A native of Listowel, Bill Kearney joined the Listowel Drama Group in 1946 and enjoyed much success with the group on the amateur circuit. An actor, he was involved in many of the prizewinning productions nationwide, including the Kerry Drama Festival. Bill Kearney was invited to act in two Abbey Theatre productions of plays by the North Kerry playwright, George Fitzmaurice: The Magic Glasses, a one-act play, and the full-length play, The King of the Barna Men, in 1967. Kearney won rave reviews for his performances in both productions. He was noted in particular for his performances in the Listowel Drama Group’s production of The Bugle and the Blood by Brian MacMahon (1949), The King of Friday’s Men, by M.J. Molloy, (1950). He played the infamous lecherous old man, Sean Dota, who had arranged to marry the young school Sive, in the John B. Keane’s play pf the same name. Sive took the country by storm and won the All-Ireland Festival title in 1959. The play was subsequently stage at the Abbey by the amateur group.
Kearney’s collection encompasses numerous newspaper articles from the late 1950s and 60s from both local and national broadsheets; various programmes from regional festivals, Listowel Drama Group programmes from the 1950s; books, including his copies of the George Fitzmaurice plays (Dolmen Press); musical scores and other print matter. His makeup case is also part of the collection.
The archive is in pristine condition and donated to KWM between 2016 and 2018.