The Acorn Club Freshford
The Acorn Club is a voluntary not-for profit organisation that was formed in 2011 to empower, encourage, facilitate, nurture and support artistic talent, initiatives and projects in the areas of music, drama, choral and artistic creativity.
The creation of an effective environment and opportunites for learning, development and participation in artistic activities and projects are the key activities of the Club.
The Acorn Club committee consists of Noel Cleere (Chairperson), Gerry O’Reilly (Secretary), Michael Butler (Dep. Chairperson) Noreen Butler (Treasurer), Julia Heffernan (Dep.Secretary), John Cleere, Deborah Delaney, Karen Delaney, Barbara Dohr, Moira Dorgan and Moira Maher .
2013 – A Landmark Year
In 2013, the Acorn Club in cooperation with the community of Freshford and St Lachtain’s National School, recalled 60 years of variety and pantomime in Freshford.
The Club organised the recording of topical songs, written by local people for Pantomimes and Variety shows that ran year-on-year with little interruption for almost 60 years. Each song recounted a memorable event or incident that occurred during that year. Topical songs were comical compositions that included the names of individuals that will go down in history. In act locals whose names were not included in the songs were often very disappointed! We considered that theses songs provided a unique snapshot of local life in Freshford in years gone by, and are therefore of significant local historical and heritage value. It was important to preserve them and for that reason, the album “Once Upon A Time” was recorded. Many more songs remain and it is out intention to record them at some future date.
60th Anniversary Celebrations
2103 marked the 60th anniversary of pantomime and variety in Freshford.
In cooperation with Mr Ned Kennedy, local historian and teacher, a history of drama and pantomime was prepared. Photographs and materials were provided by local people with videos and clips being provided by Mr Tommy Butler. The Exhibition was held in St Lachtain’s Church of Ireland Annex during the 60th Anniversary celebrations and it can now be seen on our sister “Once Upon A Time” website. That year, the Club’s Gala Variety Show with special guest DANA was a phenomenal success. The show featured many scenes from the pantomimes over the years and surviving members of those casts took to the stage with our young emerging talent to create a truly memorable occasion for everyone.
Annual Variety Show
The club’s annual Variety Show has grown from strength to strength each year and attracts capacity audiences .
The Variety Show is a great platform for new and emerging talent. New talent is always welcome and also attracts professional artists and performers who love the ambiance and fun element of the whole event while raising the standards of our productions. Dana (2013) and Mick Hanly (2015) have made an invaluable contribution to raising the standards of our show.
This year’s Variety Show on October 21st will raise the bar even further with the input of Ollie Hennessy (The Rose of Tralee & RTE) and his team. There will be some surprise appearances as well .
Irische Nacht – Great Performances in Germany
Though Noel’s close ties with The Harmonika Club and Leiderkranz Club in Dagersheim Germany, the Acorn club has staged many Variety shows to highly appreciative German audiences.
On the last trip in 2013, 70 people traveled from Freshford and the whole experience was wonderful. Our “Musical Tour of Ireland” Show written by Moira Maher was an astounding success and placed to a capacity audience. We hope to revisit Dagersheim and all our German friends quite soon again,
The German Clubs visited Freshford and Kilkenny in 2009 and a return visit is anticipated again soon. The will receive a Great Irish Welcome!
Building upon Tradition – Facilitating Continuity
Building upon a rich tradition, the Acorn Club runs and sponsors a number of initiatives at community level with funds we raise from our annual Variety Show and other events during the year. Our 2015 initiatives included
- Sponsorship of “Speech & Drama” at St Lachtain’s National school enables children to acquire effective communication skills and confidence in self expression. The initiative is greatly valued by the Principal, teachers and parents association.
- The formation of “Happy Voices” Choral Group under the direction of Clare Kilkenny has revitalised singing and performance. The “Happy Voices” played an integral part in the 1916 Commemoration concerts – not only in Freshford but also in the Three Castles commemorations,
- The formation of “The Acorn Players” Drama Group under the direction of Moira Dorgan has greatly helped in revitalising amateur drama with participation coming from surrounding communities as well.
- 1916 Commemoration Ceremonies with a truly wonderful 1916 commemoration Concert in St Lachtain’s C of I. The concert was a sensitive yet balanced programme where both communities could commemorate and remember not only the events of Easter 1916 but also the tragic events of The Somme. The Club was also instrumental in the Community’s 1916 Commemoration Parade (its first for 48 years) where “inclusivity” was the core guiding principle.
Now the Club’s busy schedule continues with “The Big Squeeze” Festival and preparations are already underway for the Annual Variety Show on October 21st2016