Five bid for All-Ireland glory
Wexford will be well represented at both the All Ireland Drama Festival Open and Confined competitions, with five groups in total making the cut.
In the Open competition, three Wexford groups will compete in Athlone in May.
Wexford Drama Group finished third in the table, having secured three first place results and three second place results with their production of David Auburn's 'Proof'. The group previously performed at the finals in 2014, 2011, and 2007 when they won awards for Best Actress (Adrienne Meyler), Best Supporting Actress (Hilda Conway) and Best Director (Paul Walsh) with Marina Carr's 'By the Bog of Cats'.
Bridge Drama finished fifth in the table, having also secured three wins, two seconds and one third with their production of Michael Cooney's 'Cash on Delivery'. This will be the group's third time at the finals, having enjoyed great success on their two previous outings. In 2013, their production of 'Out of Order' by Ray Cooney (father of their current play's writer), won a Best Director Award for Pat Whelan. In 2016, the group won the overall competition with their production of Neil Simon's 'Lost In Yonkers', becoming only the second Wexford group to take home the coveted top prize.
The third Open group to qualify is Kilmuckridge Drama Group who finished sixth in the table with their production of Conor McPherson's 'The Seafarer'. The group won three festivals and also picked up one second and one third place. The group has competed in the All Ireland Open Final on one previous occasion - in 2015, with Jimmy Murphy's 'Kings of the Kilburn High Road'. The previous year, they had won the Confined All Ireland with Conor McPherson's 'The Weir'.
The RTE All Ireland Open Finals take place at the Dean Crowe Theatre in Athlone from April 28 to May 6. The draw to determine the running order for the final took place on Easter Monday - the three participating groups will host pre-final performances in the coming weeks.
In the Confined competition, two groups have qualified for the final which takes place in Carnew from April 13 to 21.
Ballycogley Players finished fourth in the table with their production of Conor McPherson's 'The Night Alive'. They picked up four first-place awards, two seconds and one third. The group previously won the Confined All Ireland in 2006 with another of McPherson's plays, 'The Weir'. Since then, the Players have competed at the Confined All Ireland Final on two occasions, in 2015 and 2016.
The group will stage a number of pre-All Ireland performances. The first will take place in St Mary's Hall, Fethard-on-Sea on April 7 at 8.30 p.m. Two other performances will be confirmed in the coming week. See the group's Facebook page for more details.
Coolgreaney Drama Group finished in sixth place of the table with their production of 'Death and the Maiden' by Ariel Dorfman, picking up two wins, three second places and one third place at festivals along the way. This is the group's third year performing in the competition, having qualified for the final on their first year out, in 2016, with Frank McGuinness' play 'Greta Garbo Came to Donegal'.
The group will perform the play again in Inch Hall before the finals and have provisionally booked April 7 and 8. For information, contact 087 2411 926.