The Marian College Drama & Musical Society – Celebrating 50 Years!

By Ray Ryan

Showtime in Marian College, Sandymount, is almost upon us again and excitement is mounting as opening night fast approaches. This year’s show is the ever-popular musical, The Addams Family, which will run from Wednesday December 13th to Friday 15th incl. at 7.30 each night.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Marian College drama society, and it’s still going strong, in spite of a two-year gap because of Covid.

Marian College

In 1973, Dominic McQuillan, a young teacher, started the ball rolling by founding a drama society; one of the early shows was The Playboy of the Western World, featuring 6th year student Bernard Lynch in the title role. Bernard later returned to the college to teach French, and soon got involved in the shows. Though now retired from teaching, Bernard is back as director of this year’s show. One of those helping out is Ben Breslin, now a student teacher in the college; Ben played the character of Pugsley (the Addams’ son) back in 2015 when The Addams family was first produced in Marian. 

Going way back to 1975-6, the society presented its first musical, Oliver!, which was a huge success, and a photo is attached of a scene from that show. The photo features Maureen Dorgan as Nancy, Dermot Davis as Fagin, Jennifer McCarthney as Bet, some of the thieves’ chorus, Bríd Grant on the violin, and yours truly as conductor (I have to admit that my hair colouring has changed a bit since then!) Over the years the society has presented most of the classic musicals, such as Oklahoma, Guys & Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, etc. etc., as well as many of the more modern shows like Hairspray, Back to the 80s, Grease, etc. Probably the most successful of all was Les Miserables in 2008, which merited standing ovations every night!

Oliver finale, Feb.1976

Many of the students who performed in those musicals continued their involvement in theatre in later years; some examples include David Bolger, now an internationally renowned choreographer, Matthew and Owen Ennis, making a name for themselves on the Country Music scene, Gerry Kane, a well-known actor in the Waterford area, Declan Hughes, playwright and co-founder of Rough Magic Theatre company, Audrey Kane, leading lady with many Dublin musical societies, Paul O’Neill, professional lighting expert, Dara Carolan, highly respected adjudicator with the Drama League of Ireland, Lisa Caulfied, well known in the Ringsend, Irishtown and Sandymount areas for her stage school, and many others. 

Tribute must be paid also to all the teachers, parents and other adults who gave so much of their expertise and time to making the shows the successes that they were; these include Rita Kealy, Marie Barber, David Kelly, Kevin Kelly, May Costello, Bro. Kevin McGarry, Tommy Ebbs, Peter O’Donoghue, Una McCarthy, Gráinne McCarthy, Tara Fahey, Laura Bermingham, and so many more, not forgetting the many stalwarts who did invaluable front-of-house duties. Tribute must also be paid to the many girls from St Marys Haddington Rd. and Muckross Park who graced the stage over the years. We look forward to greeting you all in Marian College from the 13th -15th December, as you come to be entertained (and spooked!) by The Addams Family

For bookings you can phone the college (01-6684036) during school hours, or text/WhatsApp Ray at 087-9195012.