An Grianán Supports

Little Acorns: Short Plays Wanted

We have an idea.

We want to broadcast some original short plays on our social media platforms, free to the general public. They should be between 5 and 10 minutes, and ideally uplifting and fun. Obviously the language used and subjects covered should be able to be broadcast on social media platforms such as Facebook.

Applicants should be over 18 and from the North West.

If chosen you’ll be given a budget of €1000 to create your play. It should have a maximum cast of 4, and a minimum of 2. An Grianán will provide the space and the team to record and edit it, if done in the theatre, adhering to the strictest coronavirus regulations and taking all possible health and safety steps.

The set and lighting design should be very simple, the actors will have to stay at least 2 metres apart, and come from within the permitted travel area under the regulations. Props should be kept to a minimum too.

The plays can be in any language, or indeed in a dialect. There’ll be up to five chosen for recording, hopefully, in March or April, and you can submit your script anytime from now on.

Send your script and a little bit about you to this address.

We’ll put a deadline of the end of February on, but if you miss the deadline we understand and will still consider your idea, we’re here to receive and work with good ideas not to exclude them.

We are particularly interested in receiving submissions from people we’ve never worked with before, of any age, any race or ethnicity, and any gender.

We’re also interested in hearing from people we have worked with before.

Please note: Our stage and backstage area are fully accessible to wheelchair users.

Some helpful hints for your script:

  • A general rule of thumb is one page of dialogue runs about 1.5 minutes long, so you should aim for 4 to 7 pages of dialogue.
  • You should ideally use line spacing between speakers and put stage directions in italics. It makes it much easier for us to read and understand.

And remember, from little acorns tall oak trees grow!

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Let’s Make Some Noise! with Lorcan Strain

Last month Lórcan Strain, from Milford, was the first of our Make Some Noise ! Bursary Award Winners to come into the theatre to take some time and space to work on his play.

Early on in the week he worked with a Director and playwright, and at the end of the week Dance DJ, Producer and Record label boss Louise DaCosta who came in to work on some music for the play, and its fair to say those two hit it off immediately !

 

This is going to be a really exciting show.

We’re delighted to be able to support local talent this way, made possible by our grants from the Arts Council and Donegal County Council.

 

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Looking ahead to 2021 with Little John Nee

“If you’d  told me last year that I wouldn’t be allowed to travel more than two kilometres from home and that even sitting in a nice room with good people might be dangerous I would have smiled and felt sorry for you.”

In the new year we welcome back Little John Nee who will be joining us a theatre artist in residency in a new project supported by the Arts Council. The residency is a partnership between An Grianán, Town Hall Theatre Galway, Galway Co. Arts Office, Donegal Arts Service and Árus Éanna Arts Centre Inis Oírr Island, Galway. 

Tea Dance by Little John Nee & The Tea Dance Triode

I had no notion this time last year that all my upcoming plans, hopes and dreams would evaporate so fast. Things seldom go exactly as planned, I make allowances for that, but I hadn’t pencilled in the possibility that all the theatres would close or that live performance would almost exclusively occur online. If you’d told me last year that I wouldn’t be allowed to travel more than two kilometres from home and that even sitting in a nice room with good people might be dangerous I would have smiled and felt sorry for you. All I know how to do is make shows. That’s nearly my solution to everything. So I just kept going, working in my garage/studio. I was lucky, preparedness meets opportunity, and thanks to support from An Grianán I got to tour as part of Earagail Arts Festival, performing “Tilt of the Sky” for small socially distanced audiences outdoors. Arriving in mostly wee towns and villages, the time of the show not advertised so as to avoid large crowds gathering. That last sentence needs to be followed by a string of emojis. I am so glad and grateful I got to do it, it was magical, setting up, telling the story and singing the songs with those tentative audiences at the mercy of the summer weather. And my leopardskin brothel creepers caused a stir in Raphoe before the show even started.

Little John Nee performing Tilt of the Sky at the Earagail Arts Festival in July 2020.

“it feels like we’ve arrived in the right place at the right time, more aware than ever that adaptability is at the core of creativity.”

We began talking about this 2021 residency in 2019, we had no idea how dramatically things were about to change but strangely it feels like we’ve arrived in the right place at the right time, more aware than ever that adaptability is at the core of creativity.

I think we’re all different people now but the heart of the residency remains the same. I was part inspired by the legendary Johnny Doherty, Donegal’s beloved Traveller fiddle player. Nowadays we pride ourselves on our sophistication yet I often marvel at the sophistication of the artists who travelled this country for centuries, or those that stayed put in the one place but brought their neighbours on extravagant journeys of the imagination nevertheless. There was an emotional intelligence at play in the exchange between performer and audience that we seldom see now, a unique transmission of complex ideas and a world of information.

So as part of the residency I’d like to celebrate people coming together to tell stories, “in the one place”, connecting us not dividing us. It’s my belief that art makes us feel more like ourselves. I have a notion of including a sort of encyclopaedia of local artists that have made an impression but are in danger of being forgotten, likely they never considered themselves artists. I have no notion the best way to go about that yet, maybe online, possibly on audio or possibly we’ll meet in a car park late at night and you’ll surreptitiously pass me a scrap of paper with a name on it. I think it would be good also to look at how come there came to be a festival of world music and culture in Letterkenny way way before it was fashionable. Did Peter Gabriel pass through town during the International Folk festival in 1976 and get the idea for WOMAD? Did he rob our idea?

In this short blog it’s not practical to cover all the ideas or projects we hope to realise. It is a hope to have “In the one place” performances on the islands of Arranmore, Inisheer and Inishboffin Co. Galway and if the good islanders are willing we might add Inishboffin in Donegal to the list.

Half of the residency takes place in County Galway and at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway City and there will be similar events there on themes specific to the localities.

So there are plenty of details to follow, but I’d like to finish here by telling you there will be two new theatre production one in April and one in Autumn/Early winter. The first is a collaboration with the brilliant Laura Sheeran, “Drone Bone Jetty” A filmic/live performance hybrid set in a dystopian future where travel is limited, the climate is in peril but at least the pubs are open. The working title of the second show is “All the Small Ocean” and is a galivanting post pandemic spin from Donegal to Kerry hugging the Atlantic coast all the way like a teddy bear.

Little John Nee, December 2020.

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Sister Black – watch online this weekend

An Grianán Theatre has the fourth of its series of online shows broadcast this weekend and it’s very much a local affair. Ramelton based actor and playwright Maggie Hannon brings her first show to the stage, and to the audience, virtually.

The play has been directed by the very experienced Gweedore actor Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhrighde. It’s been recorded by the team at An Grianån Theatre with assistance from the team at the RCC in Letterkenny, and the play is about Catherine Black, a nurse from Ramelton who became King George V’s private nurse in the last seven years of his life.

The show can be watched at any time on Saturday and Sunday and tickets are €10 each. You only need one ticket no matter how many people are watching with you.

‘It’s been a great learning experience’, explained Daithi Ramsay, Marketing Manager of An Grianán Theatre, Daithi is from Letterkenny and now lives in Ramelton.

‘I myself have been doing the video and sound editing, and it’s a steep learning curve! It’s great though at a time like this to be able to support a local artist in this way. We had Maggie’s show booked in but obviously in level 5 we couldn’t go ahead with an audience, but this way she will get paid, the audience can get to see her in the comfort of their own homes, and with the video she also has a calling card to take to other venues.’

‘Broadcasting has obviously come about as a stop gap until we can work at full capacity again but I really think it’s here to stay, I think it’ll go hand in hand with live performances in the future, which is why it’s so important for us to skill up in this way, and it’s been a fantastic way to connect with the Donegal diaspora all over the world. We’re getting a tremendous response from all over the world!’

Written and performed by Margaret Hannon. Catherine Black (1878-1949) MBE, was born in Ramelton. She trained as a nurse in England and worked in the slums of Whitechapel, at the Somme in World war 1, and as King George V’s private nurse in the last 7 years of his life. Her memoir ‘King’s nurse Beggar’s nurse’ was published in 1939 and there’s a copy in the library at Buckingham Palace. This one-woman play is based on that memoir. She is coming to the end of her remarkable life. She has been exposed to the best and worst of humanity, and has always focused valiantly on forgetting the latter. At last she realises that the past doesn’t go away, and that the only way to forget is to remember.

See Sister Black online this weekend, 25th and 26th November – book here.

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Announcing the Let’s Make Some Noise! Bursary Recipients

An Grianán Theatre has announced the five recipients of its Let’s Make Some Noise Bursaries. Each recipient will receive up to €4000 to develop their work as well as time in An Grianán Theatre’s auditorium, production support, promotion and documentation.

 

The five recipients are Brenda Kelly, Eirú Dance Company, Lorcan Strain, Miranda Rosenberg and Orson Sterritt. 

 

48 different projects from 36 different artists were put forward and it proved a very difficult process to create a final short list.  Patricia McBride, Director of An Grianan Theatre said ”‘What stood out in these five applications was that we could see how they would use the bursary right now to further the work they proposed, and how the theatre could make a positive contribution to that process. This money will go to support not just the named artists, but it will enable them to provide further employment for other artists and arts professionals.’ 

 

 Daithi Ramsay, Marketing Manager of An Grianán Theatre added , ‘What’s really wonderful about this is that we’ve started conversations with so many people, from all over the North West. It’s not just these five who will receive our support. There will be other projects arising from the bursary submissions which will form part of our work in 2021 and beyond. This is the start of something very special. We’re very excited about the breadth of talent which is here in our community, and it’s given us all a great lift to be able to be able to support it in what is such a difficult time.” 

 

Ériu Dance Company

 

Ériu Dance Company’s latest initiative, The Village, will be a play with music and dance, and is a further development of Ériu’s ever-evolving aesthetic and dance-making practice under its Artistic Director, Gweedore’s Breandán de Gallaí. The Village sees 5 people gather on a hill looking down on the townland where they all grew up. As they watch the lights go out over the village, it’s not clear what brings them together now, and what connects them, other than The Village. 

 

Lorcan Strain 

 

Lórcan Strain is a young Actor, Musician, Drag Artist and Writer from Milford. He graduated with a BA Hons in Performing Arts from IT Sligo and is also a graduate of Acting for Screen at the prestigious Bow Street Academy, Dublin. He has trained with The Blue Raincoats, Sligo and Theatre Lovett, Dublin and can also be seen in the final series of Game of Thrones. Lorcan will be developing a fast paced theatre piece that will give the audience a glimpse into what it is like to be gay in the countryside.

 

Mirenda Rosenberg 

 

Singer-songwriter Mirenda Rosenberg, who is originally from the United States, blends African American roots with contemporary Irish musical textures. She is known for her dynamic, emotionally provocative performances. She will be doing further development on her one woman show, in which she details how she overcame a religiously sheltered childhood, and controlling relationships, to become the powerhouse performer she is today. A short version of the show debuted online at this year’s Donegal Bay and Bluestacks’ Festival. 

 

Orson Sterritt 

 

Orson Sterritt has been involved in the local theatre scene for most of his adult life, making his drama debut at the age of 17 in An Grianan Theatre with the LMDG production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Discovering an avid affection for theatre and the entertainment industry, he continued on to spend years working backstage at various events, leading him to eventually set up his own businesses North West Events, and The Big Top Circus Workshop. The bursary will enable Orson to develop his ‘Giddy Up Theatre Show’, a street theatre and magic show which will travel in a horse box. 

 

Brenda Kelly 

 

Brenda Kelly is a writer, playwright & filmmaker. She is inspired to create compelling stories and explore quirky situations with the written word. This has led to successful work in both film and theatre. With a background in Architecture, she has an eye for the theatrical and a clear vision for each piece of work. She uses humour and honesty to bring stories to life.
The An Grianán bursary will allow Brenda to write and develop her short musical play ‘ODD’ into a full length musical with new music by Fionn Robinson. The original short was written in 2016 as a part of Waving not Drowning: The Mental Health Roadshow under the umbrella of Bread and Roses Theatre Company. It is a comic and poignant play that follows a man and a woman with debilitating self-consciousness and social awkwardness as they overcome obstacles to fulfil their need for love and connectedness. 

 

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Celebrate Halloween with the Morrigan online

Louise Conaghan in The Morrigan, performed at An Grianán for Culture Night 2020. Photo by Paul McGuckin.

A treat for Samhain! We are busy recording this show right now in readiness to screen it this weekend.

Written and performed by Louise Conaghan, The Morrigan is a fun show suitable for family audiences.

The Ancient Irish Gods and Goddesses have been roused from their slumber! This clown…ahem…goddess must find a way back to the Otherworld but before she does, she wants to know what on earth has been happening since she last walked it.

We’re offering this show on a pay what you can basis – you are very welcome to watch this show for free however if you are able to make a donation we would appreciate it so much. We suggest a price of €5 per person.

It will be streaming from 12pm on Sat 31 Oct to midnight on Sun 1 November.

How to book

Just follow the booking link, book your ticket – you only need to book one ticket per household, and then add a donation if you can (if you do choose to make a donation please leave your free ticket in the cart too)  – and we’ll send you details on how to watch the show.

If you don’t see the confirmation email in your inbox please check if it has gone into your spam folder or your social and promotional folders.

NB: our phone lines are currently closed while we remain under level 5 restrictions – we can be contacted by email here if you have any queries about the show.

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Closed but work continues…Revved

The ongoing Covid restrictions are keeping our doors closed to the public but our work continues.

Recently we had local actor Patrick Quinn in for a development week on his new play Revved.

As a child Patrick, who is from Newmills in Letterkenny, was an active participant in our junior drama classes and An Grianán Youth Theatre. Now a drama graduate of Queen’s University, and currently studying for his MA at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Patrick has also appeared in a number of productions at An Grianán most recently in our outdoor production of The Winter’s Tale.

It was wonderful to be able to offer him the space and time to work on his new play, a drama set around the Donegal Rally. He was joined by director Emily Foran and stage manager Jude Barriscale to help him transition his play from page to stage.

We also had puppeteer Karen Torley of Banyan Theatre come into help Patrick infuse life into the props he’s planning to use in the play.

Watch out for Revved next year!

Side note: We should have been spending this winter working with Karen Torley on our big Christmas show, a special seasonal adaption of her show The Selkie called The Selkie’s Christmas Wish but alas Covid put an end to that. Here’s hoping that wishes really can come true and we can do it for Christmas 2021 instead.

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Manny Man Does the History of Ireland – Free Online Screening

Manny Man Does the History of Ireland on Stage Online - streaming 19 to 25 October 2020

We are making our production of John D Ruddy’s Manny Man Does The History of Ireland On Stage available to watch free online from Monday 19th through Sunday 25th October.

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Let’s Make Some Noise – An Grianán Theatre Bursaries

Let's Make Some Noise - announcing An Grianán's theatre artist bursary award scheme.

The stage is quiet, the lights are dim and the dressing rooms empty… it’s time to make some noise and shine the lights.

We are offering 4 bursaries of up to €4000 each for theatre artists from the North West.

At An Grianán Theatre we’ve always supported local artists. Our stage was always busy and behind the scenes, we were also busy offering time and support to local artists, with advice, networking opportunities, finance, technical and marketing support as well as production and touring work. We’ve maybe not shouted enough about our artists’ supports, but we’re shouting now.

If you are based in the North West, or from the North West or have some connections with here, we want to hear from you. Maybe you have a show you’re writing that needs some development, we’re here for you. Maybe you need to work with a Director, or a Lighting Designer, we’re here for you. Maybe you have an idea that is just starting out and you need time and space to evolve your idea. Whatever stage you are at, we’re here for you.

We welcome applications from all artists and encourage applications by artists from a diversity of national, ethnic or cultural groups (including, but not limited to, Asian, Black, Traveller and minority ethnic, refugees, people with disabilities, working-class and LGBTQI+ artists). If you’re an artist who usually works in a production context we also want to hear from you. If you’ve never worked with us before, we want to hear from you, if you have worked with us before we still want to hear from you.

We intend to award 4 commissions and each commission is valued up to €4000. Additional production support, promotion and documentation will be provided by An Grianán.

The work can be developed with any space, physical or online, in mind but we’d like some of the development work to take place here in An Grianán.

We’d like you to send us your idea in whatever form works best for you, text (no more than 1 page), audio, video etc. Please submit them by email here (we will accept Dropbox or WeTransfer links). You can also send any questions and queries to this email address.

Applications are due by 12pm on Monday 28 September 2020. We will communicate decisions to artists by Friday 2 October 2020. Applications will be shortlisted by the Director and the theatre’s core team.

If you miss the deadline we still want to hear from you.

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