Curtain to go up on ‘The Man Who Came to Dinner’

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The curtain will go up on the 2014 Portadown Drama Festival in Portadown Town Hall Theatre on Tuesday March 11.

The opening play will be ‘The Man who Came to Dinner’ performed by Rosemary Drama Group from Belfast.

This year’s festival will be adjudicated each night by the highly esteemed Walker Ewart.

Mr Ewart was a teacher of French and Spanish for 23 years and retired recently from working as a schools’ inspector. He was awarded the OBE for ‘services to education’ in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List.

His first taste of the stage was at the age of 14 in the role of Sir Oliver Surface in ‘School for Scandal’ and from then on he was smitten by drama. At university, and during his year in France, he took the opportunity to act in French and Spanish.

He has been involved with the amateur drama circuit for over 30 years as a director and actor, as well as an administrator.

He was chairman of the Association of Ulster Drama Festivals. He appeared in several AUDF finals in the Grand Opera House and the Lyric Theatre, Belfast most notably as Torvald in ‘A Doll’s House’ with Bangor Drama Club (also in Athlone).

He also appeared in ‘The Gentle Island’ with Bangor (this play later went to Florida), ‘Observe the Sons of Ulster …’ (winners) with Bangor and ‘ Amadeus’ (winners) with Holywood Players (also in Athlone).

Walker has worked with several drama groups throughout Ireland and enjoys the vocal work and the exploration of character.

He has adjudicated throughout Ireland and in Scotland, most notably at the All-Ireland Full-length Finals in Athlone in 2008, the All-Ireland One-Act Finals in Ennis in 2003; the All-Ireland Full-length Confined Finals in Tralee in 2005, the Northern Ireland One-Act Finals in 2006, the British One-Act Finals in Enniskillen in 2009 and the Scottish Community Drama finals in Inverness in May 2011.

In 2012, he adjudicated the 60th anniversary Newry Drama Festival, the All-Ireland Full-length Confined Finals in Shercock, Co Cavan and the All-Ireland One-Act Finals in Ballyduff. Last year he officiated at the Ulster Drama Finals.

Walker is delighted to be officiating at Portadown Drama Festival, at which in the past he has appeared both as an actor and a director. He is looking forward to meeting old friends and hopefully making some new ones.