an actor I would say that A Christmas Carol contains the perfect script; full of emotion and rich with characterization; an absolute joy to perform. 

Being Dickens bicentenary year I decided to extend the tour by taking in a large swathe of Ireland; travelling to places new to me and where I’d like to think Dickens has never been recited before. I shall also be performing it for the third year at Birmingham’s Town Hall; the first actor to do so since 1853 when Charles Dickens recited his book in front of an audience of over two and a half thousand people. 

I first encountered Ebenezer Scrooge eighteen years ago when I was invited to play him for the RSC in a huge, lavish production adapted by John Mortimer. It was, as the Sunday Times reported, ‘a success the size of a giant Christmas tree appealing to the grown-up in the children and the child in the grown-ups….’ 

A month after we finished the run I discovered most of the set, including Scrooge’s bed, piled high in a refuse dump not far from where I lived; the first indication that Ian Judge’s brilliant production had been axed and that the chances of me ever playing the old skinflint again were pretty slim; a phone call would have been a gentler way of breaking the news! 

But you know, once you’ve trod the ‘path of jagged flints and stones laid down by Scrooge’s brutal ignorance’, it’s hard to get the old boy out of your head, hence why I decided to adapt the story into a show for myself. 

Charles Dickens wrote the little Christmas book, as he called it, in order to prick the consciousness of every reader in the land to make them aware of the scandalous conditions children were being forced to suffer under in factory’s and mines around the country: many working as much as eighteen-hour days for hardly the price of a loaf of bread.  

So strong was his appeal that he actually impelled the government of the day to make changes to the Poor Laws, as well as other smaller acts.  

The story, which had Dickens weeping, and laughing and weeping again, took a little over six weeks to compose, finishing it as he did just before December, 1843. As soon as he had scrawled ‘The End’ across the final page, he broke out, as he himself described it, like a madman.  

Needless to say it was an overnight success, provoking Thomas Carlyle to go straight out and buy himself a turkey.  

Ten years later Dickens made the first of his many personal appearances when he performed A Christmas Carol in front of an audience of working class people inside Birmingham’s Town Hall, a performance that lasted just under three hours; an incredible achievement when you consider that this was well before the invention of microphones, when the only method of projecting the story to such a large gathering was simply the human voice, raw and unaided. As an actor myself who knows the size of this Hall, I truly appreciate how outstanding a feat that must have been. 


Charles Dickens was a performer of consummate routine, a strict disciplinarian, who stuck to a rigid, if somewhat bizarre, routine, especially on performance days. For example he would begin with a breakfast of two tablespoons of rum flavoured with fresh cream, followed in the afternoon with a pint of champagne. Then half an hour before the start of his performance, he would drink a raw egg that had been beaten into a tumbler glass of sherry. During the interval he invariably consumed several cups of beef tea and always retired to bed with a bowl of soup.  


If any actor today followed that course of events he’d be so woolly-headed before he got on stage he’d find himself incapable of standing let alone speaking this dense and wordy text. 


Unfortunately there are only a few eye-witness accounts describing Dickens the actor, but from what one gathers he was fairly mesmerizing to watch, allowing each character to come alive through a variety of different voices and different facial settings ‘mouth comically twisted, eyes rolling, and eyebrows jiggering’; and all to great effect. As soon as Scrooge began to speak it was as if Dickens had disappeared; presenting instead an old man with a shrewd grating voice with a face drawn down into his collar like a great ageing turtle; his face becoming surly and sour. He bit his fingers, pointed with savage intensity, and rubbed his eyes in disbelief. It is reported that the audience fell into a kind of trance, as a universal feeling of joy seemed to invade the whole assembly.  


Dickens described these performances like ‘an enormous top in full spin’. Sadly this whirling life would eventually destroy him. He became sick, weary and prematurely aged. The strain of the readings that took him around not only this country but vast areas of the States as well punctured the life out of him. 


He began with A Christmas Carol and he ended with it. His last reading of the little book took place in London on March 15th, 1870. At the end of the performance he told his audience that ‘from these garish lights I vanish now for evermore, with a heartfelt, grateful, respectful, and affectionate farewell.’ There was a hush and then as his son recalled, ‘a storm of cheering as I have never seen equalled in my life.’  


His head was bowed, and the tears were streaming down his face but still the cheering went on. Eventually Dickens raised his hands to his lips in a kiss and left the platform for ever. His son said that his father was deeply touched, but infinitely sad and broken. Charles Dickens was to die three months later at the age of 58.” 


Clive Francis 2012. 



Clive Francis first crossed paths with the character of Ebenezer Scrooge whilst playing the role in Ian Judge’s acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company's production of A Christmas Carol at the Barbican Theatre in 1994 and 1995. He made his West End debut in 1966 opposite Donald Sinden in ‘There's A Girl In My Soup’ at the Globe Theatre and later at the Comedy Theatre, and a select number of credits since include ‘The Hypochondriac’ for the English Touring Theatre, ‘Tis Pity She's a Whore’ with Rupert Graves at the National Theatre, ‘Single Spies’ directed by Alan Bennett, ‘Gross Indecency’ with Michael Pennington, ‘Enteraining Mr Sloane’ opposite Alison Steadman, ‘The Dresser, Never So Good’ opposite Jeremy Irons at the National Theatre, ‘The Woman Hater’ at the Orange Tree, ‘Enron’ at the Noel Coward Theatre London and Gaiety Theatre Dublin and most recently ‘The Madness of King George III’ with David Haig in the West End.


His numerous television and film appearances include Saturday, Sunday Monday opposite Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright, Entertaining Mr Sloane with Sheila Hancock, Decision to Burn with Anthony Hopkins, The Gathering Storm with Richard Burton and Virginia Mckenna, Caesar and Cleopatra opposite Richard Burton, As You Like It with Helen Mirren, Sharpe's Company with the late Pete Postlewaite, Masada with Peter O' Toole, The Far Pavilions with John Gielgud, Old Flames with Stephen Fry, Simon Callow and Miriam Margoyles, Longitude opposite Michael Gambon, David Copperfield with Ian McKellen and Joss Ackland, Lipstick On Your Collar opposite Ewan McGregor, Yes, Prime Minster, Quartermaine’s Terms, The Piglet Files, The 10%ers, New Tricks, Pierrepoint, The Queen and probably most famously playing John the lodger in A Clockwork Orange.


The Irish premier of Clive Francis's adaptation of A Christmas Carol is produced by the Irish actor Conor Sheridan and his company Granite Productions.


For more information please contact Producer Conor Sheridan - GRANITE PRODUCTIONS conorsheridan2003@yahoo.co.uk 







Saturday 24th November Theatre Royal Waterford




Sunday 25th and Monday 26th November Everyman Palace Cork


021- 450 1673


Tuesday 27th November Mill Theatre Dundrum Dublin




Wednesday 28th November The Dock Carrick on Shannon




Friday 30th November Simsa Tire Theatre Tralee


066-712 3055


Saturday 1st December Town Hall Theatre Galway


091 - 569777


Sunday 2nd December Hawkswell Theatre Sligo


071 - 9161518


Tuesday 4th December Glor Theatre Ennis


065 - 6843103


Wednesday 5th December Source Arts Centre Thurles



Thursday 6th December Mermaid Arts Centre Bray Wicklow




Friday 7th December Draiocht Blanchardstown


01-885 2622







Tuesday 11th - Sunday 16th December

St James Theatre Studio London 




Thur 20th December -  Monday 31st Dec

Mill Studio Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Guildford 




Sunday 23rd December Town Hall 

Birmingham  www.thsh.co.uk



Thurs 4th/Fri 5th Jan

Ustinov Space Theatre Royal Bath


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By Draíocht. Tags: Theatre,

Queen Elizabeth – Warts and All

October 22, 2012

We caught up with Actor Rebecca Vaughan, who is just about to embark on an Irish Tour with her solo show ‘I, Elizabeth’, coming to Draiocht on Thursday 8th November, 8pm, Tickets: 18/14e conc are available from Draiocht’s Box Office, tel 01-885 2622 or online: www.draiocht.ie

I, ELIZABETH – An interview with Rebecca Vaughan

When did you first become interested in Elizabeth I?

I think she’s always been an interesting figure to me, even from primary school where I learned about the Tudor monarchs. Here were stories you couldn’t make up: truth was weirder than fiction – Henry VIII with 6 wives, and Elizabeth who reigned for 44 years and never married. There are so few really striking women in the history books, so she really stands out, warts and all!


How did the show come about?

I had just finished the Edinburgh run of my first one woman show – AUSTEN’S WOMEN, and had completely fallen in love with the idea of solo shows, and so was looking to write another one.  I was in the library looking for a book which I couldn’t find. I finished off on my hands and knees looking for it under the bookshelf.  It turned out not to be the book I was looking for, but rather “Elizabeth I: Collected Works”.  I thought, hang on – I never knew Elizabeth I wrote stuff!  So, intrigued, I got it out of the library.  It turned out to be a collection of her letters, speeches, poetry and prayers, and what really interested me was the younger Elizabeth was very different to the strong ‘Gloriana’ leader we know of her later life.  It seems that until she was about 35 she was quite insecure and vulnerable, and sometimes doubted her abilities as queen.  I was interested in the idea of seeing if I could put together a show using only her own words to create something that is as close as possible to who she was.  I really wanted to show where she got things wrong, all her flaws, as well as her many strengths.  And thus, I, ELIZABETH was born!


What have you learned about Elizabeth from your research and creating the show?

In addition to her insecurities and vulnerabilities, I learned what a solitary life it really was, especially for her as a woman.  Everyone she came into contact with had their own agenda, even her closest counselors, so she could never really trust anyone.  Many of the bad decisions she made were often on account of trusting the wrong people, as well as her being a procrastinator.  She really was a terrible procrastinator – and often hoped that things would work themselves out on their own (which of course, often didn’t happen!).  This was one of her biggest flaws.  But I think Elizabeth the woman was always trying to break free, but Elizabeth the Queen always had to win.


How far have you toured the show?

As well as touring the UK and Ireland, the show has toured to the US and Australia, and will be hopefully doing a tour of all the Ivy League Universities in America next Autumn.  There seems to still be so much interest in her both as a woman and a queen.

You brought a previous show AUSTEN’S WOMEN to Draiocht – do you like the solo show format?

Absolutely love it!  I’d been a ‘normal’ actor for about 10 years, and then when I got involved in creating AUSTEN’S WOMEN I realised that this is what I adore, and why I became an actor.  To have such an intimacy with an audience is just wonderful and really takes both the performer and the audience back to what theatre is really about – sitting in a dark room and hearing a story told.  As an actor, I find it far more fulfilling than being in large productions in huge theatres where the audience seem miles away and are often not drawn into the story being told on stage.


What are your forthcoming plans?

Well, we (Dyad Productions) have just premiered our newest show FEMALE GOTHIC at the Edinburgh Festival and it went down a storm!  Its Victorian tales of the macabre and ghost stories written by women, and it seems that people really do have a taste for that genre – we love to be scared, just a little!  And these Victorian stories really ignite the imagination, and I love performing the show!  This will start touring in January, and will tour to Ireland in February.  However, there are so many Irish venues that are interested in the show that we will be bringing it back again next autumn!  We are also touring our other show – a two hander – THE DIARIES OF ADAM AND EVE – to Ireland next January.  The show is a relationship comedy and uses the idea of the first man and the first woman and asks – how is it possible that men and women have ever made it work!  And it’s so much fun to share the stage with another person after doing all these solo shows!



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By Draíocht. Tags: Theatre,


October 12, 2012

The Music Man, one of the most successful Hollywood musicals, of all time, will come marching into Draíocht Blanchardstown for a five night run commencing on Tuesday 23 October 2012 at 8.00pm.
The Music Man has not been seen on the Dublin stage for quite some years.

An all star cast lead by multiple AIMS (Association of Irish Musical Societies) award winning northside actor Michael Evans, in the title role, Professor Harold Hill, will be joined by award winning Jean Sweeney, Baldoyle and Blanchardstown (as Marion Peroo); Valerie Andrews, Ballinteer (as Mrs Peroo), John Furlong, Blanchardstown (as Mayor Shinn), Siobhán 0’Sullivan, Phibsboro (as Mrs Shinn) who together with Will Burke (as Marcellus Washburn) and an experienced cast of forty singers and dancers from all over the city suburbs and beyond will bring Meredith Wilson’s colourful musical, set in River City Iowa, to life. The Music Man also has seventeen children in the cast and an orchestra of eleven people.

Ten year old Adam Doherty, from Donaghmede, a fifth class pupil at St. Brigid’s Boys National School, Killester, and son of Eithne and Paul Doherty, will play the important role of Winthrop in The Music Man. Adam is a student of FACT school of performing arts, under the direction of northsider Sean Gilligan. Adam has already appeared in the sell-out musical, The Snowman at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre here in Dublin and at the University Concert Hall, Limerick. Adam has also appeared in Annie Jnr, the musical, at the Helix Theatre and in Cinderella at the Castle, in Clontarf Castle.

Rehearsals in full swing!

Jack Carolan, Dunboyne, who is already making a name for himself in stage musicals plays Tommy Djilas, Lauren Murphy from Skryne, Co Meath plays Amaryllis and sister Lucy plays Zaneeta and Alice Hunter, Marino (Gracie Shinn).

Rehearsals in full swing!

The Music Man, by Meredith Willson, with timeless classic numbers Seventy-Six Trombones, Ya Got Trouble, The Wells Fargo Wagon, Goodnight My Someone and Till There Was You is directed by Philippa Alford. The musical director is Yvonne McQuillan and award winning choreographer Orla Savage is responsible for the choreography. The colourful stage settings are by award winning set designer Richard Levins.

Rehearsals in full swing!

The Music Man is presented at Draíocht Blanchardstown by The Pioneer Musical Society, for Pioneer Club members and friends. The Pioneer Musical Society is one of the longest established musical societies in the country. The society will be well known for staging spectacular musicals and pantomimes, with high production values, at their former home St. Francis Xavier Hall, Upper Sherrard Street, in the city, for many years. In recent years the society has staged many successful musicals at Draíocht, including South Pacific, Calamity Jane, The Hot Mikado, Crazy for You and Fiddler on the Roof.

Rehearsals in full swing!

The Music Man is now booking at Draíocht Box Office 01 885 2622 Monday to Saturday 10am to 6.00pm.
Tickets €15.00 (Tuesday) and €18.00 (Wednesday to Saturday) may also be booked, at any time, online at www.draiocht.ie


The film of The Music Man premiered in 1962 and starred Robert Preston, as The Music Man and Shirley Jones, of Oklahoma! and Carousel fame, as Marion Peroo and Buddy Hackett, Paul Ford, Hermione Gingold.

Rehearsals in full swing!

The Chairperson of the Pioneer Musical Society for Pioneer Club Members and Friends is Mary O’Reilly.
Any further information from: P.J.Kelly, FPRII, MMII. Pioneer Musical Society, Tel: 087 769 0997

Rehearsals in full swing!

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By Draíocht. Tags: Music, Theatre,

Star Wars and Me with Actor Charles Ross

October 12, 2012

We caught up with actor Charles Ross who is just about to embark on an Irish Tour with his show 'One-Man Star Wars Trilogy', coming to Draiocht on Thursday 18 October, 8pm, Tickets: 18/14e conc ...

Charles will be supported on the night by banker-turned-comedian Aidan Killian and costumed characters in the foyer beforehand for photos!

Charles's One Man Star Wars Trilogy takes fans on a whirlwind adventure through a film franchise that has preoccupied the imaginations of so many children around the world, where he single-handedly plays all the characters, sings the music, flies the ships, fights the battles and condenses the plots into just sixty minutes!

Q. When did you first become interested in Star Wars?

A. When I was a child, I lived on a farm in Prince George, a northern part of Canada. We had long winters where it would drop down to maybe -40C and it was very cold for seven or eight months of the year. Because of that, you spent a lot of time indoors and we had no television reception, so you had to watch what you had on video on your VCR. We only had three movies - The Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields, Shogun and Star Wars - so nine times out of ten, I ended up watching Star Wars. A lot of times, it would just be on as background noise, and I would think that a lot of it has gone into my head through osmosis and become committed to my memory. And what do you do with that useless piece of information? That was something no one should do to themselves unless you intend to do something positive with it eventually – and so I have!

Q. How did you come to turn your knowledge of Star Wars into a one-man show?

A. I’ve got a degree in theatre with an acting specialisation, but actors are often out of work, so I wanted to do my own one-man show to get a bit of autonomy in my career. One-Man Star Wars Trilogy started life as a comedy sketch, but then my director TJ Dawe and I turned it into a one-hour piece. It went down really well when I performed it at a fringe event in Toronto – and everything’s gone on from there.

Q. How many times have you seen the Star Wars films now?

A. No idea, but I’ve probably seen the first film in the hundreds and the other two films in the Trilogy, probably less than a hundred. The new films I’ve seen maybe half a dozen times.

Q. Which is your favourite character to perform?

A. The Emperor, because he’s such a rotten bastard and Iain McDiarmid who played him is such a fantastic actor.

Q. And which is the most difficult character?

A. Yoda, because the pitch of my voice is different to that of Frank Oz, who did his voice.

Q. Has George Lucas seen your show?

A. Not to my knowledge, but I am officially licensed by LucasFilm – otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed to do the show! – and I was hired to perform at the official fan conventions Celebration III and IV in the US and Celebration Europe in London, so I assume that the people whose opinion he trusts think it is something he would enjoy.

Q. How far have you toured the show?

A. Everywhere from Canada and North America to the UK, Dubai and Australasia. I’ve even performed the show while backpacking around Turkey! There are Star Wars fans everywhere.

Q. Do you have to be a Star Wars fan to enjoy the show?

A. No, but it’s probably worth hiring the DVD’s out before you come to see it, because the better you know the films, the more you’ll enjoy it. If you haven’t seen the films at all, it will be a bit like watching a game of cricket when you don’t know the rules!

Q. Do you have another ‘trilogy’ show planned for the future?

A. I have already created a One-Man Lord Of The Rings Trilogy and I’m sure I’ll do another addition to this whole Star Wars thing at some point, although this time I’m definitely going to seek out the rights first! I’ve also a one-man show which is much more autobiographical.

One-Man Star Wars™ Trilogy, written by Ross and directed by TJ Dawe, has toured the world since January 2001, delighting audiences as far afield as Dubai and Sydney. It has been performed off-Broadway in New York and in London’s West End, at several official Star Wars Celebration events, Glastonbury Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe and numerous theatres around the globe. Now Ross is taking his hilarious show on its first ever tour of Ireland. Whether you’re a committed Star Wars fan or simply want to enjoy a fast-paced, side-splitting evening that’s out of this world, make sure you don’t miss it!

One Man Star Wars™ Trilogy performed with permission of Lucasfilm Ltd. All ‘Star Wars’ elements property of Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.

Suitable for ages 7+

Supported on the night by banker-turned-comedian Aidan Killian ...

Watch a video snippet here ...


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By Draíocht. Tags: Comedy, Theatre,

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