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Irish Arts nabs theater festival award

After participating in the Acting Irish International Theatre Festival for the last 13 years, Milwaukee Irish Arts has come out the big winner. The festival, which was held in Toronto May 30 through June 3, declared Irish Arts' "An Irish Play" written by Dan O'Brien 2006's "Outstanding Production."

The show follows a group of amateur actors in Cork City, Ireland reading a new play by an American playwright. The company finds itself immersed in rivalries and spilling secrets instead. "An Irish Play" ran at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave., April 28 through May 13 before heading to Toronto for a special performance on June 1.

This year, Milwaukee Irish Arts had been nominated for four of the festival's five awards: best production, best female actor (Sarah Mankowski), best male actor (Keith Tamsett) and best supporting male actor (Eamonn O'Neill). Irish Arts took home a second award with a win by Tamsett for his role as Declan O'Sullivan in "An Irish Play."

The Acting Irish International Festival has theater troupes competing not only from Milwaukee, but Chicago, New York, Florida, several Canadian troupes and from the mother country, Ireland, itself. Milwaukee Irish Arts was one of the festival's founding members along with the Tara Players of Winnipeg, Na Fianna Irish Theatre of St Paul, Minn. and Aisling Productions of Calgary in 1992. Milwaukee will play host for 14th annual festival in May 2007.

Even if you missed an "An Irish Play," you can still see the trophy the group brought home. The prize for the best production is a Waterford Crystal Bowl, which the winning company keeps until the next year's festival. The trophy will be kept at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center at 21st and Wisconsin.

The Acting Irish International Festival's Web site is and Milwaukee Irish Arts Web site


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