RATHDOWNEY panto group last weekend celebrated 25 years with one of their most successful shows to date. With 140 cast members, ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’ attracted sell out crowds to Rathdowney Community Centre for nearly every night of its four night run.
The show, which was written and directed by Michael Creagh and Niall O’ Doherty, told the story of a young girl who went searching for fame and fortune but instead found plenty of adventures, meeting some shady characters along the way. The leading lady for this year’s production was Kyle native Aoibhin Ryan and she was joined on the stage by 90 children and nearly 50 adults.
Adding to the spectacle of the show were talented musicans led by musical director William Cullagh. Band members included Gary Doherty on cello and flute, Philip Keegan, Cian Hanamy and Lisa Delaney on violins, Brian Hyde on acoustic guitar, Jim Ford on bass, Kevin Hosey on drums, and Pat Delaney on trumpet. The band were joined by pit singers Margaret Creagh, Anna Mackey-Hyde and Catherine Creagh.
Co-writer and director Michael Creagh was delighted with the performances throughout the weekend. “The panto gives the area a great lift, both commercially and spiritually. The kids were great, they were all very professional and well behaved. We were thrilled with their performance.”
Michael also said that without the help of many people, the panto would not go ahead. He thanked all the local sponsors, Erkina Printers, and the parents of the children for their help. “I would also like to thank the Rathdowney Community Centre Committee for their huge help and co-operation,” Michael said. “I hope the panto will continue into the future for another 25 years. New directors are welcome to come forward with new ideas”.
Since its inception in 1986, Rathdowney panto has produced a number of well known shows, most of which were written by Michael and Niall. Cast members for the production come from Rathdowney, but also from the surrounding areas including Clough, Johnstown, Errill and Borris-in-Ossory.