BArry Norman set for Portlaoise

THE Dunamaise Arts Centre has a packed schedule this weekend, with theatre, films and drama from talented young people from two drama schools.

THE Dunamaise Arts Centre has a packed schedule this weekend, with theatre, films and drama from talented young people from two drama schools.

Friday March 30 sees a very well known face visit the Dunamaise. Known to millions as an outstanding film critic, Barry Norman ruled film criticism for a generation. From 1972 to 1998, he ruled the British TV airways with his unique Film… series on BBC. Barry will visit Ireland for the first time in a very special presentation where he will show extracts from his all time favourite films.

The list is an eclectic one and Barry will talk about the merits of each film and the stars who worked on them; along with some fascinating anecdotes and insights into the movie industry. Barry’s list includes all time greats like Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, and The Godfather as well as a few surprises

Shoot the Crow takes place in the theatre tomorrow evening, Thursday March 29.

Ding Ding, Randolph, Socrates and Petesy are four tilers working on a Belfast building dreaming of better things. There’s an opportunity to make a few bob on the sly, but not all of them can commit the same petty crime. This acclaimed comedy was first produced at Druid in Galway in the mid 1990s has gone on to be presented around the world from the West End to Tokyo.

This is the first chance for Laois audiences to get to see this hilarious and moving homage to the working man and to experience the work of the Belfast playwright Owen McCafferty, whose work is not as well known down south as perhaps it should be.

The Harney School of Speech and Drama will be bringing their performance to the centre on Saturday March 31. A wedding, a wake and a crime in Rhyme land are just some of the strange happenings in this years showcase. Throw super heroes, talking animals, royal thieves and ruthless pirates into the mix and the audience is guaranteed a day of surprises and laughter. There are three separate shows taking place with different scripts. The 12.30 show will feature The Great Escape, Fortune Seekers and The Wake; the 4pm show will feature Would you Believe. Rhyme Land, Crime Land and Town Mouse Country Mouse; and the 7.30 show will feature What has happened to Fairytales, Smugglers Cove and The Wedding.

The Ceiltis School of Speech and Drama will be performing on Sunday April 1. The students from Mountmellick, Monasterevin and Portarlington centres will entertain all with their end of year performance which will include short plays, duologues, solo drama, poetry, mime, song, music and dance. The auidence will see the antics of Chicken Licken and his friends, they will find out what happens when Pandora opens the box and Wally and Wayne are up to all kinds of tricks when they take on different jobs as well as many more.

As well as all this, there will be a special concert taking place in St Peter’s Church of Ireland featuring the Irish Youth Chamber Choir. In the thirty years since IYC first came together, its members have gone on to form the backbone of musical life in this country and beyond as conductors, choir founders, singers, teachers and musicians. To find out about any of these shows or to book tickets, contact the box office at 057 86 63355.