Production Archive

Nostalgia: Sparkplug Trouble by Little John Nee, 2013

Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do: even if it means getting in touch with his inner cowboy, not easy for a bluesman like Sparkplug Callaghan.

Nostalgia: Sparkplug Troubles was Little John Nee’s follow up to Sparkplug which won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Sound Design and was also broadcast as a radio play by RTE. This time he’s in for a life changing encounter with the Amish of County Tyrone…

Tour Dates

An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny: 10th and 11th May 8pm
Arranmore Community Centre, Arranmore: 18th May 8pm
The Alley Theatre, Strabane: 23rd May 3pm
Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny: 30th May 3pm
The Anchor Arts Centre, Moville: 31st May 8pm

This project was part-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council.

Read more

On the Camel’s Hump, 2013

Part of the A Sense of Memory project
2012 to 2013

Written by Guy Le Jeune
Directed by Sean Donegan

In May 2012 An Grianán started the Sense of Memory project. Our facilitators set out to travel along the routes of the railways of Donegal, Derry and Tyrone, working with groups of older people who lived and worked beside the tracks that stretched across the North West.

Through a series of reminiscence sessions memories of times gone by were collected: stories of the railways, the mills, the farms and factories; stories of the characters, of work and play, of smuggling and hawkers; stories of love and loss, joy and sadness. They are stories that unite us and speak of our shared experiences, no matter where we make our home.

From these stories came a new play, called On the Camel’s Hump, which aimed to give a flavour of those memories and stories. Written by Guy Le Jeune, directed by Sean Donegan and featuring performers Andrew Galvin, Fionn Robinson, Aoife Toner and Susie Lamb, with costumes and design by Joanne Quigley. On the Camel’s Hump is a joyous celebration of the stories heard along the railway routes. It is full of fun, music and laughter.

The show toured community venues in the border counties including public performances in Letterkenny, Ballybofey, Strabane and Donegal Town as well as special performances for those community groups which took part in the reminiscence sessions.

In addition to the play, there was also an exhibition to accompany the project which ran at An Grianán Theatre in Spring 2013. Curated by Kate Brown, the exhibition featured recollections from some of the workshop participants as well as examples of furniture, music, vintage hats and other artefacts from the early tomid twentienth century.

A Sense of Memory was produced by An Grianán Theatre, in association with Reminiscence Network Northern Ireland, The Alley Theatre, Strabane and Voice of Older People Donegal and was part-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council.

Tour Dates 2013

Tues 16 April An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny 2pm & 8pm – Public show

Wed 17 April An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny 8pm – Public Show

Mon 22 April Loreto School, Milford 10.15am (Invited audience only)

Tue 23 April Pobalscoil Cloich Cheann Fhaola, Falcarragh 2pm (Invited audience only)

Tue 23 April An tSean Bheairic, Falcarragh 8pm – Public Show

Wed 24 April St Johnston Family Resource Centre, St Johnston 11.15am (Invited audience only)

Thu 25 April Ionad Naomh Padraig Dore, Gweedore 8pm – Public Show

Fri 26 April Volt House, Raphoe 11.15am (Invited audience only)

Mon 29 April St Conal’s Hospital, Letterkenny 7pm (Invited audience only)

Tue 30 April Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny. HSE group 12pm (Invited audience only)

Wed 1 May Milford Nursing Home 7pm (Invited audience only)

Thu 2 May Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Bealtaine Festival 2pm and 7pm – Public Shows

Sat 4 May Cushendun Big Arts Weekend 8pm – Public Show

Wed 8 May Sion Mills Community Association 7pm – Public Show

Fri 10 May Bessie Bell Court, Newtownstewart 7pm (Invited audience only)

Mon 13 May Balor Theatre, Ballybofey 7pm – Public Show

Thu 16 May The Alley Theatre, Strabane 2pm – Public Show

Fri 17 May St Eugene’s Hall, Moville 8pm – Public Show

Mon 20 May Raphoe Royal and Prior School 2pm (Invited audience only)

Fri 24 May Lifford Hospital 11am (Invited audience only)

Sat 25 May Donegal Railway Museum 3pm and 6pm – Public Shows

Read more

Readers for Peace, 2013

Patrick Quinn performing at the Readers for Peace festival in 2013. Photo by Paul McGuckin.

The Readers for Peace: Open Stage Festival was part of our Custom Crossings series of events in 2012 and 2013.

Curated by Israeli born playwright Idan Meir (Bassam), the festival featured a mixture of rehearsed readings, open mic, spoken word, cabaret and discussions centred around themes of conflict and reconciliation.

Friday saw the opening ceremony at 5pm, where festival curator Idan Meir said a few words, storyteller Joseph Brennan told some yarns and the tone was set for the rest of the weekend with some choice excerpts from selected play readings.

Billy Banda and Theo Guessela performing a rehearsed reading of Sizwe Bansi is Dead at the Readers for Peace Festival, 2013. Photo by Paul McGuckin.

The evening continued at with a reading of Sizwe Bansi is Dead, a play by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona of South Africa. The story follows migrant worker Sizwe Bansi struggling to survive, against a racist society and with his own identity as he makes a crucial choice about who he really wants to be!
Directed by Idan Meir and read by Billy Banda and Theo Guessela.

The final event of the day was a reading of Tom Paulin’s modern interpretation of Oedipus at Colonus at 8pm. Director Charlie Bonner, along with a full cast and chorus, brought this play reading to life.

Saturday’s schedule began at 1pm with the screening of Incendies (Scorched), a film adapted from the play of the same name by Wajdi Mouawad. This tale of two Canadian twins who must uncover the secrets of their mother’s past on a journey to the middle east will be followed by a post-show discussion hosted by Fadl Mustapha and Idan Meir.

The afternoon continued with the Open Mic at 4pm, an hour in which new plays, performers, poetry and prose were given a chance to be heard in the pleasant surroundings of the lobby of the theatre.

At 5.30pm, Smashing Times presented a monologue, THOU SHALT NOT KILL by Paul Kennedy, after which Cathy White and Idan Meir facilitated a workshop exploring the use of drama for both keeping and building peace.

Saturday’s events concluded with a reading of Again and Against, a play which explores post-9/11 American attitudes to people of middle eastern descent. A politically active Arab-American named Dahlia is interrogated by fellow Arab-American Omar, an FBI agent, and must decide whether to side with her lover or the law.
Directed by Caitriona McLaughlin.

 

Karen Quinn and Dessie Gallagher performing at the Readers for Peace Festival in 2013. Photo by Paul McGuckin.

Sunday’s events began at 1pm with a reading of A Little World of Our Own, Gary Mitchell’s taut thriller set in the house of a UDA hardman against the backdrop of the ongoing troubles in Northern Ireland.
Directed by Giuliano Campo

The afternoon continued with the Open Mic at 4pm, an hour in which more new plays, performers, poetry and prose were given a chance to be heard in the pleasant surroundings of the lobby of the theatre.

Dave Duggan presented a work in progress, called DENIZEN which was followed with a post show writer’s lab allowing audiences members an incite into the creative process.

The final performance was Hanoch Levin’s You and Me and the Next War, a darkly comical cabaret which satirises the Six-Day War of 1967. Levin, a controversial and significant voice in Israel, was on of the first public voices in Israel to dissent against the senselessness of this conflict.
Directed by Idan Meir.

The festival finished with a Long Table Discussion at 9pm. All were invited to gather and share their experiences of the weekend, be it as a director, actor, audience member or other participant.

This project was part-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council.

Full schedule of events

Friday 26 April
5pm
Opening Ceremony
Idan Meir
Words from the curator and extracts from upcoming events.

5.30pm
Sizwe Bansi is Dead
Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona (Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
play reading
In apartheid South Africa, one man’s struggle for survival forces him to confront a conundrum about killing his own identity.

8pm
Oedipus at Colonus
Tom Paulin (Northern Ireland)
play reading
A modern interpretation of Sophocles’ classic tale of the fall and redemption of Oedipus,the most famous refugee in Ancient Greece.

Saturday 27 April
1pm
Scorched
Wajdi Mouawad (Lebanon – Canada)
Film screening
Canadian twins of Lebanese descent must uncover the secrets of their mother’s past as they travel to the Middle East.

4pm
Local Voices
Coffee, tea and Open Mic
Monologues and poetry from local artists, refreshments and entertainment.

5.30pm
Thou Shalt Not Kill
Paul Kennedy (Dublin – Ireland)
Monologue & workshop
Presented by Smashing Times Theatre Company with Cathy White & Idan Meir
How can we use theatre and drama for peace keeping and peace building?

8pm
Again and Against
Betty Shamieh (USA – Palestine)
play reading
Politically active Arab-American Dahlia is interrogated by fellow Arab-American FBI agent Omar and must choose whether to side with her lover or the law.

Sunday 28 April
1pm
In a Little World of Our Own
Gary Mitchell (North Belfast, Northern Ireland)
play reading
A taut thriller set in the house of a UDA hard man during the troubles in Northern Ireland.

4pm
Local Voices
Coffee, tea and Open Mic
Monologues and poetry from local artists, refreshments and entertainment.

5.30pm
Denizen
Dave Duggan (Derry/Londonderry)
Writer’s Lab

8pm
You, Me and the Next War
Hanoch Levin (Israel – Middle East)
play reading
1968 play by Levin, Israel’s most controversial and significant playwright, and the first public voice against the senselessness of the 1967 war. A darkly humorous cabaret for four actors and piano.

9pm
Long Table Discussion
All Participants
Closing Ceremony

Read more

The Freedom of the City, 2013

January/February 2013

THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY
by Brian Friel
An Grianán Theatre Productions

Directed by Sean Donegan

First produced in 1973, The Freedom of the City is Brian Friel’s most overtly political play. Set in Derry in 1970, in the aftermath of a Civil Rights meeting, it conjures the events of Bloody Sunday.

Three unarmed marchers, find themselves in the mayor’s parlour in the Guildhall. Michael is an unemployed idealist clinging to a heartbreakingly misguided belief that their innocence will prevail. Skinner is a self-described “freeman of the city,” rough in manners but eloquent in his conviction that everyone has a basic right to live with dignity. And Lily is a stubbornly optimistic housewife and mother of 11 children, living in two rooms with a useless husband and no running water.

Reports and rumours exaggerate their ‘occupation’ and they are shot by British soldiers as they leave. The play documents the victims’ final hours and a subsequent tribunal of the inquiry into their deaths.

As Frank Marcus wrote in The Sunday Telegraph “Friel fleshes the awful, numbing casualty statistics and gives them breath and life”.

An Grianán Theatre returned to the play in the context of the 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the revelations from the Saville Enquiry.

Cast

Lily – Claire Cogan
Michael – Jason Daly
Skinner – Francis Harkin

The Chorus
Priest – Aidan Oí Sullivan
Soldier – Daniel Gibbons
Soldier – Fionn Robinson
Judge – Edward Flanagan
Police Constable – Mark Magill
Dr. Dodds – Andrew Gavin
Balladeer – Paul Kelly
Major Johnson Hansbury – Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhrighde
Oí Kelly, RT… – Michael Leddy
Derry Citizen – Valerie Bryce
Derry Citizen – Esther McCorkell
Derry Citizen – Bernie Wilson

PRODUCTION TEAM
Director – Sean Donegan
Production Manager/Lighting Designer – Niall Cranney
Stage Manager – Maeve Sweeney
Costume Designer – Joanne Quigley
Sound Designer – Paul Rooney
Marketing and Communications – Diarmaid McCaffrey

Special Thanks
Donegal County Council, the Donegal County Development Board, One Donegal and all our Peace III partners, the RCC and all the RCC staff, Godís Shoestrings, Premier Sale Shop, The Old Courthouse, Alphie McCollum, Donegal County Museum, Mary Faughnan for graphic design, Jason McGroarty for cast headshots.

An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny
Thur 31 Jan- Sat 2 Feb at 8pm

Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey
Thursday 7th Feb at 8.30pm

Alley Theatre, Strabane
Sat 9th Feb at 8pm

Millennium Forum, Derry
Mon 11 Feb at 8pm, Tues 12 Feb at 10.30am

This project was part-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council.

Read more

Bassam, 2012

An Grianán Theatre Production

By Idan Meir

The play Bassam is about one man’s journey from violence to non-violence and explores the broader moral themes of forgiveness and hope during the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The play demonstrates parallels with issues of conflict resolution in Ireland. At the core of the story, the play asks of its audience: ‘What motivates people to say no to violence and choose the road to peace?’

Bassam is a one man show based on the true story of Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian peace activist whose daughter, Abir, was killed by a border soldier on 16 January 2007. From the age of fifteen, Bassam spent seven years in an Israeli prison for attacking Israeli soldiers during the first Palestinian uprising in 1987. In 2005, Bassam co-founded the Israeli-Palestine peace movement, Combatants for Peace (CFP). CFP is a group of ex-Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian prisoners who have joined together to end the Israeli-Palestine conflict through dialogue and community action.

Two years after founding CFP, Bassam Aramin’s daughter Abir died as a result of a shot to the head from a rubber bullet. In spite of his personal tragedy Bassam continued his peace work.

The play Bassam was written in 2008 by Idan Meir, a former Israeli soldier. Idan spent five years in the military and saw a dozen members of his unit, including his best friend, killed in fighting in southern Lebanon in the late 1990s. The pain was one of the things that moved me to search for different ways of dealing with ‘the enemy’. When I met Bassam I wanted to bring his story to a place where people could hear and see what is going on and show them that the pain of ‘the other’ is just the same as our pain.

Each performance of the play which is approximately 50 minutes long is followed by a post show discussion workshop facilitated by Idan Meir.

Bassam is played by Fadl Mustapha.

Bassam was performed at a play reading at An Grianán in Nov 2011 with Charlie Bonner as part of the One Donegal Festival.

Tour Dates 2012

10-Oct
An Grianan Theatre
11 AM and 8 PM

13-Oct
Trialough Community Centre, Fanad
4:00 PM

15-Oct
Playhouse Theatre, Derry/Londonderry
11:00 AM

16-Oct
Balor Arts Centre
11 AM and 8 PM

18-Oct
An Grianan Theatre
11:00 AM

19-Oct
Peadar O Donnell Weekend,
Ionad Tempaill Chrone, Dungloe
8.30 PM

20-Oct
The Sanctuary, White Oaks Complex, Muff
1:00 PM

22-Oct
Library Room, Pobal Gaoth Dobhair
11.20 and 2 PM

24-Oct
Abbey Centre, Ballyshannon
8 PM

30-Oct
CKS Community Centre, Omagh

6-Nov
Alley Theatre Strabane
10.30 AM

7-Nov
Ionad an Chrois Bhealaigh, Árainn Mhór
10:00 AM

8-Nov
Tullyarvan Mill, Buncrana
8:00 PM

9-Nov
St Columba’s Comprehensive School, Glenties
11:00 AM

10-Nov
The Yard, Falcarragh
8.30 pm

14-Nov
Mulroy College, Milford
11:00 AM

15-Nov
Ardara Heritage Centre, Ardara
8:00 PM

19-Nov
Moville Community College
11:00 AM

This project is part-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council.

Read more

A Bag of Queens, 2012

Little John Nee in A Bag of Queens, 2012. Photo by Paul McGuckin.

2012

An Grianán Theatre Productions

A Bag of Queens was part of a series of shows by Little John Nee featuring the character Sparkplug Callaghan, a musical odyssey that races along with Little John’s trademark comic storytelling style, exploring themes of random acts of kindness, responsibility, loneliness, greed and creative expression, in a gentle and fun way.

A favour for a friend leads Sparkplug to an old grocery and hardware shop at a country crossroads. Inside he discovers a lost treasure of consumer items that now assume a very different meaning and value. When he visits the elderly shopkeeper in a retirement home he is cast off in an adventure to a city that’s tearing itself apart for want of more ‘stuff.

The show is about human relationships and it gives children an appreciation and connection with the lives of older people as well as offering a view of being “a fish out of water” and what it is like to be “different” in a new community.

Suitable for children ages 7+

Tour Dates 2012

Mon 1 Oct
12 PM
Edinagh National School

Tues 2 Oct
11 AM and 1 PM
Methodist Hall, Ardara

Wed 3 Oct
11.15 AM and 1.15 PM
Inver Community Centre

Thurs 4 Oct
10 AM and 12 PM
St McCartan’s National School

Fri 5 Oct
10 AM and 12 PM
St Brigid’s Community Hall, Ballintra

Tues 9 Oct
10 AM
Ionad an Chrois Bhealaigh
Árainn Mhór

Wed 10 Oct
10 AM and 12 PM
Ionad Naomh Patrick

Fri 12 Oct
10 AM and 12 PM
An tSeanbiaric, Falcarragh

Tues 16 & 17 Oct
10 AM and 12 PM
Regional Cultural Centre

Wed 17 Oct
10 and 12 at RCC

Wed 24 Oct
10 AM and 12 PM
Balor Arts Centre

Thurs 25 Oct
10 AM and 12 PM
Alley Theatre

Fri 2 Nov
12 PM and 3 PM
An Grianán Theatre

This project was part-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council.

 

Read more

Custom Crossings 2012/2013

Customs’ Crossings was a project part-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council.

It consisted of six separate sub-projects that were both process and performance based and aimed individuals of all ages and circumstances and community organisations.

The project’s title harked back to times when crossing the border necessitated passing through Customs, Garda, Police and Army checkpoints; for this project it described the interchange of customs and traditions between communities and across the border, leading to a greater understanding of what connects us.

The aim of the project was to focus on the things that unite us as people; to celebrate that which is common to all citizens living in the border areas of Donegal, Tyrone and Derry. It linked a number of groups from both sides of the border in workshops, performance, seminars and master classes with the emphasis on social inclusion, diversity, cultural understanding and conflict resolution.

The Projects

A Bag of Queens
A theatre show for children by Little John Nee. Aimed at primary and special needs schools it was accompanied by a workshop programme.

Bassam
A play about one man’s journey from violence to non-violence which explored the broader moral themes of forgiveness and hope during the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Solas and the Travellers’ Project
A project which developed on from the work made and contacts formed from Little John Nee’s 2010/2011 residency as part of the “Understanding Our Shared History” project. John Nee and a team of facilitators worked with the Solas Mental Health Group based in An Sean Bhearic, Falcarragh and Donegal Travellers Group.

The Freedom of the City
A community theatre production of Brian Friel’s The Freedom of the City.

Sparkplug Troubles
A play by Little John Nee which we toured to geographically remote community centres as well as theatre venues.

Readers for Peace
A festival of rehearsed readings of 9 different plays; from contemporary Irish and Northern Irish playwrights, post colonial plays from South Africa and Algeria, works from the civil war days of Lebanon, from Israel, Spain, Italy, Ancient Greece.

Read more

Molly Sweeney, 2012

by Brian Friel
An Grianán Theatre Productions

Brian Friel’s superb “Molly Sweeney” won the 1996 New York Drama Critics Circle Award. The story revolves around a courageous blind Irishwoman Molly Sweeney; Frank, her charmingly enthusiastic husband; and Mr. Rice, the alcoholic eye surgeon who partially restores her sight. In separate speeches, each recalls his or her version of the events leading to Molly’s miraculous cure and the shattering aftermath. Directed by Sean McCormack. Cast: Jean Curran, Donal Kavanagh and Kieran Kelly.

Sat 13 April at 8pm

Read more

Winners and Afterplay, 2011

Brian Friel Living Quarters rehearsed reading

Brian Friel

By Brian Friel

Fri 18 & Sat 19 November at 8pm

This was the third Friel project we presented in 2011 to mark Brian Friel being named Donegal Person of the Year, this time a community theatre project featuring two one act plays – Winners from his 1967 play Lovers and Afterplay, his 2002 one act drama inspired by Chekhov.

In Winners, a teenage couple study for their final examines on a sunny day outside. Their future seems to be all set: Mag is pregnant, they are engaged to be married, the lease for their flat is signed. The day, however, ends quite differently than expected. Fragile and poetic in style, it is a firm favourite of drama lovers the world over.
Directed by John McGinley
Cast: Sarah McGoohan and Odhran O’Donnell

Afterplay is Friel’s homage to the Russian playwright Chekhov. Twenty years after their previous fictional lives ended, two characters from different Chekhov plays meet by chance. In a run-down café, Andrey Prozorov, the brother of Chekhov’s Three Sisters (and husband of the ghastly Natasha), wanders in to find Sonia Serebryakova, niece of Uncle Vanya. Friel fleshes out the experiences they might have had and the relationship they might pursue.
Directed by Sean McCormack
Cast: Jean Curran, Donal Kavanagh and Kieran Kelly (voice).

Read more

Aristocrats, 2011

By Brian Friel

An Grianán Theatre co production with Workhouse Productions

Directed by Iarla McGowan

Time has not been kind to the O’Donnells and their once high social standing has dwindled along with their finances. They return to their ancestral homestead in Ballybeg for a wedding but dramatic events overtake them bringing us both comedy and tragedy. Friel’s chronicle of three sisters and their ‘peculiar’ brother reveals the way ‘in which the ache of one family becomes the microcosm for the ache of a society’.

Aristocrats was a co-production with the rthen ecently established Workhouse Productions and was one of three Friel projects undertaken by An Grianán in 2011 to mark the occasion of Brian Friel being named Donegal Person of the Year.

Cast

Willie Diver – Sean Hanrahan
Tom Hoffnung – Jamie Menard
Uncle George – Sean McCormack
Casimir – Chris O’Shea
Alice – Orla McGranaghan
Eamon – Shaun Byrne
Claire – Clare McMahon
Judith – Maura Logue
Father – Gerard McSorley
Anna’s Voice – Elaine Gillespie

Creative Team

Director – Iarla McGowan
Producer – Patricia McBride
Production Manager – Niall Cranney
Stage Manager – Anne Marie Langan
Set Design – Abby Price
Assistant Set Designer – Chris Achilles
Costume Design – Joanne Quigley
Sound Design – Peter Rose
Set Construction – Phil Ruddock
Construction Assistants – Paul McMonagle,Luke Kelly and Brendan Roof
Production Assistant – Kieran Kelly
Make-up/Hair – Joanne Gillen
Photographer – Declan Doherty

Tour dates 2011

Wed 28 September to Sat 1 October at 8pm
An Grianán Theatre

Thu 6 October
Abbey Arts Centre Ballyshannon

Fri 7 October
Garage Theatre, Monaghan

Sun 9 October
The Community Centre Glenties

Read more