Year By Year

The Montforts – A History Steeped In Theatre

1962 – Eileen Nolan amalgamates two choral verse speaking groups from Pres. on the Western Road and South Pres. in Douglas St. 

1963 – The newly formed choral verse group win competitions across Ireland.

1964 – The Montforts perform their first song Don’t Let The Rain Come Down with maestro Michael Casey conducting.

1965 – The Montforts present their first revue Black & White Minstrel in the Fr. Matthew Hall. The new Opera House opens and a group of Montforts are engaged as the chorus for the Jack Cruise Show. They also provide two choruses for panto in the Fr. Matthew Hall and the Opera House.  

1966 – The Montforts present their second revue in the Fr. Matthew Hall.

1967 – The group charter a plane to Blackpool and win 1st and 2nd place in the Blackpool Choral Festival. They present their first show in the Opera House Excess Baggage. Pat Murray designs for the Montforts for the first time.

1968 – The Montforts join Marjorie Manners for her highly successful “Old Tyme Music Hall” at the Opera House.

1969 – The Montforts appear in their third Swans show. “Old Tyme Music Hall” returns to the Opera House.

1970 – The Montforts work with Tony Kenny and Noel Purcell.

1971 – The Montforts record “Butterfly” written and produced by Cathal Dunne. The Montforts join the cast of the first “Summer Revels” and remain an integral part for 21 years.

1972 – The Montforts perform for the first time with the Little Theatre Group from Jefferson City in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and The Fantasticks. They make their television debut in Reach For The Stars.

1973 – The group are invited to present “The Wizard Of Oz” at the Opera House directed by Jimmy Belchamber with choreography by Joan Denise Moriarty.

1974 – The group present a memorable Scottish scene in a record breaking 6 week run of Summer Revels

1975 -  The Montforts appear in Noel Pearson’s Christmas panto Aladdin starring Tony Kenny and Alma Carroll.

1976 – A return to television in Best Sellers narrated by Morgan O’Sullivan.

1977 – How Now Brown Bull premieres at the Everyman Playhouse with music by Michael Casey and lyrics by Ian Fox with direction by Jimmy Belchamber. “The Montfort Singers came brilliantly into the limelight” – The Irish Times.  The group appear on Tony Kenny’s Christmas television show.  

1978  - Pippin at the Cork Opera House presented by The Montfort Singers & The Catholic Guild of Jefferson City. The production also ran at the Richardson Auditorium in Jefferson City, USA.  The group performed at the gala First Night inauguration of RTE 2 at the Cork Opera House.   

1979 - West Side Story at the Cork Opera House. Fr. John Long directs with choreography by Edmond Wesley. “One of the most electrifying nights the Cork Opera House has seen” – Cork Examiner.

1980 – Hello Dolly at the Cork Opera House with Wyn Riley taking the title role “This production is as exciting a piece of theatre as one could hope to enjoy” – Cork Examiner.

1981 – Oklahoma at the Cork Opera House. The RTÉ production of Rock Nativity by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent in which the Montforts supply the musical choral ensemble for the production. Deirdre White played the coveted role of Mary. The programme was directed by Larry Oakes.

1982 – The Montforts embark on their first American trip. The Montfort Salute To Youth runs 5 nights in the Cork Opera House followed by Palace Of Varieties featuring the senior choir. The Salute To Youth show runs for the next 11 years at the Opera House.  

1983 – Mame at the Cork Opera House with Anita Reeves taking the title role and a memorable performance by the then Montfort Musical Director Ronnie O’Shaughnessy as Vera Charles. Directed by Fr. John Long with choreography by Clinton King Jnr. “Mame a triumph for all concerned”  -The Cork Examiner.

1984 – The group showcase their versatility with a production of Little Women at the Everyman Playhouse directed by Marion Wyatt  “Alcott’s adaptation tugs at the heartstrings” - Cork Examiner.

1985 – No No Nanette at the Cork Opera House. Directed by Fr. John Long with choreography by Michael Simms.  Love From Judy at the Everyman Playhouse directed by Marion Wyatt.

1986 –  Camelot at the Cork Opera House. Directed by Fr. John Long with choreography by Joan Denise Moriarty. Designed by Pat Murray with Musical Direction by Ronnie O'Shaughnessy. “A magnificient performance of Camelot closed to six curtain calls and a standing ovation” – Cork Examiner.

1987 – The Montforts provide senior and junior choruses for an Easter production of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs by leading UK pantomime company – Albemarle. Montfort Barry O’Reilly takes a lead role.

1988 –   A Celtic Evening In Swansea featuring the Montforts & the Hennessys. An Evening With Gershwin & Lloyd Webber  at the Cork School Of Music. The Music Man at the Cork Opera House. Directed by Fr. John Long with choreography by Jenny Kleigel. Tony Durkin made a welcome return to take the title role. “Montforts take Music Man in their stride” – Cork Examiner.    

1989 – An Evening With Noel Coward & Broadway Showstoppers at the Cork School Of Music.

1990 – An Evening With Cole Porter & Neil Diamond at the Cork School Of Music. Bon Voyage Concert at the Savoy.

1991- The Montforts become regular guests in Jury’s cabaret. Christmas and the majority of the cast for the record breaking Annie at the Cork Opera House emanate from the Montfort ranks including sisters Elaine & Eilish Symons who played Annie and Molly respectively.     

1992 – The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas at the Everyman Palace. Directed by Fr. John Long and choreographed by Stan Kmeic. The Montforts diversify once again and present their first all children Christmas panto Little Red Riding Hood at the Cork Arts Theatre directed by Valery O’Leary and Trevor Ryan. Joy Florish took the title role. 17 years later and their annual Christmas production is still going strong.   

1993 – I Can Do That at the Cork School Of Music, Steel Magnolias, Crimes Of The Heart and their second annual Christmas panto - Humpty Dumpty all at the Cork Art Theatre.  

1994 – The award winning Brighton Beach Memoirs and Santa In Space at the Cork Arts Theatre.

1995 – Jerry’s Girls, Bad Seed and The Gingerbread Lady all at the Corks Arts Theatre. Following a sell out run The Gingerbread Lady transfers to the Opera House. Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat opens in the Firkin Crane. 

1996 – Our Day Out, Sylvia and The Sleeping Cutie all play at the Cork Arts Theatre. Grease plays to capacity houses in the Firkin Crane. “Montfort tops with Grease!” – Cork Examiner.  

1997 – Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat returns to the Everyman Palace followed by performances in Rennes, France.

1998 – Cinderella goes to the ball at the Cork Arts Theatre.

1999 – Snow White falls into a deep sleep 8 times a week at the Cork Arts Theatre! The Montforts make a long overdue return trip to Jefferson City.   

2000 – West Side Story makes a triumphant return to the Everyman Palace with electrifying choreography by Michael Steuber. Our Day Out also makes a welcome return and Alice In Wonderland is the children’s panto for the festive season. 

2001- Anything Goes at the Everyman Palace Theatre sees Lorraine Manley in great voice as the iconic Reno Sweeney. Pinnochio at the Cork Arts Theatre. The American contingent pays a return visit to Ireland and performs in On Broadway.

2002 – An Evening With Gershwin & Lloyd Webber at the Everyman Palace Theatre. Sadly this is the last Montfort show directed by the late David Gordon. Cinderella is the festive offering in the Cork Arts Theatre. Eclipsed opens at the Cork Arts Theatre and subsequently transfers to the Everyman Palace. 

2003 – Oliver with choreography by the perennial Mary Weston plays to standing ovations and packed houses.

2004 – The Wizard Of Oz at the Everyman Palace Theatre. “Wizard enchants audiences of all ages” – Cork Examiner. Proof at the Everyman Palace.

2005 – The Magic of the Musicals triumphs at the Everyman Palace and sees the return of of West End and Broadway star Michael McCarthy.   

2006 – Bugsy Malone at the Everyman Palace Theatre. Sadly this was the last Montfort set to be designed by the much revered Pat Murray.

2007 – High School Musical at the Everyman Palace Theatre sells out prior to the show opening! Cinders returns to the Cork Arts Theatre. 

2008 – Seussical The Musical opens at the Cork Arts Theatre.

2009 – Annie Jnr. opens at the Cork Arts Theatre.

2010 – Ever After – A Cinderella Story opens at the Cork Arts Theatre.

2011 – Once Upon A Mattress opens at Cork Arts Theatre. Montfort students Brian Fenton accepted to Oxford University to study drama. Shauna Barry accepted to Millennium Performing Arts to study Musical Theatre.       

2012 – Aladdin opens at the Firkin Crane. Current and past Montforts Michael Sands, Carol Anne Ryan, Trevor Ryan, Ian McGuirk, Killian Collins, Valerie O Leary, Eimear McCarthy, Sally O Leary, Laura Mitchell, Eva O Leary, Ali McElhinny and Claire O Leary all take leading roles in The Sound of Music at the Cork Opera House.  Sally O Leary accepted to the London Academy of Dramatic Art to study drama. Stephen O Leary accepted to the Gaeity School of Acting to study drama.