Best known for the association with playwright Jim Nolan,, Red Kettle premiered many of his plays in Waterford beginning with The Gods are Angry, Miss Kerr. It was encouraging to the whole scene that while other writers left for the groves of academia, Nolan chose to stay and write and produce in his native city. Together he and Red Kettle made Waterford a beacon for what could be achieved by a regional theatre company on relatively low subsidies. At the same time the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera attracted many overseas visitors and the Theatre Royal was packed for a fortnight of musical theatre and operetta. Quite how that festival slipped away in 2012 without any gloomy pronouncement, I can't fathom given that every small town has an active musical society.
|Nial Tobín in Red Kettle The Salvage Shop|
'The magic is gone' said Liam Murphy, arts and theatre critic of Thye Munster Express on Morning Ireland when the news broke and the tone was mournful, not quite on the scale of the announcement of the closure of the Glass Factory but no less symbolic. Coming in the same year as the death of Bryan Flynn, extraordinary man of theatre, whose original musical Pentimenti was premiered by the company it has been a grim time for Waterford arts.
|1999 poster Light Opera Fest|
' it seems disproportionate that the arts council can put 1/4 million into 5/6 nights and only 11k into ten days of 80 events including some original events at the Imagine Festival.
The most bitter commentry is in this week's Phoenix column in the News &Star which gives a sense of the alienation felt by those involved in Waterford arts scene ''We can but look (again) and marvel at the success (and €3 million support for Galway and it's notion of being a centre for the arts. pause for a while and consider the €6 million thrown without demur at Limerick City of Culture and suggest for the umpteenth time that WE ARE NOT BEING HEARD'
On a positive note, the Waterford Youth Arts under artistic director Ollie Breslin, mounted an impressive production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible at Garter Lane Arts Centre. There were some remarkable performances particularly from the male cast and a terrific set from Dermot Quinn. The launch of a new musical society augurs well for the future.