Musical time at St. Mary's Secondary School

Tuesday, 12th February, 2019 5:16pm

Musical time at St. Mary's Secondary School

The cast of ¡Mama Mia, Papa Mia! pictured on stage putting the final touches to their original show, which opens tomorrow (Wednesday) at St. Mary's SS, Ballina. Photo: Henry Wills

WITH almost 200 voices, talents and faces breathing life into a unique script, a custom-made set, and fully in-house led production, ¡Mama Mia, Papa Mia! is a show is not to be missed.

Presented by St. Mary's Secondary School, Ballina, expect a musical extravaganza to unfold before your very eyes.

It runs over three nights - including Valentine’s night (so bring the love of your life to dinner and follow it up with an afters of theatre) - at 8 p.m. from tomorrow (Wednesday) until Friday (February 15).

Secrets and surprises are at the heart of all good stories and if there is one thing St. Mary’s Secondary School is good at, it is bringing stories to life through music, song, drama and dance. Renowned for its history of memorable musicals spanning more than 35 years, the 2019 offering promises to be the best yet as an original script is brought to the stage by an 85-strong cast of transition year students ably assisted by the second year chorus line and first and fifth year choirs.

This magical tale of six friends - Laura, Tanya, Sarah, Mike, Tom and Bill - opens back in 1980 at the University College Galway graduation night. Fast forward a quarter of a century later and the leg warmers and retro perms are long gone.

The year 2005 sees a sophisticated Laura – now widowed – as the proprietor of a Spanish Taverna where she lives with daughter, Elena. Elena, wishing to mark her mother’s 20th year in business, invites her mom’s college girls Sarah, a teacher, and Tanya Tucker, a famous singer/actress, to celebrate the Spanish success – and, as a surprise, extends the invitation to Bill, Mike and Tom.

But the self-sufficient and at times stubborn Laura is not as happy as Elena imagined when she is greeted with an impromptu college reunion.

Running a hostelry is not the only success Laura has achieved – she has also managed to keep a very big secret from her former friends. But Laura is not alone, as it turns out that Tanya and Sarah have a few surprises of their own. Throw in Elena’s friends (one of whom is an intrepid reporter), a handful of Spanish playboys and Mark’s son Tom, and the plot thickens! This is a tale of life, love and real girl power!

Mama Mia! Papa Mia! is the latest in a very colourful tapestry of theatre carefully woven by the girls of St. Mary’s under the guidance of director and script-writer Mr. Peter McLoughlin, musical director Ms. Regina Deacy and choreographer Ms. Annette Leonard. The team also incorporates the talents of the art department, led by Ms. Renee Cronin, and the team of home economics teachers, spearheaded by Ms. Marie Clarke and Ms. Regina Hallahan, coordinating the costumes. With an extensive cast and crew behind the scenes from make-up to curtain call, this year’s show comes hot on the heels of the 2018 extravaganza, Billie.

The director, Mr. McLoughlin, said: “This is our 36th consecutive musical and celebrates universal themes such as life and love, and, significantly, the power of women, which is an essential part of the spirit of our school here at St. Mary’s. After months of preparation, we really are looking forward to taking to the stage.”

Principal Mr. Robert O’Reilly wished the cast and crew well in the upcoming shows, adding: “A production like this does not just happen overnight, and at St. Mary’s we are proud to write and produce an original script and a show which is completely produced in-house from script to set design to costumes and promotions.

“The staff and students really work together to make this a fantastic opportunity – and a memorable cross-curricular learning curve – for our transition year students. We extend a warm invitation to all to come to our school and get a taste of a really fantastic musical production.”

The curtain goes up at 8 p.m. nightly, with a raffle each evening. Sing and dance to the sound of Abba as brought to you by St. Mary’s from Wednesday to Friday this week. Tickets can be purchased through the box office ticket line on (087) 7773827. The cost for adults is €12 and for students/OAPs it's €8.

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