Ballyduff Drama Group from Co. Waterford scooped the Top Award at the finale of the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival last Saturday. Drama groups from around the country gathered in Athlone last week for the highly contested All Ireland finals – this year marked 70 years of the Athlone-based festival, and the first festival since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ballyduff Drama Group, directed by Ger Canning, were crowned RTÉ All Ireland Drama Champions for their performance of ‘Rabbit Hole’ by David Lindsay-Abaire at the Gala Awards ceremony in Athlone’s Radisson Blu Hotel on Saturday May 14th as the curtain came down on the 70th year of the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival. Bunclody/Kilmyshall Drama Group, directed by Kieran Tyrell, who performed ‘The Good Father’ by Christian O’Reilly were placed second and Palace Players, directed by Danny Buckley, who performed ‘Chapatti’ also by Christian O’Reilly were placed third. Find out more: RTÉ ALL IRELAND DRAMA FESTIVAL – About RTÉ (rte.ie)
: The Today Show special report here
Watch: The Nationwide Special Edition here
Listen: the Arena special report here
Huge thanks to RTÉ lyric fm for carrying the daily festival reports WATCH: this year’s promotional spot for the 70th RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival ran across RTÉ radio, television, digital and social, with festival reports on RTÉ lyric fm, as well as coverage on RTÉ Radio 1’s Arena, and Today and Nationwide on
RTÉ One.

“RTÉ’s role in the drama festival is important – important because the festival is not just about fostering the arts, it’s also about tapping into local communities in every corner of this island. And that’s why RTÉ needs to be here today.”
Regina Bushell Festival Director WATCH: There was no Festival in 2021 – instead, RTÉ collaborated with amateur actors from all over Ireland to produce this special piece, looking ahead to when the house-lights would turn on once more … WATCH: A look back at the festival launch at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

This year’s finalists were:

Palace Players, Co. Cork, who will present ‘Chapatti’ by Christian O’Reilly, a poignant exploration of the importance of human companionship.
Kilmeen Drama Group, Co. Cork, who will present Tom Murphy’s ‘Conversations on a Homecoming’ which takes us on a journey of self-discovery as friends gather after an absence of 10 years.
Bunclody-Kilmyshall Drama Group, Co. Wexford, who will perform another Christian O’Reilly play ‘The Good Father’ on 7 May. The play reveals an unlikely love story following the unexpected consequences of a one night stand.
Ballyduff Drama Group, Co.Waterford, who will perform the moving ‘Rabbit Hole’ a Pulitzer Prize winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire which tells the story of a married couple, grieving the loss of their young son in a car accident.
Butt Drama Circle, Co. Donegal, who present a brand-new play ‘An Incident with Dave Cotter’ on May 9. Set against the background of the events of Bloody Sunday, it was written and directed by actor, Shaun Byrne, a member of the award-winning group.
Prosperous Dramatic Society, Co. Kildare, return to the festival to present the chaotic and at times savage comedy ‘God of Carnage’ by Yasmina Reza on 10 May.
Kilrush Drama Group, from Co. Wexford, will present the Edinburgh Fringe First Award winning ‘Class’ by Iseult Golden & David Horan on 11 May, an explosive triple confrontation which is both funny and heart-breaking.
Ballyshannon Drama Society, from Co. Donegal, will return to the festival to perform Arthur Miller’s first major work ‘All My Sons’ on 12 May, an emotional play which has several twists and turns.
Dalkey Players, from Co. Dublin, will close the festival on 13 May. They will present ‘Eurydice’ by Sarah Ruhl, a re-imagination of the classic myth.