The Crokey Hill Players
 

Author

Tommy Marren hails from Tourlestrane, County Sligo and is the author of The Banshee of Crokey Hill and It’s The Real McCoy which have both been performed by The Crokey Hill Players over the past number of years.

He was educated at Banada National School and Banada Abbey Secondary School – both located close to the town of Tubbercurry in County Sligo.

During this time Tommy got involved in local drama and was a member of the Banada Drama Group, the Phoenix Players in Tubbercurry and Charlestown Drama group throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. He featured in a series of plays including The Winslow Boy, Friends and Neighbours, Conversations on a Homecoming, The Word and The Flesh, Barbers Tale, The Outcasts of Poker Flat, The Year of the Hiker, See How They Run and The Bit of Land.

In 1985 he was a member of the cast and co-writer of a comedy sketch entitled Heaven Help Us which won an All-Ireland Senior Scor title for County Sligo in the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin.

His first stab at writing solo was in the early 1990’s when he penned an Irish 3-act comedy entitled Band of Gold which co-starred John Duggan, Graham Monaghan and Kenny Donagher.

Tommy followed this production up with another hilarious production called Do You Believe In Toothfairies and he also wrote a number of pantomimes including Cindy Eile and Pake and The Beanstalk which were performed in The Royal Theatre, Castlebar and the Abbey Centre, Ballyshannon. Cast members included International Singing Star Sandy Kelly and Irish Eurovision-star Marc Roberts.

In 2007 Tommy penned the play The Banshee of Crokey Hill which was his first major success as a playwright. The humorous, yet often haunting production is set in rural Ireland in the 1970’s and tells of the presence of a Banshee who will not rest easy until disaster strikes with Tommy playing the part of Michael McMahon. The play toured the entire West of Ireland as well as sell-out performances in Manchester, Birmingham, Boston, Chicago and New York over a two-year period of extensive touring.

In 2010 Tommy co-wrote the highly acclaimed drama/musical On A Wing and A Prayer in collaboration with Terry Reilly, the former Managing Director of The Western People. Tommy also directed and narrated the production which featured over 130 local actors and singers from Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon. The production was staged to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Monsignor James Horan – the man who built-up Knock Shrine and was the instigator of Ireland West Airport in Knock. On A Wing and A Prayer was performed at the Royal Theatre in Castlebar in 2010 and again in 2011 and raised in excess of €150,000 for Mayo/Roscommon Hospice Foundation.

It’s The Real McCoy is Tommy’s latest offering and was premiered at Claremorris Town Hall Theatre in County Mayo in January 2012. The play has been a huge success with sold-out venues across the country for practically every performance. The production has raised huge amounts of money for various charities and community organisations and has allowed the cast and crew the opportunity of touring both England and America.

The play is set in Ireland in the 1960’s and audiences have been enthralled by the comedy and story-line of this production that has been hailed as one of the funniest new Irish plays to tread the boards in recent years.

Tommy has worked in local radio for over 20 years and is currently Station Manager and main current-affairs presenter with Midwest Radio, the local radio station for County Mayo. He presents a morning current-affairs radio show from 9.00am to 11.00am (Monday to Friday). He is the recipient of numerous media awards for documentary productions and has twice been runner-up in the PPI Radio Awards Broadcaster of The Year category.

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