Variety group is back on the boards in Butlerstown

April 15th, 2017 11:51 AM

By Southern Star Team

Eileen Harrington, Cora Murphy and Elaine Sexton who are performing as part of Sing with a Swing at Butlerstown Community Hall, starting on Easter Sunday, April 16th. (Photo: Mar

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After a lapse of five years the Butlerstown Variety Group is treading the boards once more. The group’s new production, entitled Sing with a Swing, will open on Easter Sunday night next.  

Ever since the first show in 1978 and up until 2012 the group’s productions have proved hugely successful at the Community Hall in Butlerstown.

While Michael O’Brien was one of the main instigators for many years, his daughter Ann Marie had taken over as show principal more recently.

However, due to other commitments she was unable to give the show the dedication it required and deserved and so it lapsed – until now. 

Following initial discussions with her sister Evelyn (Fleming) and John Madden, the show has been re-born and it will now run for six nights from Easter Sunday.

‘There is never a theme to the show. We start with a blank page and then we have a format rather than a theme where we need a big opening number, a big closing number to the first half and the same for the second half. 

It’s the same this time around,’ said Ann Marie, who added, ‘In between we have sketches and a political satire from Michael.’ 

Between children, teenagers and adults, the show has a cast of around 100 – even more when you incorporate the backstage personnel and those looking after traffic and parking arrangements. Over the past few months rehearsals went from Tuesdays through to Fridays while Monday night was reserved for the sketches and there was also preparation on
Sunday afternoons. 

Now with little over a week to go everything is being finely tuned. The cast received a great boost when the costumes and full sound effects were all fused together as the show took its final shape recent days. 

Ann Marie remarked, ‘The commitment from the people of the community is absolutely fantastic. 

To think that they are coming out several nights a week and then for around four hours on a Sunday, they are so dedicated and I really appreciate that. It just wouldn’t be possible without that type of commitment and it’s all voluntary.’

Previous shows proved extremely popular with locals and visitors alike, with many of the latter making their way from all over county Cork.

Apart from a few seats, opening night is already booked out with Thursday, April 20th also proving popular. Those wishing to attend are urged to book as soon as possible on 087-3929917. 

So what can the audience expect from the new show? ‘After a lapse of five years this was massively challenging,’ said Ann Marie. ‘Initially we were stuck for ideas, it was too far to look back, but we also wanted to do something different.

 We always want to better ourselves and want something more spectacular than the last time.  At the very beginning we were very tough on ourselves – Evelyn, John and myself.

 Yes, it’s a really good standard of a variety show, a lot of work has gone into it, the sets are amazing, costumes are great – yes, it’s really good.’

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