AS the cortege for the late Breda Phelan passed by the Watergate Thaetre on Parliamant Street, thehearse stoppped and a large number of the atre people gave their freind, mentor and idol, a last standing ovation. It was fitting remembereance for a woamn who graced the Kilkenny stage for so many years and was one of those who kept the theatrical and musical flame burning in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.
Her first major role was in Maritanna in 1944. Her performance that year ensured regular “principal appearances in future productions including
“ Country Girl”(1945), Pirates Of Penzance and Maid of the Mountains (1952) “Arcadians and “Scent from Heaven” (1953). Numerous shows followed that included musicals,tops of the town and drama. Kilkenny musical society was founded by Kitty Drohan and Donal O Brien in 1973 and staged it’s first show “The Gypsy Baron” the following year in which Breda played the role of Mirabella. She continued her appearances with the society up to 1986 in such shows as “The Desert Song”, “The Arcadians”, “Waltzes from Vienna”, “Gypsy Princess”, “Merry Widow” , “Maid of the mountain”, “South Pacific” to name but a few.
A resident of Drakelands Nursing Home where she passed away, Breda was the star of many shows over the years and was also a leading light in St Mary’s Choral Society. She leaves behind many fond memories. The octogenarian who never married, was buried in Foulkstown cemetery on Saturday after 11am Mass in St Patrick’s Church, Kilkenny.