Online Short Introductory Exhibition


For the greater part of the 20th century,theatre audiences throughout rural Ireland were almost solely reliant on the amateur dramatic movement. 

In the aftermath of the Civil War communities in the newly-formed Free State turned to amateur drama, to develop some semblance of social re-invigoration. From the 1930s onwards, amateur drama became the only means of social entertainment given the Lenten ban on dancing and the cinema, as these activities were deemed immoral by the Church.

Communities resolved to find some activity and turned in their hoards to am dram. From the 1940s onwards, amateur drama fast become one of the most popular social activities, second only to the GAA.

Co. Kerry boasts a rich tradition of amateur drama and it is a history that is fast disappearing and is an unjustly neglected aspect of Irish cultural history.


Kerry Writers’ Museum, Listowel, Co. Kerry is leading a project called, Raising the Curtain on Amateur Dramatic Heritage, to begin to research and document amateur drama’s history in Kerry.

The overall aims of the project are:

  • To locate memorabilia such as programmes, photos, scripts, etc., that people may still have at home
  • To interview people across the county regarding their memories of involvement in amateur drama.
  • To catalogue the existing amateur drama archival collection at the Kerry Writers’ Museum


The project is supported by the Heritage Council Community Funding Scheme and Regional Museums’ Scheme.

If you believe you can contribute photos, scripts, programmes, posters  stories, of amateur drama in Ireland please contact:


Dr. Fiona Brennan, Lead Researcher: or Cara Trant, Director, Kerry Writers’ Museum at 068 22212.