Wednesday, 5 March 2014

'You Kiss Me, Cause I'm The King'.

Learning how to play poker can be tricky starting off, especially if you're young. The young characters of Danti-Dan are eager to learn how to play the game but with slightly different rules.

Tonight we head to the Abbey Hall and with three weeks to show-time this is when the hard work really starts. Nights and days will be long, but we sure it's all going to pay off, as if you want to be really good at cards you have to practice and hopefully win big.

So far everything has been going swimmingly but we made it our objective on this show to be well organised, work hard and deliver on a solid show. So far the first few weeks has been all about blocking, learning lines, delivery and putting shape on the show. Now it's time for the real work. When we completely rehearse and rehearse and get this as close to perfection as humanly possible. We also got a sneak peek at the set during the week and we can honestly say it may be the best set we ever put on stage with thanks to Nefarious Designs.

Well with three weeks to go, we are going to be throwing on our costumes and going for Danti-Dan hell for leather and with the cast & crew we have involved in this one we are pretty damn confident on delivering on a great piece of theatre. But like playing cards, if you want to win big, you practice....or cheat!

Now all that's left to do is for you to come see the show!!!

Danti-Dan runs in the Abbey Hall Graiguenamanagh Co Kilkenny from March 20th to 22nd. Doors 7:30, Show 8:00 p.m.

Tickets are 8 euro and can be booked via 0857191898.

It also runs for one night only on March 29th in the Watergate Theatre. Tickets are 10 euro and can be booked via

Note: Strong language and sexual references used throughout.

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Monday, 24 February 2014

RAWHIDE, Rehearsing Danti-Dan.

It's always nice to go behind the scenes. Be it on a big Hollywood blockbuster or when VH1 did Behind the music(Those were the days) or even if it's your local production company getting a play ready for the Abbey Hall stage.
We've been working on this comedy from writer Gina Moxley who we've been told is an absolute legend and from what we've seen in the script it's obvious she is. She also has fantastic taste in the tunes from the class soundtrack she picked out, which she herself described as fab.

Here's the full cast rehearsing the hell out of it, with a pic taken by our fab producer Shannon Keegan, also if you look closely you can see everyone's favorite sound man Gary McDonald. Fun fact if you are ever out with this man don't leave your shoes around him, cause he will use them as a musical instrument.
With Danti-Dan we have Spark regulars Thomas Drennan(Brownbread), Aine Ryan(Bittersweet Graffiti) and Adrian Kavanagh(Everything bar Bunny) who is also directing the piece and not writing this blog. But we also have two newcomers to the show in the cast by the names of Keleigh Drea, and yes it is with an 'E' and Sinead Hayes and yes she is adorable.
(Thomas as Dan & Sinead as Cactus)
From our last two shows we had been to Barrytown and we've been to Luton but this time we wanted something more rural and more closer to our home. Something we could recognize and have a lot of fun with at the same time, and Danti-Dan was perfect. As Gina Moxley saids 'Danti-Dan is set in the middle of nowhere but that nowhere is Cork'. Dialogue is obviously important but we were absolutely amazed how much more the show came to life when we started acting with our Cork accents, it really brought another level to the play, another level of comedy. Yea sure we could have set in Graig and said nothing, but who doesn't love Cork, right?

So the story is about a group of young teenagers in the summer in the 70's in rural Cork. And really that's all that needs to be said. But we can tell you this, they are promiscuous and they are at an age where they want to know all about the birds and the bees. All the while Dan who has a mental age of 8 just wants to head off to the Wild West and ride the range.

Danti Dan opens in the Abbey Hall on March 20th and runs for three nights. Tickets are 8 euro and can be booked via 0857191898.

Or if you fancy seeing the show in the Watergate on March 29th then booking can be done via and tickets are 10 Euro.

Note: Strong Language and Sexual References Used Throughout.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Project Y.E.S, Kicks off. YES!!!

Tomorrow we can say that Project Y.E.S really kicks off and we are very excited by this opportunity that we have been giving. January has been one hell of a month of meetings, emails, and generally getting organised for the coming months, that is going to be one hell of a roller-coaster ride.
So what is Project Y.E.S? 
Over one year ago, we began working with the Kilkenny Leader Partnership on Y.E.S(Youngsters on the European Stage Initiative) and the idea was that working with Leader and our friends over in Devious Theatre we would work on setting up the first rural theatre group in Kilkenny which is now known as Spark Youth Productions.
This project would be managed and delivered by two fine gents by the names of John Morton & Ken McGuire.

This project isn't just about us setting up a youth theatre this is about training and mentorship and further development of the work Spark Productions has been doing for over two years. We are not just here to entertain we believe, we are also here to help develop the arts in our fine home of Graiguenamangh.
Over the coming months there will be workshops in acting and technical theatre. There is no denying that Graiguenamangh and the surrounding areas is full of great talent and potential, all it needs is a platform, a platform which we are doing our best to provide.

The next show we will be hitting the stage with is a great comedy by Gina Moxley called Danti-Dan. A comedy about a group of teenagers in rural cork & learning about growing  up and the birds and the bees, Devious will be mentoring us on this, to help deliver what we hope/believe will be our best production yet.

Danti-Dan hits the Abbey Hall stage on March 20th to 22nd and then we return to our home away from home the Watergate Theatre in Kilkenny on March 29th. Danti-Dan sees veterans such as Aine Ryan, Thomas Drennan & Adrian Kavanagh return to the stage. We are also delighted to have newcomers Sinead Hayes & Keleigh Drea working on this production, they've brought some fresh air and some great cork accents to the show. We also have a great crew, with Shannon Keegan as the assistant producer, Maree Moloney on costumes and Aoife Jordan and Brian O'Neil on photography and of course Gary McDonald returns to work his magic on the sound.

All in all, it's a very exciting year and who know what may come out of it, and that's the most exciting part.

Tickets are 8 euro and can be booked by phoning 085-7191898 for Abbey Hall.
Tickets are 10 euro for the Watergate theatre and can be booked via 056-7761674.
Note: Strong language and sexual references used throughout.

Monday, 10 June 2013

We've Got Stage Fever. Finnish Style.

That's right we have got ourselves some mighty stage fever brewing up, but let us explain why.
Last week Spark Productions along with Devious Theatre and a member of the Kilkenny Leader Partnership hit the blue skies for Finland. 
Here we are outside a lovely cottage in KaanKanpaa.(L to R) Alison Allan, John Morton & Meself(Adrian Kavanagh)

But why go to Finland is the big question and what did we leave with?
The main part of our journey was to arrive in Kaankanpaa a small town with a population of about 12,000. 
It is in this town that Finland has a Festival called Rammpikuume(Meaning Stage Fever). This festival brings youth from all over Finland together to perform Theatre, Music and workshops together in this one small town and from what we have seen, it's a lot of fun.
The Festivals Logo.

We were there to fly the flag for Irish theatre discuss there festival and find out how we can contribute to this. That's right we are going international.
On the Wednesday, we were brought sight seeing in the morning before our meetings with the Festival peeps , Krista our point of contact for this whole thing, first brought us out to Jami Javi, a place full of wooden cottages, reindeer and the worlds first underground ski slope. We didn't get to do any skiing but it was cool to see.
Meself & John Morton flew the plane. A great bunch of lads.

That morning getting to see very much a lot of rural Finland we were impressed by it's beauty. Getting to talk to Krista during lunch I couldn't help but see how much their nature meant to them and how proud they were of it.
After the sight seeing we made our way to Kaankanpaa and then had a small bite in the local cafe until it was then time to go for our main meeting. 
Krista drove us out to a local hotel where members of the festival had arranged to meet us for some lunch.

After this it was on to where the Rammpikuume festival was held.
So they brought us back to school. The festival which will hit 18 years in April 2014 all takes place in the local secondary school, it was here we would really get the idea of how this project will work, what will be involved and what the end goal of this will be.

As we got in to business, we started getting logistically in to how feasible and how not so feasible some of the goals they wanted to achieve were. We have to remember that this is a transnational project after all. With this we have to take in to account language barriers.

So what are we to do?

The goal for the festival is for us Spark Productions return to Finland next April with a gang and perform a piece of theatre. This piece will also be performed based on the same brief with other countries such as Italy, Malta, Czech Republic & Bulgaria.
After that we hope to bring Finland over to Graig next summer and visit our rural town.

Project YES is a lot more than theatre travelling internationally. For us as a group it it giving us opportunities to build ourselves in ways that would not have been possible with out it.
We feel this project will not alone benefit us but also Graiguenamanagh too. As much as we are a theatre company who's main goal is to entertain we are also there to help benefit Graiguenamangh whatever way we can.
This project will take less than a year. We are excited to have Devious Theatre on board to mentor and help develop us as a company. This is the city reaching out with it's hand and bringing us along, to show us skills, and give us training that without Project YES would never have been possible, and we are truly delighted.

After the meeting, that evening we were brought to an amazing wooden log cabin. It was here that they served us some amazing food. We must say that there hospitality was amazing. We met volunteers who had been working with the festival for years & years and they couldn't help but tell us how happy they were to have us here. 

After the meal and some fine moose for dinner. It was time to say our goodbyes. There was hugs and gifts. We told them how forward we looked to returning and they were too.

On the Thursday we went sightseeing in Tampere, a city which was about an hour away from where we were staying. And what was that like, great. But what happens in Tampere stays in Tampere.

Over the coming months you will be hearing a lot more about Project YES and what we will be doing in Graig as part of the project.

For now we are delighted with this, and we hope you share our enthusiasm.

We've got stage fever. Finnish style.

Monday, 3 June 2013

To Kankaanpaa & Back Again.

In a couple of weeks Spark Productions will be hitting it's second birthday. That's right on July 1st we will be two years old. Don't be scared to send us an ole postcard. We are going to be that little bit older and hopefully that little bit smarter and wiser.

The very first Spark play. One For The Road which performed in the Duiske Inn in August 2011.

Well as we get that little bit older and we start to spread our wings and venture outside of Graig and build up our fanbase, opportunities start to come our way. Opportunities that are too big and too valuable to turn away.

This year is going to be a hugely exciting one for us. With bringing Brownbread to the Watergate Theatre(June 20th) and then on to the final night in St Michaels New Ross(June 28th), yes this is just one of the many things that we will be doing this year.

So what is Kankaanpaa you ask? Kankaanpaa is a lovely town situated outside Tampere in Finland. What has that got to do with us? Well read on friends!

It's many a time we are asked what we are up to and what's the next show going to be. Anyone who has done work with us will tell you how much we love keeping things secret, then BOOM we hit you with it.

This is going to be the biggest news we may ever possible deliver so here's the scoop.

Spark Productions are going to Finland!!!! Why?

This Is KanKaanpaa.

Well over the past few months, since the end of 2012, we have been working with the KIlkenny Leadership Partnership on a transnational project(very fancy, we know). This transnational project began in Finland and the programme is all about developing theatre in rural areas.

With this we are also proud to say that Graiguenamanagh will be the town representing Ireland in this project, with countries from all over Europe including Italy, Malta and Bulgaria.

The programme is called Y.E.S, standing for Youngsters on The European Stage. The main goal of this is for us to develop a new play and along with the other countries, present this new work next summer, along with the rest of them.

But that's not all.

This project has lots and we mean lots of other developing projects that come with it. That we are proud to say will not alone benefit us but also the town we are so proud to be from, Graiguenamanagh. We won't go in to details but, like, as we say keep some mystery until another time.

One thing we can say is that we will be working with another theatre company. They are legends in the southeast and are truly inspirations to us. Tomorrow John Morton of Devious Theatre in Kilkenny will be coming on the flight along with Alison Allan of KLP and Adrian Kavanagh of, well, Spark Productions.

John Morton(Right) with Ken McGuire drinking tae. #countrystyle

Devious Theatre have been going since 2006, bringing work that has never been seen in Kilkenny before and also developing exciting new & original writing. Show's such as Night Of The Living Dead, Trainspotting, Shifting and Bash to name but a few. They have really done an amazing job bringing new life along with a new audience to theatre in Kilkenny and a company that we can honestly say, without them, we would not exist.

Spark & Devious will be working together to help develop Spark Productions further and help us with the workload that will be taken place over the coming year & beyond. We are proud & delighted to have them on board.

Tomorrow will see us jet off to Finland to discuss with the other member countries our plans for the project, an ole meet & greet if you will. We will be wearing our sharpest suits and fancy shoes, and we hope to bring back lots of pics.

We will have more news soon, but for now that's the big scoop of the week.

All we can say is, we are unbelievably excited and we hope to do ourselves and Graiguenamanagh proud.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Here Comes The Sun.

All this good weather we are having this week is having us reminisce about our youth. T'was a simpler time, when kids could play wrestling on stacks of hay & cartoons where definitely a lot more craic.
And who could forget, Ray Darcy on the Den with Zig & Zag.

There he is now, having the craic, with herself.

Any who, one thing summer means is ice-cream. Ice cream in all shapes and sizes. Today we are going to show you some of our very own favorite ice creams.
We'll start off with a nice simple one.

Money wasn't as ramp-id in the 90's, as it was in Celtic tiger times. But back in the day for a whole tence pence you could get one of these bad boys. Hell for a fifty pence coin you could grab five of them and suck away to your hearts delight. Leaving you with a rainbow of colour around your lips.

Next up we have the classic loop de loop.

We haven't seen one of these in years. The cover used to have some mad lad on an airplane going loop de loop as it were. If you didn't feel like a Mr Freeze then 25p would have you sorted, you'd also get a little bit of chocolate.

That yeti sure did know how to enjoy his ice cream. The iceberger was a bit more upper class, but not as fancy as the magnum, so it still gave you street cred. The only thing about the iceberger was that if it was one of those really hot days & we mean really hot, you'd be licking the sides of it as soon as you opened the thing. Ice cream should be something you can just sit back and enjoy, not worry about get sticky hands.

Of course then there was this beast.

The Magnum was the king of ice creams. Priced somewhere between 1 pound and a mortgage , if you were eating one of these as a kid, you were loaded. Most often than not you would only get this on a very special day, such as your birthday or for being exceptionally good at Mass.

The true kind though surely has to be the classic 99.

It's popularity is undeniable, if ice cream was music it would be Michael Jackson.
There was nothing like a day at tramore and a few 99's with the flakes, to make you feel that you had succeeded in life.
The 99 is full proof that the classic is best

You may ask way all this talk of ice cream?

Well you will find that answer out, very soon.


Don't forget to follow us on twitter @sparkstheatre

And follow us on Facebook at Spark Productions.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

brownbread For All, And All For Brownbread.

We are just two weeks off to the start of June and the summer madness is surely to heat up then. But speaking of heat, let's talk Brownbread. See what we did there? Brownbread, heat, oven? You get it.
Anywho, Brownbread first hit the stage in December 2012 in Graiguenamnagh Abbey Hall.

The show has been without doubt been our biggest success to date. Why? Well a number of reasons, we suppose. The promo, the name value of Roddy Doyle, the fan base we have built to date with our first two show's One For The Road & Bittersweet Graffiti. But we believe the biggest reason was the cast.

Edel Bolger as Mrs Murray.

Our first two show's dealt with people in their late teens and early adulthood years. It was just to right time to mix things up of instead of opting for another romantic teen comedy. The problem though was that we felt that whatever show we did it had to center on young people. Brownbread was perfect. It was three young lads with a host of other characters all of different ages. It was chance to get some of the Duiske Players back on stage and also bring in some new faces that had yet to be seen. One's which we are sure we will work with again in other productions.

David Behan as Lt. Bukowski

A few weeks ago an article was posted online about Steven Soderbergh and his retirement. In the article he talked of how art is supposed to be in the moment, and that's how we feel about Brownbread. It was fresh( No puns intended) and something not only the cast & crew got excited about but also the entire community of Graiguenamanagh. Now that is art, and that is why, like One For The Road, Brownbread will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Jim Kielty & Jackie Douglas as Mr & Mrs Farrell

The challenge for us here at Spark Productions is to broaden our audience, to enter a stage we have never been before and have people there to watch our show and be entertained.
How can you help you may ask? Simple. If you have seen the show in the Abbey Hall, then tell everyone you know about it. Share and like our page or even this blog.
Just like the people who bought tickets and all our fans out there who got behind us for all our show's to date, you can also get behind us by not just buying a tickets but also just spreading the word.

This should be Brownbread for all!

Now that is the business.


Brownbread is set to hit the Watergate theatre stage on June 20th and then on to St Michaels in New Ross on June 28th. Tickets are 10 euro for each show.

The tickets are available to buy at or

Note: Strong language used throughout.