Oyster Lane win Best Overall Show award
When it comes to treading the boards, Wexford has always enjoyed a wonderful tradition and has played host to some wonderful groups and performers over the years. This tradition was well and truly reflected as groups from the model county brought home a whole host of awards from the annual Association of Irish Musical Societies (AIMS) Awards in Killarney over the weekend.
Topping the bill, were Oyster Lane Theatre Group (OLTG) who walked away with Best Overall Show in Ireland in the Sullivan Section for their production of 'Michael Collins'. Celebrating 25 years this year, it was an emotional win for the cast and crew who were overwhelmed to hear their name called out on Saturday night.
'There was a good group of us down in Killarney for it,' said Ryan Kavanagh of OLTG. 'We only found out on the Friday that we were nominated for Best Overall Show. There was a lot of waiting then. It was the last award to be announced on Saturday night and there was big suspense. We were thrilled when we were called out.'
The show had proved a major hit for them with Chris Currid taking on the title role under the directorship of Imelda McDonagh. 'We had a huge cast,' said Ryan. 'It was one of the biggest shows we've ever taken on. It was a special one for us as well because it was the first time it had been done in the four years since it's writer Brian Flynn passed away.'
While as recently as 2016, OLTG scooped an AIMS award for Best Choreography for 'Hairspray' and they had last been nominated for Best Overall Show for 'All 4 One' in 2008, coming third, this was the first time they scooped the top prize.
'We've actually never won Best Overall Show before,' said Ryan. 'It's great that it falls on our 25th anniversary too. The award is not just for what we've done this year, but every year for the past 25 years that has taken us to this point.'
Meanwhile, in the prestigious Gilbert Section, Wexford Light Opera Society (WLOS) brought another award back to the South East, scooping Best Chorus for 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'. WLOS had been nominated for this award three times in the past four years and they were over the moon to finally bring the trophy back to Wexford in the care of Chairperson Joanne Kehoe. The society last won Best Chorus for their production of 'HMS Pinafore' back in 2004 and were delighted to finally end the wait for the elusive silverware.
There were also celebrations further north over the weekend as Enniscorthy Musical Society scooped awards for Best Technical Presentation, accepted by Wexford town man Mark Redmond, and Best Comedienne for Jennifer Byrne in their colourful production of 'Sister Act'. There was also a runner up award for Anne Marie Cooney of New Ross Musical Society in the Best Choreographer section.