The Red Kettle Theatre company has brought great credit to Waterford and entertained Waterford and national audiences for 25 years. This has been a tremendous success story for Waterford. The city has always had a great theatrical tradition and now this has been magnified by Red Kettle and directors and writers like Jim Nolan, Ben Hennessey and the late Jim Daly.
Last Sunday, in the Theatre Royal, there was a special celebration with scenes from some of its major shows such as The Salvage Shop starring Niall Toibin, an actor now in his elderly years but still creating great acting.
Pat Moylan, chairperson of the Arts Council, complimented Red Kettle on its strengths and successes over the years. They also showed great staying power in keeping going.
Jim Nolan, one of the company’s leading writers showed tremendous dedication putting in long hours writing a new play, often in solitude. He also engaged in major research, whether in Ireland, Dublin or London and the fruits of his labour were brilliantly brought to the stage and the Waterford audience.
Pat Moylan praised his talent and that of the theatre company which does gets Arts Funding but, as with many, could also do with more from time to time. At a time of cutbacks, they hopefully will be spared the scalpel.
Well done also to TV Honan for his great publicity work. Both TV, Jim and Ben Hennessy were the back bone of the group, aided by many actors from Waterford as well as guest artists from all around Ireland.
The late Anna Manahan was another great actress associated with them. She never got to see the new Theatre Royal but an excerpt of her show with Brendan Cauldwell was shown on film.
Red Kettle has had many friends over the years and in these tough times this will have to be maintained. If actors and time is available perhaps some more of the old shows could be performed again like Kings of the Kilburn Road, a story of emigration that has great resonance today or The Gods are Angry Miss Kerr about changing Waterford.
The new Jim Nolan Play, Brighton, currently running in Garter Lane is well worth seeing and reinforces the very high standard that Red Kettle achieves in its productions. May they have continued success and many more great nights in Waterford.
It was fitting, perhaps, that the last scene on Sunday night’s 25th anniversary production should feature up and coming actors. Alex Browne and Holly Brown, not related, performed in a romantic William Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet.
Alex is grandson of our late, lamented theatre critic and soccer writer, Michael Browne. A great old friend, he would have enjoyed such an event. Waterford, despite its woes at present, still has a fantastic theatre tradition and needs to build on this. It can be part of our cultural tourism heritage that will lift the city in the years ahead.