Bastard Amber is a multi-disciplinary work where live music and highly innovative design/visual art take centre stage alongside sublime choreography performed by a stellar company of Irish and international dancers.
This ground-breaking dance production draws inspiration from two of the great Irish artists of the modern age, WB Yeats and Patrick Scott. Co-commissioned by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin Dance Festival and Kilkenny Arts Festival the work’s premiere at Dublin Dance Festival in May 2015 was a historic moment for dance in Ireland, the first time ever for an Irish choreographer to be commissioned to create a full length dance work for the main stage of Ireland’s National Theatre.
[box style=”yellow” closable=”un-closable”] What’s in a name? Bastard Amber is the name of a theatrical lighting gel colour that was created by mistake and discarded until lighting designer Louis Hartmann chanced upon it by accident. He loved it so much he asked the company to create more, referring to it as that “bastard amber you had.”[/box]
Bastard Amber was a resounding success, receiving fantastic reviews, a standing ovations and was seen in the Abbey by President Higgins and his wife Sabine Higgins. The production now stands as a landmark event both for Liz Roche – who remains at the forefront of defining a new landscape for dance in Ireland – but also for Irish contemporary dance within a culture more noted internationally for words rather than movement.
Following on from the Abbey performances Bastard Amber has since performed at the Kilkenny Arts Festival and most recently at the prestigious Espace des Arts, Chalon- Sur-Saone, France, as part of Festival Instances 2015 supported by Culture Ireland.
Bastard Amber is filled with unforgettable imagery and stunning design, conjuring a lustrous Byzantine world of contradictory influences. It draws inspiration from the imagery of W.B Yeats’ poem Sailing to Byzantium and captures not only the evocative and arresting imagery of the poem but also gives voice to the modern vision that Yeats imagined in his own work for theatre. The work of other artists is strongly referenced in relation to this, most notably Patrick Scott’s iconic Gold meditation paintings reflected in the set and light design, contrasting the subtleties of form, space and light with the wild, stark, beautiful reality of the body.
Choreographed and conceived by Liz Roche, the work includes a cast of eight highly respected irish and international dancers performing alongside four renowned musicians from traditional, rock and classical backgrounds, an exceptional set, lighting and costume design from celebrated designers Paul Wills, Lee Curran and Catherine Fay and a specially commissioned score by composer Ray Harman.
In outlining her work process, Liz Roche writes: “ My first instincts around this new work were to explore the metaphoric power of gold – its texture, colour, permanence and its enduring symbolic importance. I was drawn to Yeats’ poem Sailing to Byzantium where the substance symbolizes a sense of magnificence, monument, endurance and his own eternal preservation. I found further inspiration in the iconic gold meditation paintings – menacing and meditative in equal measure – of visual artist Patrick Scott. I was particularily drawn to Scott’s Zen-like approach to space and light influenced by his affinity with the East – a passionate interest shared with Yeats.Perhaps because of the significance of creating a dance work for the Abbey Theatre, I researched the early manuscripts of the rarely performed dance plays of its founder WB Yeats. The cyclical and supernatural themes of The Dreaming of the Bones, opened a fascinating avenue of discovery for me. Yeats’ accompanying cryptic, modernist and intuitive stage directions, an indication of his radical spirit, which is often under-valued, began to form an abstract framework for the new work. Taking note that these themes re- emerge throughout Yeat’s work, and returning to Sailing to Byzantium, I decided to explore the universal and cyclical existential themes of the poem, heavy with the imagery of the body’s own journey through life into the afterlife, challenging me to consider my own ideas of physical and emotional stability in an ultimately unstable existence”.
ABOUT LIZ ROCHE COMPANY
Liz Roche Company (formerly known as Rex Levitates) was established in 1999 and is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary dance companies. Growing an international reputation for its finely wrought, beautifully crafted choreographic style, the Dublin based company presents the works of choreographer Liz Roche in collaboration with artists, dancers and designers of the highest calibre. An artistically distinctive and ambitious arts organisation, the company has produced over twenty original productions, touring throughout Ireland and further afield in the UK, Germany, France, USA and China, most notably being presented at the Baryshnikov Arts Centre and Judson Memorial Church in New York, the South Bank Centre, London, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and most recently a major new work Bastard Amber for the Abbey Theatre / Dublin Dance Festival May 2015. The company are currently in the creation process of new production “Time Over Distance Over Time” set to premiere at Dublin Dance Festival 2016 and afterwards to tour to Australia as part of Culture Ireland’s international celebration I Am Ireland, Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.
“Roche’s choreography is delicately woven but it’s threads possess an elusive tensile strength. Entrancing.” Donald Hutera, The Times
“Liz Roche is an artist with a serious track record…” Judith Mackrell, The Guardian
DIRECTED BY CAITRIONA MCLAUGHLIN
STARRING AMY CONROY, MARK FITZGERALD AND WILL O’CONNELL
Lyric Theatre – Naughton Studio, Belfast, November 15th and 16th
An Grianán Theatre, Donegal, November 18th and 19th
The Bell Table, Limerick, November 21st and 22nd
The Pavilion, Dún Laoghaire, November 25th and 26th
Don’t miss the last few performances of Amy Conroy’s fiercely funny, and intensely moving, play Luck Just Kissed You Hello as it visits Belfast, Donegal, Limerick and Dún Laoghaire, over the next ten days. The play set off on tour at the beginning of this month, and has played to full theatres and standing ovations; you won’t want to miss this intensely moving play.
How do you say goodbye to your nemesis, your genesis? Laura returns home for the death of her father, but Laura is now Mark (Amy Conroy). He, along with Gary (Will O’Connell) and Sullivan (Mark Fitzgerald), must decide on how he is remembered. They must find a way to forgive, find a way to each other and find a way to recognise themselves again. How can any of us begin to unravel the complexities of our childhood memories and the individual moments we remember and polish as our own? This is a play about what it means to be a man, and the complicated nature and fluidity of masculinity.
Luck Just Kissed You Hello is a beautiful, relentless, and fiercely funny, play exploring the delicate strength it takes to be all that is expected of you. Featuring a stellar cast of Amy Conroy, Mark Fitzgerald and Will O’Connell, and directed by Caitriona McLaughlin. You won’t want to miss Luck Just Kissed You Hello for it’s last performances in the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th November; An Grianán theatre, Donegal, Friday 18th and Saturday 19th; the Belltable, Limerick, Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd’ and finishing it’s successful run at the Pavilion theatre, Dún Laoghaire, Friday 25th and Saturday 26th November.
‘A mesmerising performance from Amy Conroy that seems ripped from her own innards’ – The Irish Independent
★★★★ ‘A blistering exploration of masculinity.’ – The Guardian
★★★★ ‘Luck Just Kissed You Hello goes beyond gender politics.’ – The Irish Times
‘Luck Just Kissed You Hello is a rare achievement, a play that is polemical while remaining provocative, funny, and intensely moving.’ – The Sunday Independent
HotForTheatre have toured substantially. In 2013 the company performed three different shows, to 66 audiences (playing to over 6,000 people), in two continents and four countries. Their work has toured to New York, Iceland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Croatia, France and to 24 venues and festivals across Ireland. They make their Donegal debut with this production.
Blue Riband: Corn Mill Theatre Group – Tom Clarke’s One True Love
Best Play: Open Corn Mill Theatre Group – Tom Clarke’s One True Love
2nd- Open Lucan Drama Group – Subtraction
3rd -Open Bangor Drama Group – A Galway Girl
Best Director – Open: Gus Hanley -Tom Clarke’s One True Love – Corn Mill Theatre Group
Best Actor – Open: George Hogan – as Walter in Subtraction by Lucan Drama Club
Best Actress – Open: Maura Farrelly as Kathleen in Tom Clarke’s One True Love, Corn Mill
Best Play – Confined: Glenamaddy Players – The Problem
2nd – Confined: Gunpowder Productions – Pizzazz
3rd – Confined: Ballina Dramatic Society – Lone Star
Best Director – Confined: Ann C Molloy – The Problem [ Glenamaddy Players]
Best Actor– Confined: Michael Tevenan – as Husband in The Problem [Glenamaddy Players]
Best Actress – Confined: Niamh Flanagan – as Wife in The Problem [Glenamaddy Players]
Best Technical: Corn Mill Theatre Group – Tom Clarke’s One True Love
Adjudicator’s Award: Greg Mulcahy – as glue sniffer in Homeless [Tadhg An Eastna Players]
Adjudicator’s Award: Brian Murphy on his telling of the death of Tom Clarke in Tom Clarke’s One True Love [ Corn Mill]
Adjudicator’s Award: Dee Foxe – As Mrs Hand in Pizzazz by Gunpowder productions
Corn Mill Theatre Group, Leitrim
Tom Clarke – Killian Mc Guinness
Kathleen Clarke – Maura Farrelly
Winifred Carney – Elizabeth Doonan
Mc Kenzie Booth – Brian Murray
Producer/Director – Gus Hanley
Lighting /Sound/ Set Design – Philip Mc Intyre & Noel Nash
Setting Ireland / London
Period 1950 /60’s
Synopsis: The play dramatizes the life of Tom Clarke, the public and private man. It covers the time span from 1830 when his father James was born, to Clarke’s execution in 1916. During the performance we meet Clarke, his wife Kathleen, Winifred Carney James Connolly’s secretary, McKenzie-Booth a British medical officer, Patrick Pearse, a British recruit, Thomas Junior, and a member of Cumann na mBan. It is betimes heartbreakingly sad but peppered with comedy.
Corn Mill Theatre Group: The tradition of Drama in Carrigallen goes back to the late 1800’s. The present group was founded in 1963 as The Community Players and there has been no break in activity since that time. The group has competed on the festival circuit since 1970 and has reached the All-Ireland Finals in Athlone on thirteen occasions. In 1989 the group opened their own theatre -The Corn Mill Theatre and Arts Centre. In that year, the group changed their name to The Corn Mill Theatre Company. The group has won the All-Ireland Drama Finals in Athlone on three occasions – in 1998 with Belfry by Billy Roche,in 2005 with Stolen Child by Yvonne Quinn and Bairbre Ni Chaoimh and in 2014 with The Devil’s Ceili by Philip Doherty and Kevin McGathern. On the One Act circuit they won the confined All Ireland in 1982 with The Workhouse Ward written by Lady Gregory and directed by Gus Ward
Lucan Dramatic Society, Dublin
Waiter – George Hogan
Melanie – Elaine Butler
Producer/Director – Vincent Casey
Sound/ Lighting TBC
Design Consultant – Olga Bolger
Stage Manager – Jack C. Flanagan
Setting :- A quiet city park
Synopsis:- A Strange Encounter with a woman from the Office of Subtraction, Melanie, forces Walter to re-examine what he believes about memory, loss and the nature of the universe
Lucan Dramatic Society was founded in 1957 by Rev. James Loughran and Michael Gannon as St. Mary’s Dramatic Society and is now more commonly referred to as Lucan Drama. With previous circuit flirtations, still evident on trophies, interest in competition was re-ignited in 2013 and Lucan have entered a One Act Festival every year since. This Year they bring us SUBTRACTION by Kevin McFillen directed by Vincent Casey and starring Elaine Butler and George Hogan. It is George’s first play with Lucan Drama. Walter and Melanie attempt to balance the universal equation in this conversational drama about loss, memory and the loss of memory.
Gunpowder Productions, Cork
Marion – Rachel O’Riordan
Olivia – Dee Foxe
Rooney – Donal O’Sullivan
Conroy – Daniel O’Regan
Mrs Hand – Ann O’Hora
Producer / Director: Eltin Griffin
Lighting – Nigel Cassidy
Sound – Mary Connolly, Mark Newman
Props – Rachel Mc Nally
Stage Crew – Mark Newman, John Reilly,Stephen Burke
Synopsis: Whilst waiting to hire a cabin cruiser on the River Shannon, two apparent strangers play an elaborate game, which involves re-enacting a marriage on the rocks with the other people in the reception area as supporting cast. But all is not what it seems.
Gunpowder Productions :
Gunpowder Productions was founded in 2006 by a group of friends who had a deep interest in drama. The name of the company comes from a local gunpowder mill in Ballincollig. The group is lucky to have a broad range of talents within the group.
NB: There will be a 15-minute interval between each play.
Eavan and Riona Hennessey and Marc Mc Closkey will provide musical entertainment while the adjudicator is considering the awards.
Bangor Drama Club, Bangor
Maisie – Clare Mc Kelvey
Dermot – Sean Greer
Producer/Director Patrick Grimshaw
Lighting:- Patrick Grimshaw
Sound:- Olive Mc Dermott
Setting Ireland / London
Period 1950 /60’s
Synopsis: ‘Set in Ireland and London during the 1950s and 1960s, A Galway Girl involves a couple, Maisie and Dermot, talking about their married life. They seldom communicate with one another, choosing instead to disclose their ideas direct to the audience. Yet this seems somehow appropriate for a couple who seem totally incompatible with one another. Maisie, a well-brought up village girl, is close to her mother and very much concerned with outward appearance; Dermot thinks of himself as working-class and proud of it – although perpetually justifying his actions, especially after he has had a jar or three.’
Bangor Drama Club began in 1935 when a group of theatre loving people got together each week to read plays. This naturally progressed to putting on their first productions in 1938, and the club hasn’t looked back since. The club has produced almost every type of play, from Shakespeare to farce, high drama to light comedy and everything in-between. Currently the club is in its third building: Studio 1A on the Hamilton Road and is undergoing renovation work to turn it into a modern and welcoming theatre space for its members, audiences, and guests.
No Drama Theatre, Dublin
Frank – Declan Ryan
Donna – Kate Cosgrave
Titania – Charlotte Keating
Winston – Malcolm Bolton
Producer Louise Dunne
Director/ Sound/ Lighting Jonathan Shortall
Synopsis:- The rain hammers down. Parts of the puzzle are starting to slot into place, but are the clues all they seem? The pieces are moving on the board, but is everyone playing the same game? Somebody is dead, stabbed through the heart. Somebody is running from the law, looking for a saviour. Somebody is out for revenge, relentlessly tracking their prey. Somebody doesn’t see why this couldn’t all wait till the morning. But Frank O’Hara is on the scene, and that means someone’s body on the floor.
No Drama Theatre: Initially founded on boards.ie in 2008, No Drama has grown immeasurably since its conception. 8 years on and the group has held hundreds of diverse weekly drama workshops, various full productions and showcases, and appeared on the bills of numerous festivals. No Drama aims to nurture its members by creating a welcoming and easy-going environment; all the while encouraging them to be all that they can be. It is the passion of its members that drives the momentum and this momentum is showing no signs of slowing down.
Glenamaddy players, Galway
Wife – Niamh Flanagan
Husband – Michael Tevenan
Producer / Director Ann C Molloy
Lighting Nigel Cassidy
Sound Mary Connolly
Props Rachel Mc Nally
Stage Crew Mark Newman, John Reilly, Stephen Burke
Synopsis: The Problem” is a comedy of great wit where the wife reveals a shocking secret to her husband only to find that he has some secrets of his own !!! In a very funny dialogue, the couple’s inability to communicate with each other properly keeps bringing them back again and again to ”the problem”. The story has some imaginative swerves along the way with a twist at the end.
Glenamaddy Players: There is a long tradition of drama in Glenamaddy going back to the 1950s with plays being performed locally in the Town Hall. Glenamaddy Players were formed in 1972 and have competed on the full length amateur circuit ever since. The group have enjoyed considerable success in several All Ireland appearances. with plays, such as “Translations”, “The Playboy of the Western World” “The Field” and “Eclipsed. This is their second year back participating on the 1 Act festival circuit.
Rush Dramatic Society, Dublin
Anya – Trish Daly
Sonia- Lorraine Carrick
Producer/Director Annemarie Wolohan
Lighting:- Annemarie Wolohan
Stage manager Caroline Harding
Setting Anya’s Attic Room
Synopsis: Dark secrets hidden in the grey mists of time are reluctantly revealed in this black comedy. Set in a small village in 1880’s Russia, Anya and Sonia are goaded into recollecting some things they’d rather forget from their earlier years, upon the bizarre discovery of an empty coffin in Anya’s lodgings.
Rush Dramatic Society was founded in 1927, having its roots in the Gaelic League. It has been in continuous activity ever since. RDS built its own home The Millbank Theatre which opened in 1988 . RDS produce five shows each year and The Millbank Theatre is home to the Annual Rush Drama Festival.
Tadgh An Astna Players, Cork
Paul O’Regan – Ray Mullins
Woman in Park, Solicitor
Paul O’Regan – Rugby Player, Man in Park Caroline Conway
Jogger, Gazza, Billy,
Bank Manager Greg Mulcahay
Producer / Director Kieran Doyle
Setting Park Bench, Dublin
Time The Present
Synopsis:- Ray Mullins is a homeless man living on a bench in a Dublin park. But how can a man who had a career, a beautiful house, wife and successful sporting life, fall from grace? The play follows the life of Ray through a series of his memories and events in the park. He engages the audience and makes us all look at how we perceive the great illness of Irish society – Homelessness.
Tadhg An Astna was set up in 2012 and is based in Clonakilty, Co. Cork. The group specialises in writing and producing its own work. This is the first year the group is performing on the one act circuit. ‘Homeless’ won an award for ‘audience best play’ in a festival in Coolgrayney last year.
Ballina Dramatic Society, Mayo
Roy – Shane Loftus
Ray – Rodney O’Donnell
Cletis – Paul Canavan
Producer / Director – Hilary Lyons
Production Team Gerry Ring, Tommy Cooke,Trisha Browne, Carmel Traynor
Synopsis: The play takes place in the backyard of a small-town Texas bar in the 1970s. Roy, a brawny macho type is back from Vietnam and boasts of his military and amorous exploits to his brother Ray, a simple small-town boy who adores his brother. Roy loves three things; his country, his young wife and his 1959 pink Thunderbird convertible. With the arrival of Cletis, a gormless store-owner in town who also hero-worships Roy, the underpinnings of Roy’s world and inflated sense of himself begin to unravel as both Cletis and Ray have secrets that leave Roy stunned and suitably chastened.
Ballina Drama Society is 70 years old. They are on record as having produced at least one play every year since 1946! BDS has been the corner-stone of drama in north Mayo, producing a variety of genres in drama from Irish plays to farce, to English comedy of errors. Because of this longevity, they have had hundreds of members on their books, some of whom are second generation. As well as producing quality drama, they contribute annually to local charities.
NB: there will be a 15 minute interval between each play.
Due to demand we are now going to do an additional relaxed performance of Peter Pan on Sat 17 December at 4pm.
You can find out more about what a relaxed performance is here:
On Saturday 29 October four of our youth theatre members travelled to Arnold’s Hotel in Dunfanaghy with tutor Nora Kavanagh to provide an afternoon of Halloween entertainment.
A big thank you to Angel Humm, Sarah Masterson, Adam Boyle and Kai McHugh who kindly donated their performance fee to An Grianán Youth Theatre.
On Friday 28 October members of An Grianán Youth Theatre presented some spooky pre-show entertainment as part of an evening of Gothic themed drama and music which included the feature event Female Gothic from Dyad Productions.
The evening featured a recital of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm by Jasper Kardos and Micaiah O’Muireadhaigh. Adam Boyle and Sarah Masterson performed another Poe classic Annabel Lee. Laramie Carey presented a solo performance of Emily Dickenson’s I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain. Oscar Murtagh and Fergal Lonergan performed The Creature’s Speech from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The performances were directed by youth theatre facilitator Nora Kavanagh.
The youth theatre ensemble also performed as an assortment of druids, ghouls and zombies.
The Donegal Chamber Orchestra performed a wonderful selection of music including Assorted Horrors by Derek Ball, Grieg’s Aase’s Death from Peer Gynt and the truly spine tingling theme from Hitchcock’s Psycho by Bernard Hermann. A huge thank you to Victor Yélamo for the excellent choice of music.