The Tivoli is All Shook Up

teacher's musical society

The Society’s Stars from left, Ian Tighe, Carmel Lyons, Mark Burke, Denise King, Ali Murphy, Sean Mac Mathuna


The Tivoli Theatre, lying in the heart of the Liberties on Francis Street, has been home to an abundance of acts and productions over the years, with everything from Oasis and the Cranberries to the much loved annual Cheerios panto.


This spring, the theatre will play host to its next production from the Teacher’s Musical Society – an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night entitled ‘All Shook Up’.


The society has a history of sell-out shows, with its last two productions – “Michael Collins” and “Ragtime” – selling out their runs at the Tivoli. Could this year make it a hat trick? I spoke to director Eoin Cannon about shows, societies and all things musical.


The Musical Society isn’t just for laughs (although it is a big part). Eoin tells me about the awards and high expectations that come with the job.


“Through a lot of hard work over the years, the society has really built itself up to a high standard and people know they’ll get a great show when they come to see us”, he says.


“Every year we go to the Association of Irish Musical Societies (AIMS) Awards weekend, almost like the Oscars for Irish musicals, and take part. There are two divisions; one for bigger societies and one for lower budget societies that maybe don’t have the means to perform in bigger theatres like the Tivoli. It means that all the talent and work gets recognised across the board because a lot of the time, the smaller productions can be better than bigger ones”, he explains.


The Teacher’s Musical Society has a history of performing in the Tivoli. So why do they keep returning to the Liberties?


“I just love the theatre itself and a big reason is its versatility. The staff and the owners are so accommodating and pretty much let us take over and do what we need to do to make the show the best it can be”, explains Cannon.


“Of a lot of the smaller theatres around Dublin, the Tivoli really has a lot of character. I think you need to walk into a theatre and feel like you’re part of something special before the show even starts and that’s what I get in the Tivoli.”


I wondered how Eoin himself got involved with the musicals and drama and the answer I got didn’t disappoint.


“I’d always been involved with local musical and drama productions and it was my goal to train in London to be part of the industry, but I decided to have the backing at home of being a primary school teacher and got my degree in 2001.”


That year, Eoin won Best Actor at the AIMS Awards for his role as Curley in Oklahoma, and hasn’t looked back since. He went on to Guildford in England to train in musicals and drama before going on to become a West End actor. He returned to Ireland in 2008.


He’s had his fair share of ups and downs in the industry, returning to Ireland as the recession hit and facing protestors at his shows.


“I was part of the production of “Jerry Springer: The Opera” in the Grand Canal Theatre which was the target of a lot of controversy. People protested outside the theatre because the show was making fun of the Catholic Church. It was all in good fun but I suppose a lot of people didn’t agree.”


Eoin went on to qualify as a vocal coach and drama teacher and just this year helped set up the first Level 8 qualification in Musical Theatre based in the Irish College of Music Theatre.


So why pick “All Shook Up” as the society’s production for 2015?


“Our previous two productions have been pretty heavy”, Eoin explains. “Both ‘Michael Collins’ and ‘Ragtime’ were very focused on drama and serious vocals and choreography. We wanted to go back to the heart of musicals and back to the fun and light heartedness of them, and ‘All Shook Up’ is the perfect choice.”


“It’s one of the better productions of this kind that I’ve read. The script is very tongue in cheek without being pantomime and I really wanted that comedy through the subtext to come through and be genuine.”


But a more light hearted production doesn’t lighten the workload. Cannon explains how “the show is a lot hard work. There’s 4-part harmony singing in every song and it’s hard to get right but it’s all really pushing us to our best so I think it’ll be worth it.”


The production is running until the 7th of March in the Tivoli. So what’s next for the Teacher’s Musical Society?


“Most of our members compete in the AIMS Choral Festival after our annual show but for us as a society that’s it until next year. Our annual productions start the auditions around September or October but we start thinking of ideas as early as possible.”


After the amount of work put into ‘All Shook Up’, the teachers probably need a break!


All Shook Up runs from the 2nd of March to the 7th at the Tivoli Theatre. Tickets are €20 and are available from the Tivoli’s website.


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