STAGE beyond celebrates New york festivals radio award for best digital drama

The multi award-winning Stage Beyond Theatre Company is celebrating the arrival of the 2021 New York Festivals Radio Awards trophy for Best Digital Drama aired by RTÉ Radio 1.

RTÉ Drama on One collaborated with Derry’s theatre company for adults with learning disabilities, to produce a remote recording of ‘Hamlet, Prince of Derry’, adapted by Colin Murphy, directed by Conall Morrison, and scored by Si Schroeder.

Stage Beyond Theatre Company members and Board Trustees pictured with the 2021 New York Festivals Radio Awards trophy for ‘Hamlet, Prince of Derry’ (Best Digital Drama). Holding the trophy is Oisin Kelly who played Hamlet in the play which was recorded remotely and produced by RTÉ Drama on One during Covid-19.

Stage Beyond, supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, secured a silver award for the play which was among world class audio work from more than 30 countries honoured at a virtual awards event held in the ‘Big Apple’ last October.

The original stage production of ‘Hamlet, Prince of Derry’ was postponed because of Covid-19, and when RTÉ stepped into the breach to commission it as a digital drama, radio showed its vital role in enabling cultural work even under the most severe restrictions. With theatres shutdown during lockdown and everyone required to stay safe at home, the actors at Stage Beyond used online apps and recorded lines on their smartphones.

‘Hamlet, Prince of Derry’, which also featured acclaimed actor Patrick O’Kane (Ghost of Hamlet’s Father) and UTV presenter Paul Clark as newsreader, was aired on RTÉ Drama on One in July 2020 and again earlier this year.

The New York Festivals Radio Awards trophy recently winged its way across the Atlantic via RTÉ in Dublin for special delivery to the Millennium Forum’s renowned resident theatre company for adults with learning disabilities based in the North West region.

Dee Conaghan, Artistic Director of Stage Beyond Theatre Company pictured with the 2021 New York Festivals Radio Awards trophy for ‘Hamlet, Prince of Derry’ (Best Digital Drama, RTÉ Drama on One).

Dee Conaghan, Artistic Director of Stage Beyond which was established in 2002 to provide professional artistic provision and access for people with learning disabilities, said there was great excitement when the impressive trophy arrived ‘home’.

She said: “The much-anticipated arrival of the New York Festivals Radio Award was met with great excitement by everyone at Stage Beyond. We are immensely proud of this highly prestigious international recognition. On behalf of the members and Board of Trustees, I would like to extend a huge thank-you once again to the entire team involved in ‘Hamlet, Prince of Derry’ and a special message of appreciation to Kevin Brew, producer at RTÉ Drama on One for all his support.”

“Stage Beyond is privileged to work with some of the top industry professionals in the country and we are forever grateful to our good friend Conall Morrison, the esteemed Shakespearian director who also worked with us on our award-winning contemporary adaptation of the most famous play in the English language.”

Entries to the New York Festivals Radio Awards are judged around the world by panels of peers in their respective industries. For more information, go to

You will find a clip of ‘Hamlet, Prince of Derry’ on this link: Hamlet, Prince of Derry – Shakespeare goes digital (

‘Hamlet, Prince of Derry’
– Stage Beyond Theatre Company

Adapted for the company by Colin Murphy and directed by Conall Morrison. 

Starring the actors of Stage Beyond Theatre Company with Patrick O’Kane and UTV Presenter, Paul Clark. 

Original Score by Si Schroeder.

Assistant Director: Alison Mahoney

Artistic Director, Stage Beyond: Dee Conaghan

Sound Supervision: Damian Chennells and Ruth Kennington

Producer: Kevin Brew

Series Producer: Kevin Reynolds

RTÉ Group Head of Drama & Comedy: Shane Murphy


Oisín Kelly (Hamlet)

Isobel Sharkey (Ophelia)

Bryan Sutherland (Claudius)

Bernadette Shiels (Gertrude)

Catherine Campbell (Horatia)

Carol Glenn (Francisca)

Martin O’Hagan (Rosencrantz)

Alan Doherty (Guildenstern)

Gary Quigley (Laertes/Jack Sceptred Isle)

Tarrah Sharma (Sleeping Wolf)

Bernadette Foley (Priest)

Frank Nelis (First Gravedigger)

Shane Marron (Second Gravedigger)

Patrick O’Kane (Ghost of Hamlet’s Father)

Paul Clark (Newsreader)

Computer Voice (Alison Mahoney)

Gorretti Slavin and family (Derry Crowd Scenes)

Other roles played by members of the company

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