Drama in Milltown
There is a long tradition of drama in Milltown. Before the CYMS hall was built in 1939 plays were staged in local schools by well-loved thespians such as Denis Flannery, Joe Frawley and Michael Silke. The building of the hall was a major undertaking spearheaded by Fr Blowick and it became the entertainment centre of the parish, a place where plays, concerts and dances were regularly held.
Among the plays produced in the early days The New TD, Professor Tim and The Rising of the Moon and later on in the fifties and sixties many more productions showcased the acting talent of the area. Molloy’s The Paddy Pedlar was staged in the fifties and the cast on that occasion were: Michael Egan, Jim Costelloe, Padraic Ruane, Kathleen O’Brien (Forkan), Mary Forde (Sheridan) and Kathleen O’Donnell.
The drama movement in the parish went into decline in the late sixties and in 1980 there was a production of The Country Boy produced by Jim Carney. The CYMS hall was a venue for the 1982-83 tour of the Druid Theatre production of Molloy’s The Wood of the Whispering. Directed by Gary Hynes and starring Mick Lally and Marie Mullen, the play drew a huge audience. MJ himself was particularly impressed with Hynes’ artistic vision.
There was a revival in the 1990s when one act plays The Marriage Plan and A Pound on Demand were produced. This was followed by a production of Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come! but the drama tradition has unfortunately not significantly recovered until now.
It is hoped that the celebration of the birth of MJ Molloy and a consequent upsurge of appreciation of his work will inspire the present society to carry on the tradition.