Ballyshannon Musical Society traces its roots back to 1952 when a number of people gathered in Dorrian’s Imperial Hotel on the request of John Stephens to discuss the formation of a Musical Society in the town. The attendants were convinced to set up a cultural organisation devoted to music and thus began Ballyshannon’s love affair with music that continues today. The output of the organisation in the early years was in the form of a mixed voice choir that put on concerts in the Abbey Cinema as well as performing at many concerts and feiseanna throughout the area. With a view to providing more variety, the Society’s offering evolved to producing shows such as Gilbert and Sullivans “Trial by Jury” and “The Mikado” in 1962 and 1963 respectively, as well as the Society’s one and only Pantomime of “Little Red Riding Hood” in 1968.
Despite the society not having any productions from 1969-1973, the Society was rejuvenated in 1974 to produce “The Desert Song” in the O’Clery Hall in Rossnowlagh. Since then, the Society has produced yearly productions in the O’Clery Hall, the Mercy Hall and the Abbey Arts Centre which has been the venue of all of the Society’s productions since “Oklahoma!” in 1986. In the years that have followed, Ballyshannon Musical Society has served as a platform for many talented performers in the locality to exhibit their talents in a variety of productions including some classics such as “The Sound of Music”, “Oklahoma!”, “The King & I”, “Calamity Jane”, “Fiddler on The Roof” and “7 Brides for 7 Brothers”. In recent times, the society has undertaken some modern productions such as “Sister Act”, “The Addams Family” and “The Wedding Singer”.
Not only has the Society provided opportunities to perform but also opportunities for local musical directors, producers, choreographers, stage managers, and many other crucial roles in producing the energetic and entertaining shows that have become synonymous with the Society.
Today, Ballyshannon Musical Society continues to add another dimension to a community rich in activity on many other sporting, artistic and cultural fronts. The cast, production and committee members are drawn from Ballyshannon and many of our nearby towns and villages, crossing county borders into parts of Fermanagh, Leitrim and Sligo. The Society prides itself on not only being a vessel for promoting the Arts through Musical Theatre, but also an organisation that connects diverse individuals from a multitude of backgrounds, and one which always welcomes new people into all aspects of its productions.