Some of the Time After Time cast. From left: presenters Jenna (Bethany Burke) and Frankie (Aoife Sherry) pictured alongside championship singers The Diamonds (Kate Heffernan and Faith Langdon), Scarlet (Tara Cafferty) and The Sparkles (Sophie Clarke, Ciara O’Boyle). Photo: John O'Grady

Time After Time is Mayo school's golden anniversary musical special

The final touches are being put to the St. Mary’s Secondary School 50th anniversary musical special, Time After Time.

With over 90 transition year students in the Ballina school taking to the stage in a fully in-house-led production, this show – taking place on Thursday and Friday (February 8 and 9) – is not to be missed.

This year’s musical features sing-along classics and spectacular dance, all brought together by an original script, marking 50 years since St. Mary’s students first tread the boards with the 1974 production, Zurika, under the expert eye of Mother Benedict.

In 1984, then-Principal Sr. Attracta directed students in Joseph, commencing an unbroken 40 years of musical theatre at the school.

This year, the show is a story of determination, dance and a little romance! St. Mary’s invites you to come along and meet Fran, a student in Shirley’s School of Dance, but after two years without a dance partner, and thus little chance of progression, she fears she will be a beginner forever.

Fran can only watch in admiration at the school’s rising star. Dancing since he was six years old, Scott is destined for all the sparkle, sequins and silverware of competitive ballroom dancing. On the outside, Scott has it all. But inside, he is torn between his own dancing dream and the rules laid down by the ballroom federation.

Add in outspoken Shirley, downtrodden Doug, and the forceful duo of Barry and Les, and drama – as well as dance – ensues. Will Scott dare to dream or will fear flash its red light?

Fran sees Scott’s strength and his struggle, but she remains invisible to him. Can she find a way to escape her own restricted reality and make him realise they are not so different after all?

This tale is not just about glamour and gloss, fringes and feathers. Time After Time is the story of determination, dedication and defying the odds – and a reminder to dance away the fears that threaten to grip us all.

Sing along to classics such as 'I’m So Excited', '9 to 5' and 'River Deep Mountain High' to the more contemporary 'A Thousand Years' and 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' – not to mention the Cyndi Lauper classic title number.

Taking time out of rehearsals, choreographer Annette Leonard said: “This show is very special. It is a story of a young girl who wants to become a leading lady in her own life and she has a lesson to teach us all.

“Like dance for Fran, musical is transformative for our students. It is a huge production and is the most ambitious yet in terms of dance, music and drama. The students are sensational and have worked so hard since September; they really are fantastic!”

Annette is ably assisted by Sharon Cullinane in the choreography department as well as acting directors Sinead Leonard and Anna Marie Henry. The team also incorporates the talents of the home economics and art departments, as well as an extensive backstage crew of staff and students.


A musical would be nothing without melody and song, and musical director Regina Deacy noted: “This year, the music is very uplifting and the sound is truly unique, with transition years supported by the second year chorus line and fifth year choir. We have plenty of classics as well as a few surprises, which will have you singing along and maybe even dancing in the aisles!”

The musical director is supported by Simon Costello on the chorus line.

Principal Robert O'Reilly stated: “As always, staff and students have come together to write, plan, produce and showcase this year's musical, which really is a highlight in our school year. This year is extremely special as it is half a century since the very first musical production.

“When Mother Benedict showcased Zurika in 1974 to mark the opening of the assembly hall, could she ever have imagined the rich legacy of her decision? Five decades on, and in a brand-new school, our St. Mary’s story continues and musical theatre is a tradition we are so proud to carry on.”

Mr. O'Reilly added: “Shows like this don't happen overnight. The final production is the result of months of hard work and dedication by staff and students, spearheaded by our current TY cohort. It is a credit to all involved.”

The 2024 musical Time After Time takes place in the school hall, with the performance starting at 7.30 p.m. nightly. There will be a raffle each night. Tickets can be purchased through the box office ticket line on (096) 70333. The cost for adults is €12 and for students and OAPs it's €8. Friday is sold out but there is limited availability for Thursday evening's show.

The Hastings family - dance fanatics. From left: Kylie (Norah Tuohy), Doug (Megan Loughran), Shirley (Síofra Fielding) and Scott (Rachel Bourke). Photo: John O'Grady
Music in the streets! From left: Fran (Ava Golden), Scott (Rachel Bourke), The Belles (Kellie Moran and Edel Sherry), Crystal (Olivia Kenny), Shirley (Síofra Fielding) and Doug (Megan Loughran). Photo: John O'Grady
President Barry Fife (Abigail Adamson Beattie) pictured centre with his Dance Federation Board members Les Kendall (Gráinne Martin), Ken Railings (Saoirse McGowan Keating), Merv (Sinead Murray) and Terry (Niamh Walsh). Photo: John O'Grady
Wayne (Caoilfhionn Tighe) and Vanessa (Aimee Bailey) want to become dance champs. Photo: John O'Grady
The full transition year cast of Time After Time – the 50th anniversary special musical proudly presented by St. Mary’s Secondary School, Ballina, this Thursday and Friday. Photo: John O'Grady