The Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society Celebrate 100 Years of Musical Theatre
The show must go on … and it did, even through 1916 and two World Wars!
2013 marks the Centenary year for The Rathmines and Rathgar (R&R) Musical Society and promises to be a great year of celebration. Founded in 1913 the R&R has performed 293 musicals featuring over 4,000 people on stage in over 20 official venues.
The musical society has proudly produced two and sometimes three shows every year in professional Dublin theatres since 1913; and is the only musical society in the world that can boast of 100 years of continuous and unbroken performance! In 2013 the R&R will celebrate with a yearlong programme of events to showcase 100 years of musical theatre.
When the curtain was first raised for Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado in 1913, a turbulent phase of Irish and world history, the R&R proceeded to stage musicals through The General Strike and Lockout of 1913, World War 1, The Easter Rising of 1916, The War of Independence, The Civil War, The Economic War, World War 2, numerous recessions and depressions; and this current time of austerity. Despite these circumstances, the Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society remains at the pinnacle of musical theatre in Dublin City, with performances today staged in the National Concert Hall and The Gaiety Theatre.
Jimmy Dixon, a member of the R&R for 35 years and spokesperson for the Centenary Year explains the longevity of success the society has enjoyed; “Whatever the members thought or did in their personal lives, the outside world did not intrude into the Committee Rooms or the Rehearsal Rooms. Succeeding generations have applied themselves diligently to their performances year after year. The society is completely voluntary; everyone on stage and behind the scenes gives their time and endless energy at no cost. We do this because we love musicals and we love the culture that has been developed over the past 100 years in the R&R. We are like one very big family!”
Gay Byrne has been a long standing supporter and fan of the R&R attending many shows with his family. He was in attendance at the Mansion House to lend his support to the centenary launch. “I have fond memories of attending many R&R shows down through the years. The R&R always put on a polished and professional show and I am delighted to support them in their 100 th year and hope that the Society survives another 100 years and more”.
Jimmy Dixon continued “We have a lot of events and performances planned to mark the Centenary year. On our callboard is a Gathering Event for all past and present members in February, a two week run of Hello Dolly in the Spring with Rebecca Storm and we are also launching a book on the society in the Autumn which will chronicle the past 100 years.”
“The R&R has sponsored the Gilbert & Sullivan Cup at the Feis Ceoil since 1921 and will proudly do so again this year. We are also hosting a Memorabilia Exhibition in December which will showcase every programme for the past 100 years, a number of costumes and photographs and film taken over that period. So many people’s lives have been touched by the R&R and it will be a great opportunity for family members to drop in and see old photos of family members past and present on the stage or in programmes.”
2013 promises to be an exciting year of musical theatre and celebration for the Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society. Celebrations are officially underway following today’s launch of the Centenary Year at the Mansion House, Dublin. To keep up to date with the R&R Centenary celebrations see www.randr.ie
For further information:
Rathmines & Rathgar Musical Society
+353 87 795 7717
+353 87 755 3078
Further Information about the R&R:
In 1989 Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Seán Haughey, buried a time capsule in North Earl Street; the capsule
contains the R&R 75th Anniversary Record and other material relevant to the Society’s activities,
together with a covering memorandum setting out the history of the Society and its’ contribution to
the cultural life of the city.
22nd April 1914 the R&R gave a Concert in the Town Hall Rathmines. One of the performers was
Owen Lloyd, a noted harpist (whose son Edwin was the first Chairman of the R&R). Owen taught
the harp at Pearse’s school, St Enda’s and it is possible that Mr Pearse came along to support his
Brian Hayes TD appeared in the 1998 production of “Fiddler on the Roof”.
Count Casimir Markieviez took part in the 1914 production of “Yeomen of the Guard” at the Gaiety
theatre. He rang the bell in the funeral scene finale Act 1.
There is a strong family tradition in the R&R – now into its third generation, for example Louise
Studley the R&R’s standout leading lady, her daughter Melanie Ryan and granddaughter Rebecca
Winckworth are all currently involved in shows.
The Society has performed in the following Dublin theatres: Queens, Gaiety, Olympia and National
Concert Hall. It has also performed in “venues” like the John Player Theatre, RDS, US Embassy,
Kildare Street Club, Pillar Room Rotunda, Rathmines Town Hall, R&R Hall Rathmines, various Golf
Clubs, Churches and Carol Singing on the Street. The R&R has also performed outside of Dublin in
Carlow, Dundalk , Mullingar, Kilkenny; and outside of Ireland, in London (by invitation) in the Royal
Albert Hall and in Belarus (Chernobyl)
Famous alumni – who went on to the professional stage – include
o Frank Fay and Ria Mooney (Abbey theatre)
o David Kelly
o Jack MacGowran
o T.P McKenna
o Terry Wogan