Around 60 young people from local drama groups missed out on the chance to perform at Lurgan Show in a wrangle over free tickets.
Show organisers have been criticised for not allowing the performers free entry to the show, an issue which led to the youth showcase being pulled.
The show committee were approached by Craigavon Arts in Motion around four weeks before the big day with a proposal to put on a performance in the park on the afternoon of the show. All costs including the stage, sound and lighting were to be covered by the council-based arts group.
As the day of the show neared, the plug was pulled on the performance when the park show committee said the 60-strong group would only be allowed free entry to the show if they arrived before 8.30am. With the performance not being scheduled until 1pm, the decision was taken to withdraw.
A spokesperson for Craigavon Arts In Motion (CAIM) said: “We had asked members to attend Lurgan Show to give them an opportunity to perform. However, when it was discovered that there was a ‘blanket rule’ that all those involved in the show needed to be on site before 8.30am or they would have to pay the entry fee, CAIM decided to withdraw from the show.
“Logistically it wasn’t possible to have all members including up to 60 children on site at that time of the morning.”
Several parents connected to the drama groups contacted the ‘MAIL’ to complain about the show organisers not giving free entry to performers.
Dona McVeigh said: “What an absolute disgrace.”
Karen McConville commented: “Pity they missed out on fabulous talent being promoted in their own town.”
Producer with MADS, one of the groups who were due to perform, Kieran Corr said: “We’d been rehearsing for the last four weeks.
“We were going to perform a showcase from our upcoming show in Lurgan Town Hall.
“We were informed by Craigavon Arts In Motion last Tuesday that the organisers were saying that each child would have to pay in.
“It was very disappointing for everyone concerned. As a drama community we find it completely out of order. In the past 20 years our performers have never been charged to perform.”
He added: “If you consider each child would have been with at least one parent or guardian, then that should have been enough for the show organisers. By not allowing free entry to the performers they missed out in terms of the performance and also in terms of the parents and guardians who would have come to see their children perform. It was a poor decision by the show organisers.”
Show organisers were contacted for comment but at time of going to press no official line had been received.