St. Mary’s Choral Society Clonmel 2014

St. Mary’s Choral Society Clonmel proudly presents it’s 113th production ” Fiddler on the Roof” and what an amazing performance it was. The following  clip is a snippet from the

Musicals Clonmel, Tipperary
Musicals Clonmel, Tipperary

video which was filmed and produced by Drangan Video, once again it was  an honor  to have been asked to record this truly amazing production.

I have been working with St. Mary’s Choral Society for more than 5 years now, they stage two shows/musicals every year and this in itself is a rare achievement for any musical/choral society. ” Fiddler on the Roof” was the 2014 spring production I am already looking forward to another production in November,  recording shows and musicals in Tipperary is one part of my job that I really enjoy, I love the whole theater experience and after recording many of the same famous musicals maybe twice in the one year, each production is different and always highly entertaining.

Fiddler on the Roof
Fiddler on the Roof

Theatre has been growing increasingly popular in recent years. A once exclusive, upper class activity now attracts people from all walks of life. OnePoll’s latest research polled 1000 UK theatre-goers to find out why.

Of the people polled, almost half said they go because they like the actual show they’re seeing (48.4%) with the lowest amount going because they want to work in the theatre industry (3.6%).

Research also showed some generational differences in theatre-going. Over 55s are mostly attracted to the show itself (62.25%) whereas 18-24s prefer to go just to socialize (29%). Other popular reasons to go to the theatre included the person/ star in the show (13.1%) and to heighten cultural awareness (8.9%).

London unsurprisingly had the highest average amount people spend on a ticket at £35.85, no doubt because it’s the home of the west end’s ‘Theatre-land’ and are also the most likely region to go to the theatre to socialize and have fun (21.63%).

Respondents were also asked to detail what it is they like about going to the theatre. A huge amount of people described going for the entertainment value or to escape from the real world and see things through other people’s perspectives:

Clonmel Theatre
Clonmel Theatre

Fiddler on the Roof    features music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. The show is set in Tsarist Russia in 1905 and is based on the story of Tevye the Milkman by Sholem Aleichem. The story follows father of 5 Tevye as he tries to uphold tradition in an ever changing political and social landscape. During a period of change for Russian Jews, the family learn to cope with the decline of Tsarist Russia and the tough laws enforced on the family and the village of Anatevka. The musical is extremely popular all over the world, and was the first Broadway show to play for over 3000 performances. The original production ran for almost 10 years. Numerous revivals and a film adaptation keep introducing the show to new audiences.

The White Memorial Theatre Clonmel, Tipperary :  

The provision of a suitable residence for the society to use as a rehearsal space incorporating a performance area had, for many years been an ambition and so the merging of these two ideas seemed  a logical step to take when a dilapidated but historic building came up for sale in Wolfe Tone Street. Known as the Forrester’s Hall, it had been used as a paper store by The Nationalist Newspaper and had previously been a dance hall, a meeting house and a food house for the poor.

The building was originally a Wesleyan/Methodist Chapel.  It was designed and built in 1843 by William Tinsley at a cost of £600, half of which was raised locally. The chapel replaced one built by Thomas Tinsley, father of William. It is Greek revival style and the facade is framed with corner pilasters supporting a plain pediment.  It is crowned at the apex and the corners with palmettos. This decorative stonework also appears on the County Museum and on the porch at Knocklofty House.  The chapel earned the accolade of ‘the most beautiful chapel in methodism’ for the splendour of its modified Greek temple style.

With very little financial resources, but with much energy and enthusiasm, St. Mary’s Choral Society acquired this old place of worship and transformed it into a charming 220 seat theatre where the curtain opened for the first time in November 1975.  The opening production in the newly named James A. White Memorial Theatre was Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore. The dream had become a reality- the White Memorial Theatre stands proudly today in the heart of old Clonmel, a living reminder of one of its most illustrious sons.

Since opening its doors in November 1975, the White Memorial Theatre has proved its versatility and showed its vital position within the community. The years have seen numerous organisations using the facilities of the theatre which is arguably the theatrical and cultural centre of South Tipperary.  In addition to the society’s two annual productions, On Your Toes Dance Academy, Stagecraft Youth Drama, Clonmel Theatre Guild, Open House Players are just a few of the local groups that use the theatre as the venue for their  productions each year.  The C.B.S. High School/Presentation Secondary School annual production, the Clonmel National Song Contest and Clonmel’s Got Talent are also staged in the White annually.

 A brief history of Clonmel :  Clonmel (Irish: Cluain Meala meaning the meadow of honey) is situated in County Tipperary, Ireland and is the county town for the South Riding of County Tipperary. It lies in a valley surrounded by several mountains and hills. The Comeragh Mountains are to the south, while east of the town is Slievenamon (Irish for the hill of the women). The River Suir flows through Clonmel on its way to the sea at Waterford harbour.
Clonmel was built up significantly in medieval times and many remnants of this past can be found in the town itself. The town was once completely walled and a good section still remains and can be easily seen at Old St. Mary’s Church in Mary Street. One of the former entry points to the town is now the site of the ‘West gate’, a 19th century construction. Oliver Cromwell, who is infamous in Ireland but respected in Britain, laid siege to the town in 1650. The walls were eventually breached, but not without heavy losses on Cromwell’s side.
Theatre  is still alive and thriving in Tipperary and long may it live.
Thanks for taking the time to read my latest blog post.  and if you have a moment please join Drangan Video on Facebook for all the latest Wedding  News In Tipperary
Regards Eamon
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