Last Tango…

Our association with Last Tango in Derriaghy ended on a high in Ballymoney last night. Both Ballymoney Festival and their knowledgeable audience appreciated our visit and thoroughly enjoyed the story as it unfolded before them. Congratulations to director Des Loughridge, cast and crew. A great way to bow out.


Director Des Loughridge and the cast of Gaslight are hard at work in preparation for next year’s Festival Circuit. You can catch our production of Patrick Hamilton’s Gaslight at the following Festivals:

Portadown on Wednesday 8 March 2023

Ballymoney on Saturday 11 March

Newtownabbey on Tuesday 14 March

Bangor on Friday 17 March

Strabane on Sunday 19 March

Newry on Wednesday 29 March.

Newtownabbey Festival

Our production of Last Tango In Derriaghy came third overall and has qualified for the Northern Ireland 1 Act Finals which take place in the Belvoir Studio Theatre on Saturday 14 January 2023.

Congratulations to Roger Jennings for winning the Best Actor Trophy, to Frances Hastie for winning the Adjudicator’s Award for her portrayal of Joyce and to the Lighting and Sound Team for winning the Alan Waugh Award for The Creative Use of Sound.

Belfast Festival

We returned to the Belfast Festival in Moira on Saturday 19 November where we gained third place in the Open Section.

Carrigallen Festival

On Sunday 20 November we headed, for the first time, to Carrigallen Festival which was held in the Cornmill Theatre, Carrigallen, Co Leitrim, where, because there were only three productions in the Open Section we weren’t placed.

Northern Ireland 1 Act Finals

Congratulations to Frances Hastie for winning the Comedy Cup.

We wish the winners, Theatre 3, Newtownabbey every success in the British Final of One Act Plays (Friday 30 June and Saturday 1 July in the Mac Theatre, Belfast).

Last Tango In Derriaghy

Director, Des Loughridge, and cast are busy rehearsing our 1 Act Festival Production — David Tristram’s Last Tango In Derriaghy.

Membership of the local amateur drama society has dwindled to four. Time for dramatic action. There’s only one thing that sells tickets these days – sex. But how will the locals react to the promise of a sizzling sex comedy? All is revealed in this fast-paced comedy of an Am-Dram in trouble.

You can catch it at the following festivals:

Newtownabbey Festival, Courtyard Theatre, Ballyearl, Newtownabbey on Friday 4 November

Belfast/Moira Festival, Moira Presbyterian Church Hall, Moira on Saturday 19 November

Carrigallen Festival, Corn Mill Theatre, Carrigallen, Co Leitrim on Sunday 20 November.

A Tribute To Stephen Connolly

The Clarence Players – memories of Stephen Connolly

Stephen made a grand entrance to The Clarence Players in 2014. He took on the role of Gerry Dunbar, the director of a play within a play, shouting from the back of the theatre and bounding onto the stage to remonstrate with his “woeful cast,” in the production, Play On, by Rick Abbot.

We were delighted to welcome him back in many subsequent productions, for example, in Hedda Gabler, by Henrik Ibsen, as a sinister Judge Brack. In another of Ibsen’s plays, Stephen performed the title role in John Gabriel Borkman where he picked up a Best Actor award in Newry Festival. He went on to pick up many more awards and nominations in future festivals, including the AUDF (Northern Ireland) finals in the play, Give me your Answer, do, by Brian Friel, in 2019, where he won the Best Supporting Actor award.

When The Clarence Players was commissioned to take part in Belfast’s 3rd C.S Lewis festival to perform Roger Courtney’s The Inklings, Stephen took on the role of C.S Lewis. He wanted to do justice to Lewis’ words and truly brought them to life on stage.

He also proved his versatility as an actor in comic roles in our summer productions. Who can forget his performance in, Kindly Keep it Covered, by Dave Freeman as the reluctant dieter, Hooper. Dressed throughout in a fat suit, he managed to pull off some astounding physical moves and brought the house down in a scene where he finally found some food! Each night, the cast watched this particular scene from backstage as we enjoyed it so much.  Other summer plays included, Beside the Seaside, by Leslie Sands and Boeing-Boeing, by Marc Camoletti.

Just prior to the pandemic, Stephen took on the role of Gardner Church in Tina Howe’s play, Painting Churches. He played the role of a poet who was losing his memory with great sensitivity and his renditions of some well known poetry touched festival audiences.  He also won Best Actor Awards in both Ballymoney and Larne and likely would have gone on to further success had Covid not prevented the run continuing.  

Stephen will be remembered with much affection by The Clarence Players for his enormous talent, but even more for his kindness, generosity, sense of fun and friendship. The thoughts of our members are with his wife, Jane and his son, Edward.

Many thanks to Lorraine, Jackie and David for all their work in putting this together.