An oft-used quotation is “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” This was certainly the case when it came to Tommy Mullin, the former director with Clanabogan Drama Circle whose passion, vision, creativity and pure love for drama led his cast and crew through many years of pure enjoyment and success.
Tommy’s passing in January 2019 was a huge loss for all who knew him and were lucky enough to call him friend. He was a founding member of Clanabogan Drama Circle in 1998 and began acting as the priest in Keane’s “Moll” followed by many successful productions such as Murphy’s “The Country Boy” and Ervine’s “Boyd’s Shop.”
He then diverted his attention to the production elements of drama and began working as the sound manager for the plays. He shared great success in this role bringing many productions to All-Ireland final competitions.
However, Tommy longed to spread his wings and try his hand at directing. It was in this role that Tommy truly found his niche. His first production at the helm was “Wake in the West” in 2009 followed by “Where There’s a Will” by Val Gough.
In September 2018 Tommy decided to return to a group favourite “Wake in The West” and began rehearsals for performances planned for spring 2019. However a shock diagnosis of pancreatic cancer brought Tommy’s plans to a halt. After achieving his dream of walking his daughter down the aisle in October, Tommy sadly lost his battle with cancer on 7th January 2019. The drama group immediately decided to cancel the production out of respect for Tommy’s passing.
In the summer of 2022 longstanding group members tentatively suggested finishing the work that Tommy had started on Wake on the West as an appropriate gesture to mark the 25th anniversary production for the group. A unanimous agreement began with rehearsals last autumn. The group has enjoyed much success with the production since February with various accolades at drama festivals. Joan McCrystal won Best Actress at Lislea Drama Festival whilst Eugene Lynam won Best Supporting Actor and Liam won Best Actor at Newtownstewart Drama Festival with numerous nominations amongst the other members of the cast.
After gaining fantastic reactions from audiences in Strabane and Enniskillen the group brings its final performance back to The Strule Arts Centre, Omagh on Saturday 6th May for a special charity performance in Tommy’s memory. The group feel honoured to have received the blessing from Ursula, Tommy’s wife and his children Leanne, Shane, Ronan and Ryan to bring this performance to the stage of the Strule as a way to mark Tommy’s treasured contribution to the group since its foundation. All proceeds from the performance will be donated to NIPANC, Northern Ireland Pancreatic Cancer charity. A representative from NIPANC will be present on the night to inform the audience of the work the organisation does with people living with pancreatic cancer and how they offer support to them and to their families.
One of Tommy’s many mantras when it came to drama was “It has to be fun…” and all in Clanabogan Drama Circle agree that he instilled this belief and the group continues to bring much need laughter through comedy on stage year after year.
Tickets for the charity performance can be booked online at www.struleartscentre.co.uk/shows/wake-in-the-west