Top accolade for Ray’s new play

Raymond Murray gives his award to Mark Blevins. INLM1212-302con
Raymond Murray gives his award to Mark Blevins. INLM1212-302con
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LOCAL playwright Raymond Murray has picked up a scriptwriting award for his groundbreaking play, ‘Down’s But Not Out’.

Raymond received the award at the Lislea Drama Festival and immediately handed it to Mark Blevins who played the lead role in the drama about how people’s attitudes have changed to Down’s Syndrome.

Raymond with the cast of Down's But Not Out. INLM1212-303con

Raymond with the cast of Down's But Not Out. INLM1212-303con

It’s the second time Raymond has won the ‘Best Script’ award at the Lislea Festival having picked up the shield for ‘A Peace Of History’ in 2007.

He said: “The standard of the plays at the festival was so high. ‘Shadow of a Gunman’ and ‘39 Steps’ were meant to be amazing, so to have won an award up against this competition is very gratifying.

“The chairman said this year’s festival was among the strongest in the 31 year history of the Lislea festival.”

The 52-year-old continued by paying tribute to rest of the team behind ‘Down’s But Not Out’.

He said: “The script is only the basic foundations. It’s the people who bring it to life. That’s why I chose not to keep the award. I gave it to Mark because it was Mark and the rest of the cast who brought my script to life.”

Mark was nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ while fellow cast member Nikki O’Hara was nominated for ‘Best Actress’. The other cast members who Raymond paid tribute to were Aaron Murphy, Karen McConville, Michael McAleenan, Jonny McGuinness, Ruairí Coleman, Laura Robinson, David Murphy, Geraldine Owens and Brendan Magee.

‘Down’s But Not Out’ was inspired by Raymond’s 13-year-old son Jack who has Down’s Syndrome. The play had a three-night sell-out run in Lurgan’s Town Hall at the beginning of December and received rave reviews.

Following the success at Lislea ‘Down’s But Not Out’ will be going to the Waterfront on Thursday, May 24 and the Armagh Market Place on Friday, May 25. With the first performance in the Market Place virtually sold out, a second date has been added on Saturday, June 9.

Tickets for the Waterfront shows are available by calling 9033 4455 or going online at www.waterfront.co.uk. Market Place tickets are available by calling 3752 1821.