Irish Student Drama Festival Comes to Galway

Mar 07 2011 Posted: 00:00 GMT
The next generation of theatrical talent has arrived in Galway for the Irish Student Drama Association Festival, which runs until 12 March. This is the largest event ever in the festival's 63 year history, with NUI Galway Dramsoc hosting 45 events over nine days. The festival productions are a combination of the work of emerging student writers as well as works by the likes of Brian Friel, William Shakespeare, Tom Murphy, Conor McPherson, Martin McDonagh and Harold Pinter. The Irish Student Drama Association (ISDA) is the umbrella organisation of Ireland's third-level drama societies. Featuring 25 plays from 13 colleges around the country, the event has daily performances in the Druid Theatre, Nun's Island Theatre, and the Bank of Ireland Theatre on campus. Since 1947, the ISDA festival has hosted the finest works of student drama and launched the careers of leading figures such as Garry Hynes, Conor McPherson, Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan. Outstanding performers have included Pauline McLynn, Marie Mullen, Fiona Shaw and Brendan Gleeson. Festival organiser Neasa O'Callaghan, who is studying BA Connect with Creative Writing at NUI Galway, says the event has a fantastic pedigree: "For those who were involved in drama societies or groups at college, mention of ISDA will revive fond memories. Stimulating, diverse, great training grounds and terrific fun, college and university drama societies have long been the seedbed for people who go on to make their careers in performance arts". As a result of the recently announced partnership between NUI Galway and Druid Theatre Company, the Druid Lane Theatre will serve as a main venue for the festival, with plays being performed at 8pm each evening. Neasa O'Callaghan adds: "Druid Lane has never been an ISDA Festival venue before, and its inclusion in the Festival reflects the company's commitment to promoting drama in the University. Moreover, Thomas Conway, Literary Officer for Druid also served as an Internal Adjudicator for the Drama Society this year - as a means of selecting the three plays which will represent NUI Galway at the Festival this year. He has been very supportive of the society as a whole and is always willing to give advice and feedback to students, which is invaluable." As well as the 25 main shows, there is also an ISDA Fringe Festival, running concurrently with the main festival, featuring daily comedic and musical performances. Moreover, newly written plays from NUI Galway, UCD, UCC, Trinity College Dublin and NUI Maynooth will be performed daily at 1pm in Kelly's Bar, as part of the Fringe Festival. Workshops in Juggling, Stage-combat, stand-up comedy, and acting will be held at 6pm in various venues in the city. The ISDA Festival is supported by the Ardilaun Hotel, Galway Advertiser, Galway City Council, NUI Galway, Kelly's Bar, NUI Galway College Bar, Tigh Neachtain's and Barnacles. The 2011 ISDA Festival, began on the 4 March and runs until 12 March. For full information, please visit


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