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Monologues, An Grianán Youth Theatre, 2021

February 2021

Presented by An Grianán Youth Theatre

Monologues – An Grianán Youth Theatre from AnGrianan Theatre on Vimeo.

Our youth theatre monologues project was created in an effort to try and maintain youth theatre classes during Covid-19 restrictions over Winter 2020. When we first pitched the project in August 2020, we were still in a level 3 lockdown and in person classes were feasible, albeit with very reduced class numbers. Our intention had been to deliver a hybrid programme of both in person and online classes. However within a few weeks we were at first moved to level 4 and then, with the rest of the country, level 5, and all of our classes had to be delivered online. Our members stuck with us and in December, adhering to very strict quarantine measures, we were finally able to get our students into the theatre, one by one, to film their monologues.

The students were from our senior youth theatre with an age range of 13 to 18.

Want to join our youth theatre? We’re currently taking a break but if you would to be added to our waiting list you can do so by sending an eMail here – use the subject line ‘Youth Theatre Waiting List’.

A Bedtime Story
Written and performed by Inan Ekici

Always and Forever
Written by Frankie Wade
Performed by Niamh Langan and Frankie Wade

Audition
Written and performed by
Evin O’Donnell

Blank
Written and performed by
Isaac Morrison

Ghost
Written and performed by
Niamh Langan

Home
Written by Erinn Sweeney
Performed by Alice O’Connor

Late
Written and performed by
Shauna O’Donnell

My Last Word
Written by Kate Smyth
Performed by Zoe McCauley

Shipwrecked
Written and performed by
Jack Lydon

The Poem
Written and performed by
Siobhan O’Brien

The Proposition of Bianco Caruso
Written and performed by
Jade Ormond

The Undoing
Written by Ellen McMorrow
Performed by Ella Terry Sweeney

Director: Nora Kavanagh
Production Manager: Niall Cranney
Sound: Peter Rose
Filming: Eugene McGinty, Charlie Joe Doherty
Editing: Nicola Burns

Recorded at An Grianán Theatre, December 2020 in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions.

Special thanks to the team at the Regional Cultural Centre.

An Grianán Youth Theatre is an initiative of An Grianán Theatre.

All rights reserved.

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Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh agus a chairde show raised €3000 for charities.

The recent An Grianán Theatre show for Letterkenny Trad Week, Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh agus a chairde, which was streamed online, raised €3000 for charity, €1500 of which went to The Donegal Hospice and €1500 to Donegal Cancer Flights and Services. 

‘When we were organising the show Mairead said she’d like some of the income to go to these charities and we were very happy to be able to facilitate that’, said Patricia McBride, Director of An Grianán Theatre. The shows raised just under €3000, so we rounded it up and shared it among the two charities which Mairead had identified’ 

All the musicians for the show were paid by An Grianán, and the production was organised by The Regional Cultural Centre, An Grianán’s partner in Letterkenny Trad Week. Indeed so impressive was the quality of the production that TG4 are interested in taking the show for broadcast during their St Patrick’s week celebrations this March. 

The online demand for the show demonstrated the global reach of Mairead and Altan, and how they have gained an appreciative audience all across the globe for this music which originated in Donegal. The show was watched by over 1500 people, with bookings from many different countries such as Japan, Australia, Germany and America. 

In the show Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh was joined by special guests including Manus Lunny, members of Altan, and the Harrigan and McGrory families.

An important part of the show was Mairead’s new composition, commissioned by An Grianán, ‘Ré an t-Solais’….’The Era of Light’, inspired by the hope of a new era after the intensity of the pandemic lockdown of 2020. This new music can be purchased at Mairead’s bandcamp page

Letterkenny Trad Week is a collaboration between An Grianán Theatre and the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny and is now in its 7th year. Both organisations receive annual funding from Donegal County Council and The Arts Council. 

 

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Life, whatever its difficulties, is unquenchable.

Eleanor Methven and Janet Moran in An Grianán Theatre's production of Dancing at Lughnasa, 2002.

“…it is the function of the playwright to slip behind statistics and listen for the other existence, the inner life, the life of the spirit and to pick up its pulse even in the most depleted times.”

In 2002 we were very fortunate to have Brian Friel write a programme note for our production of Dancing at Lughnasa. During these ‘depleted times’ of rolling Lock Downs his words on the importance of art and the inner life of the imagination have a particular resonance today.

It is an accepted belief that Ireland in the Thirties – and counties like Donegal in particular – was a grim and depressed place, a land without hope. And indeed even a casual knowledge of what we call the ‘economic climate’ of that time offers us a dispiriting picture. Emigration was bleeding the country. Money was scarce. A very large portion of the population had a very difficult struggle to make ends meet.

And we have come to believe, too, that the economic climate so overshadowed, so blighted our lives that we became a crabbed, narrow-minded and deeply unhappy people. That we became passive and introspective. That poverty so crushed us that joy became altogether foreign to us. That families merely endured in a kind of dour sulk, silently waiting for the black clouds to break. When we consider the Thirties we think that the whole notion of what it is to be human has to be rethought, redefined.

“Another story, perhaps a truer story, certainly a more comprehensive story, resides in the inner life, the life of the spirit. And that life, whatever its difficulties, is unquenchable.”

It is not the function of a play to take issue with economic facts, but it is the function of the playwright to slip behind statistics and listen for the other existence, the inner life, the life of the spirit and to pick up its pulse even in the most depleted times. Although the Mundy girls were not destitute, they certainly weren’t affluent. An extra penny on the weekly grocery bill is a reason for anxiety. And Maggie’s task of conjuring an adequate meal for eight people out of three eggs doesn’t suggest wealth. And Rose and Aggie, who knitted day and night, still didn’t earn enough to clothe themselves. In economic conditions like these I believe that greater demands are made on the inner life and that it is the responsibility of the spirit – and indeed the imagination – to meet those demands. It is those demands and the responses of the spirit and the imagination to them that are the concerns of the playwright. The Mundy girls (they weren’t girls, of course; they were women; but girls was the language of the time) had no idea they lived in an economic climate of any kind. But they did experience deprivation and depression. And they experienced, too, happiness and great, great joy. And in their brief stage-life each is vibrantly alert to, and uncannily in sympathy with, every nuance of her sister’s thoughts and emotions. They engage with life, all of life. They want to dance, both in defiance and in delight. They give the lie to the belief – the cliché, really – that Ireland in the Thirties was populated only by a suppressed and sullen people. They offer us evidence that the ‘economic climate’ of that time is not the whole story. Another story, perhaps a truer story, certainly a more comprehensive story, resides in the inner life, the life of the spirit. And that life, whatever its difficulties, is unquenchable.

Brian Friel, 2002.

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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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Druid Livestream – Once Upon a Bridge

We are all missing live theatre, but we are thrilled to see our good friends in Druid will be live streaming Once Upon a Bridge direct from The Mick Lally Theatre, Galway from 11-13 Feb .

We had planned to bring the show to Lettterkenny but while we’re disappointed that Druid can’t perform on our stage this Spring, we’re delighted that our audiences don’t have to miss out. We’ve been lucky enough to have 3 previous Sonya Kelly shows, Furniture by Druid, and the hilarious Wheelchair on My Face and How to Keep An Alien which played various venues around the county for the Earagail Arts Festival in 2012 and 2015.

Find out more about Once Upon a Bridge here.

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Letterkenny Trad Week goes online: Will you be watching?

Join us next week for our fully online Letterkenny Trad Week.

While our annual festival of traditional, folk and world music may not be taking place in its usual form, we still wanted to mark 2021 and celebrate our rich heritage of traditional music and song.

We’ll be presenting a special online concert with Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh & Friends on Sun 24 January while our friends at the Regional Cultural Centre will have a series of home videos from artists around Ireland which you will be able to watch on their website or on their Facebook page.

Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Friends

Altan star Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh will be joined by guests including Manus Lunny, the Harrigan family, Ciaran Ó Mhaonaigh as well as some members of Altan.

Mairéad has been commissioned by An Grianán to compose new music for the event. She will curate the evening with the help of friends and colleagues who will join her to showcase some of her original music pieces which she has composed over the years for her band Altan, for Coirm/ Ceol na Coille “Fáilte an Earraigh” (2018) and for her own solo album ‘Imeall’ (2009).

Also other new music will be heard like ‘An Grianstad/ The Halting Sun’ (2020) commissioned by The Rolling Wave RTÉ Radio 1 / ITMA, ‘Scread na Bealtaine’ (2020) commissioned by Earagail Arts Festival.

On the night she will debut her new suite ‘Ré an t-Solais’….’The Era of Light’, inspired by the hope of a new era after the intensity of the pandemic lockdown of 2020.

Due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic restrictions, the night will be streamed online with part of the proceeds of the online tickets going towards Donegal Cancer Flights and Services and Donegal Hospice. This event is kindly supported by Donegal Airport.

Book online now.

Regional Cultural Centre online programme

From Monday 18 Jan until Sat 30 January, the RCC will present nightly video premieres some of the finest musicians, singers and dancers this country has to offer.

Please visit their website to find out more.

Letterkenny Trad Week is presented by the Regional Cultural Centre and An Grianán Theatre and is kindly supported by Donegal County Council and Arts Council Ireland.

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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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Cllr. Gerry McMonagle is the new Chairperson of An Grianán Theatre’s Board of Directors

Cllr. Gerry McMonagle is the new Chairperson of the Board of Directors of An Grianán Theatre taking over from Anne McGowan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo shows Cllr Gerry McMonagle presenting Anne McGowan with a bouquet of flowers. Also in picture is the Director of An Grianán Theatre Patricia McBride. 

Cllr. McMonagle was elected to Letterkenny Town Council in 2004 and re-elected in 2009, elected Mayor of Letterkenny in 2011, and elected to Donegal County Council in May 2014. Gerry was elected Chairperson of the Committee of the West North West Regional Health Forum in 2014 and is involved in a number of Committees with Donegal County Council and is also a member of the Board of the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny. He is heavily involved in local community work, working as an Outreach and Development Worker with Abhaile Aris since 2002 and has been a Director of Letterkenny CDP since 2004.

Cllr. McMonagle takes over from Anne McGowan who has held the post for the past seven years.

In her term of office as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of an Grianán Theatre, Anne worked to ensure that good governance was embedded in the organisation. In recent months she oversaw the delivery of a Strategic Review of the Theatre which resulted in a new Three-Year Business Plan for an Grianán.

One of Anne’s achievements in that time was to have the Mayor of Letterkenny, Paschal Blake, renovate the plaza at the front of the building in 2014 and to commission a new town clock on the front of the building by the artist Christy Keeney, which was unveiled in May 2014.

 

She also welcomed the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins to the theatre in 2015 where he presented the town with its first prize in the Tidy Towns Competition. Anne was also the Chairperson of The Letterkenny Tidy Towns Committee at that time.

   

There are also two new members of the Board of Directors: Richard Gibson of Donegal County Council, and Rachel Akkoc of the Local Amateur Arts Community. For a full list of our Board members, and their biographies, please click here …. https://www.angrianan.com/board-of-directors/

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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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Leader Funding: Community Touring Equipment Pack

Above: Patrick Quinn's play Revved will be one of first projects to use our newly purchased touring equipment thanks to generous funding from the Leader project.

Above: Patrick Quinn’s play Revved will be one of the first projects to use our newly purchased touring equipment thanks to generous funding from the Leader project.

An Grianán is delighted to acknowledge that it has received funding of €16,685 from the Leader programme towards the purchase of a Community Touring Equipment pack.

The touring pack consists of lighting, sound and operator controls able to be set up and operated in a very short space of time and is designed to allow the company to travel to community venues in the North West and deliver theatre and drama pieces to audiences unable to travel to the venue in Letterkenny.

An Grianán Theatre has a strong track record of producing plays and theatre productions both in the theatre and on tour to community centres and schools around the North West. As part of our 2020 artistic programme An Grianán was due to send out this “tour package” with a one woman show “The Experience of Being” by Carol Moore about the experience of aging in our society. We were also touring our production of “The Songbirds” by Guy Le Jeune based on the experience of people living with dementia and their carers. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact upon the country we had to suspend these projects this year. However we do intend to return to these projects when restrictions are lifted again. In 2021 we will also put out a new play by Patrick Quinn entitled “Revved”.

The other advantages of this new equipment is that it is a ready-to-go package which includes a LED lighting which will reduce power consumption and reduce our carbon footprint. The planning for the touring package allows us to also employ at least one Donegal based touring technician and/or stage manager with each of the projects.

This project is supported by: Donegal LCDC. Donegal Local Development CLG, Donegal County Council and the Department of Rural & Community Development through grant aid received under The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development in Ireland 2014-2020 “Europe investing in rural areas”.

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