Dublin student takes top prize at 2024 Schools Playwright competition

Amelia O’Donnell, a Transition Year student from Loreto College, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, has been announced as the overall winner of the 2024 Schools Playwright Competition.

The competition is held in conjunction with the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival Fringe and sponsored by the Athlone & Castlerea Credit Union (ACCU). It saw Transition Year students from twelve counties compete. This competition, now in its eleventh year, involved the creation of a one-act play on the theme of ‘Home’. Amelia was announced as the winner at an awards ceremony in Athlone on Monday.

Guest speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Christa De Brún, a lecturer in theatre studies, SETU, Theatre reviewer for Drama League of Ireland magazine, editor of The Shakespeare Study Guide for Leaving Certificate as well as being a poet and a recipient of an Arts Council Bursary Award, 2024.

Amelia is involved in Model United Nations conferences gaining her a distinguished delegate award and European Youth Parliament debating in Dáil Éireann qualifying her for the Oxford Junior Debating championships. Amelia’s play, ‘Gan Dídean’ was performed at the awards ceremony in the Dean Crowe Theatre, Athlone on Monday thanks to Alfie Kilduff and his team of actors. Amelia’s play, ‘Gan Dídean’, brings together the stark reality of being homeless.

Lucy Johnson from Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine, Kenmare, Co. Kerry came second with her play ‘A Place, Not A Home’. Lucy’s play deals with the need for inclusivity for older people in a nursing home setting. Aoife Fingleton from Our Lady’s Grove Secondary School, Friarland, Dublin 14 came third. Aoife’s play ‘Mr. Piddles’ concentrates on a search for a cat in an upmarket residential area.

In fourth place was Sinéad Ní Bhaoighill from Our Lady’s Grove Secondary School, Friarland, Dublin 14 with her play ‘Song of Ghosts’. In fifth place was Alena Healy Lloyd from Castlerea Community School, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon with her play ‘Tough Choices’. In sixth place is Maria Taaffe from Ursuline Secondary School, Thurles, Co. Tipperary with her play ‘To Risketh or not to Risketh’.

Regina Bushell, Festival Director, opened the prize-giving ceremony. Billy Nott, Co-ordinating judge, acted as MC. Margaret Egan, Schools Playwright Co-Ordinator, assisted by Joe MacCarrick, organised the competition.