The Leas Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Councillor Deirdre Healy McGowan welcomed the Coolera Dramatic Society to County Hall to honour their thirty years as one of the country’s most successful and popular drama groups. In her address the Leas Cathaoirleach said that ‘If ever there was a group of people dear to my heart, it is the dedicated men and women who soldiered over the years with the society, who worked with passion, pride and commitment, and in so doing, are held in the highest esteem by their many supporters and admirers. It seems like only yesterday that the Coolera Dramatic Society formed as a Community Drama Company - and ‘community’ is the key word, as there is scarcely a household in the Coolera/Strandhill peninsula that wasn’t involved in some shape or form over the years in helping out at one of their many productions.’
- Back Row Left to Right - Councillors Seamus Kilgannon, Sean MacManus, Jim McGarry, Tony McLoughlin & Declan Bree F/R L/R - Cllr. Imelda Henry, Catherine Devaney, Chair Coolera Dramatic Society, Leas-Cathaoirleach Cllr. Deirdre Healy McGowan & Bobby Jones, President Coolera Dramatic Society
Councillor Healy McGowan added that ‘from Sligo County Council’s perspective, we will always aim to support local communities that contribute so much to promoting Sligo’s reputation as a county steeped in culture. This society has been a gift for the people of Sligo and the Northwest, and I know they will continue to bestow this gift on a very grateful community for many years to come.’
Catherine Devaney, chairperson of Coolera Dramatic Society thanked Councillor Healy McGowan and Sligo County Council for affording this honour to Coolera Dramatic Society. She looked back to the very first pantomime which was held in 1979. This was the ‘Year of the Child’ and with this theme in mind original member Maureen Carroll had the idea of hosting a pantomime. Since then they have produced 30 pantomimes which have been attended by thousands of people over the years and tickets are regularly sold out for this annual event.
Mrs Devaney talked about all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes every year with preparations for the Christmas pantomime beginning as early as April, making special mention of the honorary secretary, Geraldine McHugh and treasurer, June Harte who have worked tirelessly over the past 30 years. She thanked all the singers and dancers, especially the young people who make up ‘the backbone of the show.’
The society also recognised the support of local businesses through their sponsorship down through the years and also that of the Hawk’s Well Theatre which has housed the pantomime since 1982. Mrs Devaney ended with a quote which the Coolera Dramatic Society felt reflected their impact on the community, ‘People will not always remember what you said. People will not always remember what you did. But people will always remember how you made them feel.’
- Coolera Dramatic Society with Leas Cathaoirleach Cllr. D. Healy McGowan and elected members at reception in the Council Chamber