Youghal is celebrating the 800th Year of the foundation of St. Mary’s Collegiate Church in 2020.  A number of initiatives are planned for later in the Year, and to get the creative juices flowing during the isolated days of Covid-19, the Committee established to organise events to mark the Church’s Anniversary have announced a new Prize called THE JOHN KENNEDY MEMORIAL PRIZE FOR DRAMA.

john kennedy

The Prize is Sponsored by FARMGATE CORK & MIDLETON, Community Radio Youghal and YOUGHAL 2020 and has been established to commemorate actor and broadcaster John Kennedy who died two years ago on 31st January, 2018

A Prize of €500 will be awarded to the winner of an Open Competition to write a Play.  

A further €500 has been set aside for YOUGHAL LITTLE THEATRE  to cover Production Costs of staging the winning Play, which will be fully produced and staged in St. Mary’s Collegiate Church in the Autumn of  2020 (hopefully!).  

The Competition specifies that the play is to be written for up to a maximum of six parts, it must be performed and have a context within the Church (though it doesn’t have to be an historical play), and be no more than an hour’s duration.  

Deadline for receipt of completed Scripts is Friday 1st May, 2020 at 5pm.  

Speaking about the Prize, Chairman of YOUGHAL 2020 Bryan Mohally said “John Kennedy was well known throughout East Cork and West Waterford as the Proprietor of  “The Gossip Shop” in North Main St. in Youghal, and was famous for his hospitality, his big personality, his unparalleled expertise for the music of  John McCormack, his love of poetry, and above all his enthusiasm for Drama.  It is fitting that in the year we mark the 800th Anniversary of the Church, we should remember his huge contribution to Culture, Broadcasting, and the Arts in Youghal, Ardmore and the surrounding areas.”

The Prize has been co-sponsored by Kay Harte and Máróg O’Brien of FARMGATE  AND MIDLETON, who have a strong personal connections with both John Kennedy and Youghal Little Theatre.  Kay Harte said “It’s a huge honour to be associated with remembering John in this way.  Máróg and I have very fond memories of both John and Youghal Little Theatre through our parents Claire and Ned who were founding members of  “Taibhdhearc Beag na hEochaille” as Youghal Little Theatre was originally known as Gaelige, and of course John was a very dear friend of our father Ned O’Brien.”

Newly appointed Manager of Community Radio Youghal Yvonne Smith said “We miss John terribly here at CRY, and not a week goes by but he is remembered and recalled by all of us here at the Station.  His Sunday morning Radio Show was the most popular show on CRY.  He combined beautiful music and song with poetry that he read out every week on air.  He was very special us, and especially to his many listeners at home and abroad, and we are proud to be a co-sponsor of this Prize”.

Speaking on behalf of Youghal Little Theatre, Chairperson Liam McCarthy said “we are delighted to be involved with this Prize in memory of our beloved member, John. His last performance with us was the 1998 pageant which was also performed in St. Mary’s Collegiate Church and so this is truly poignant for us.”

For further details, visit or contact Liam McCarthy via email at

Closing date for entries, which should be submitted by email in PDF format, is 5pm on 1st May 2020.  All entries should be emailed to

Photo: Courtesy Mick Hussey

Categories: Drama


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