DramaCast is an exciting new initiative created by An Grianán Theatre, and Workhouse Theatre Company, to bring Shakespeare, and Friel, back into the classroom.
With Covid curtailing all live touring it’s been impossible for schools to take their classes to see plays as normal. DramaCast fills that gap by selecting scenes relevant to the school curriculum and filming them here in An Grianán to distribute to local schools.
Under the direction of Michael Kelly from Letterkenny’s St Eunan’s College and Iarla McGowan of Workhouse Theatre rehearsals got under way in earnest last week, in the fantastic studios at Zona Dance in Letterkenny.
The play excerpts will be from Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Philadelphia Here I Come.
This week the filming will take place on the stage here at An Grianán with Karen Quinn as Director of Photography.
An empowering story of a woman who decides to take back control.
On her 60th birthday Cathy should be celebrating but it rapidly goes downhill.
“In the shop they didn’t see me.
They saw a warm cardigan and sensible shoes woman. An insignificant woman.”
The Experience of Being is a funny, absorbing and moving one-woman play about dwindling power, how to challenge it and why ageism makes growing older far harder than it needs to be.
Written and performed by Carol Moore
Directed by Patrick J. O’Reilly
Development choreography by Oona Doherty
Music score by Conor Mitchell
Saxophone – Kevin Lawless
Produced by An Grianán Theatre
Duration: 60 minutes*
On reaching 60 in 2016, actor/writer, Carol Moore didn’t see herself reflected in contemporary Irish theatre, nor was she being offered challenging roles for her own age-group. She felt invisible as an older woman and redundant as an older artist. For 18 months Carol has been writing and developing a one-woman play titled “The Experience of Being”.
The Experience of Being:
The play straddles two worlds. One is memory where conflict, religion and power from many sources limited the choices of girls and young women growing up in Belfast, while in the present Carol is holding up a mirror up to society’s obsession with youthfulness and where power can so easily be stripped from older citizens. The play examines power and gender stereotyping, age myths and the challenges of ageing facing us all.
It is an original, funny and absorbing interdisciplinary production which uses text/physicality/music to tell a powerful story that connects and resonates with a 50+ age-group but also engages with audiences across all age-groups.
Supporting Carol is a critically acclaimed creative team. Director, Patrick J. O’Reilly, is Artistic Director of Tinderbox Theatre Company, composer Conor Mitchell is Artistic Director of music/theatre company, Belfast Ensemble, choreographer, Oona Doherty, is an internationally acclaimed dancer/choreographer and saxophonist while Kevin Lawless is a highly skilled Irish musician.
It has been produced by An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny to to tour nationally during May 2019. A showcase of the production was performed at Prime Cut’s theatre symposium in January at the Mac Theatre, Belfast.
About Carol Moore
Carol Moore has maintained a freelance career across four decades in acting, theatre directing, film directing and drama facilitation.
Carol was co-founder/co-Artistic Director of Charabanc Theatre Company 1983 –’95, their adoption of research and oral interviewing, taking people’s life-experiences and transforming those into theatrical experiences, then delivering it back in non-traditional theatre venues was ground-breaking in reaching new audiences. Charabanc brought Northern Ireland to the attention of international academics and gained both a national/international reputation.
Carol’s acting career includes work with many leading Northern Irish companies including Charabanc, the Lyric, Tinderbox, Brassneck and Kabosh as well as international touring to North America, the former Soviet Union, Germany, South Africa and Rwanda.
Carol has directed a number of plays including at the Lyric Theatre in the early 1990’s and was one of a number of directors on Convictions (Tinderbox) which won ‘Best Production’ at the Irish Times Awards, 2000.
As a writer her work includes a book about Charabanc Theatre company, a monologue about the first Irish women trade unionist Mary Galway, Shrieking Sisters with Maggie Cronin and one-woman play The Experience of Being (previously titled Dangerous Female).
As a filmmaker she won ‘Best First Time Director’ at Celtic Film Festival,1997, for Gort na gCnámh, History Unfinished, was Northern Ireland regional winner of BAFTA 60 sec film competition (2007) and feature film Pumpgirl (2008). She received a NESTA fellowship (2003 –
2005) making a series of documentary films around cultural diversity, which screened at International festivals. She received a Best Actress nominaton in Reefer and the Model at the European film Awards, 1989.
Carol was a Creative Consultant for arts/heritage organisation Red Lead Arts (2003/6) curating Belfast as it Used to Be and directingThe Iceberg and The Liverpool Boat.
Haughey | Gregory, which is at An Grianán on Tues 7 May, is set in 1982 during a particularly turbulent time in Irish politics. It follows the story of Tony Gregory, a young man who lands a surprise seat in the Dáil and finds himself holding the balance of power. Here’s the play’s writer Colin Murphy on the history behind the play:
In the early 1980s, there were three general elections within 18 months in Ireland. The country was in pieces: the economy ruined, most of the young talent emigrating, modern infrastructure barely existent, the North at war. Politics was dominated by Charles Haughey, leading a deeply-divided Fianna Fáil, and his nemesis, Garret FitzGerald, leading Fine Gael. Dublin’s inner city was almost destroyed by unemployment, heroin and urban planning, and entirely forgotten by the rest of Irish society and ignored by politics and the media. Fighting against this, community activists were struggling to assert another vision of society and politics.
At their head was Tony Gregory, a young teacher turned city councillor, born in Ballybough, whose father had worked in the Docks. In the second of those three elections, in February 1982, Tony took a surprise Dáil seat – and suddenly found himself holding the balance of power.
He was courted by both FitzGerald and Haughey. FitzGerald was a liberal, a man of modest disposition, and committed to a policy known as ‘the Just Society’; Gregory’s team liked his politics. And they disliked Haughey’s republicanism (Haughey had lost office a decade earlier for his involvement in a notorious scheme to illegally run guns to the IRA) and the whiff of corruption and ostentation that he courted.
But Haughey was a northsider: he knew how to deal with people, and how to get things done. While FitzGerald remained aloof and remote, Haughey came to Gregory’s run-down office and drank with his team in the local pub. He impressed them with his knowledge of the area and his willingness to meet their demands. Over a series of three meetings, he seduced them, and they, in turn, succeeded in winning him over to perhaps the most radical anti-poverty scheme in Irish history.
That became known as the Gregory Deal. Gregory voted for Haughey and he duly became Taoiseach – the deal was denounced by the establishment as flagrant vote-buying; its radical, progressive content was largely overlooked.
Before much could be implemented, Haughey’s government collapsed, in November 1982, after a bizarre series of scandals. Some of the deal’s measures were adopted by the new government; others fell by the wayside. Thirty five years later, Dublin’s inner city is again the focus of national political attention and promises of investment; but such attention has proved fleeting in the past, and the promises insubstantial.
Colin Murphy writes plays about politics, and journalism. He is the author of a series of plays on Irish political history: Haughey/Gregory, on the 1982 “Gregory Deal”, Inside the GPO, on the Easter Rising, Guaranteed!, on the bank guarantee of 2008, and Bailed Out!, on the subsequent crisis and Troika “bailout” of 2010, all produced by Fishamble. He adapted the latter two for screen, as The Guarantee and The Bailout (both produced by John Kelleher Media). He adapted the Charlie Bird book A Day in May for the stage. His verbatim dramas, Jack Duggan’s War and Judging Shaw (based on Fintan O’Toole’s book of the same name) have been staged by ANU Productions. His short film Leave to Remain was made for RTÉ Storyland (produced by Treasure Entertainment). He writes a weekly column for the Sunday Business Post.
The Nasc Network is currently offering a bursary of €10,000 to a production company or producer interested in collaborating with the network to produce a new or existing piece of theatre with a view to touring to all Nasc venues in 2019.
The Nasc Network is a partnership of eight venues, including An Grianán Theatre, which was conceived in 2006 when a number of venue directors met to harness joint programming and marketing opportunities and develop touring projects. To date, Nasc has collaborated with Druid Theatre Company, Rough Magic Theatre Company, Cois Ceim and Livin’ Dred Theatre Company (amongst others), on many successful productions and tours.
The chosen production company/producer will receive the following support from the Nasc Network:
• A commissioning fee of €10,000 to part-fund the development/creation of the theatre piece.
• Nasc will act as lead applicant, or network support, on an application under the Arts Council’s touring and dissemination scheme to fund the costs of the production and tour to all Nasc venues.
• The Nasc venues will each offer a guaranteed fee in support of the production run at each venue.
Please note deadline to submit applications is Fri 27 Apr 2018.
See the pdf for further information and submission details.
The NASC Network: An Grianan Theatre / Backstage Theatre / Dunamaise Arts Centre / glór / Lime Tree Theatre / Pavilion Theatre / Siamsa Tíre / Town Hall Theatre Galway
After sold out tours in Ireland, London, across Europe, and Australia, Michael Keegan Dolan’s genre-defying contemporary reimagining of one of the most famous ballets in the world comes to An Grianán in Spring 2018.
Daithi Ramsay, An Grianán Theatre’s Marketing Manager, saw Loch na hEala/ Swan Lake at the Clonmel Junction Festival in July 2017:
“I had intended after the show to go to the festival club. Instead I walked the mile and a half back to the house I was staying in, open mouthed, silent. I sat in this silence for a long time processing what I’d just seen. It was the most visceral theatre experience I’ve ever shared. It integrates the music, drama and dance fully, and each of the performers excels. The story, such as it is, flows around the performers, anchored by Mikel Murfi.
“The story draws from the Children of Lír and Swan Lake, which they have firmly rooted in the bogs of the Irish midlands. There is a lovely mythical Irish quality to much of it but for me it’s the influence of the tragic story of Bridgie Cleary that stayed with me. The intensity of these pieces will stay with me for a very long time, and Mikel Murfi’s expressions in particular. As will remain my surprise at the many unexpected moments, some of them so beautiful and uplifting. This is the very best that theatre has to offer you really should come and see it.
“From where I sat in the front row I looked around at the audience: everyone was sitting forward, hands on their knees, rapt. When it was funny they laughed loudly and naturally; when it was disturbing they were on edge; when it was uplifting they were overjoyed. I wish I had photos of their faces to show you. At the end many wiped away tears while smiling. It was as if we had been plugged straight into the mains of the company and the show’s creator Michael Keegan Dolan and then all of a sudden we were released, but the feeling, the emotions, the thoughts remained.”
Swan Lake/Loch na hEala can be seen at An Grianan on Wed 31 Jan and Thur 1 Feb 2018. See the event page for further information.
Little John Nee’s Radio Rosario. Developed through FUEL – Druids Artist Residency Programme. Supported by The Mick Lally Theatre and An Grianan Theatre. Funded through an Arts Council Theatre Project Award.
Little John Nee is a performer we’ve enjoyed a long, creative relationship with. In 2010/ 2011 he was our theatre artist in residence leading many workshops, performing shows, working on the book of his three ‘Donegal’ plays The Derry Boat, The Mental and Rural Electric, and creating a daily haiku. Subsequent to this work he recorded an album of songs with the Highly Strung Caledonian Orchestra.
We are delighted to be able to support the making of his latest play, Radio Rosario, which is part of the Dublin Theatre Festival this September. Set in Galway city, in the very near future in Radio Rosario John plays Valve Hegarty, a man who sings audio jingles to pay the rent; a drudgery that weighs heavily on him. He has a hankering for something of substance and is drawn to the beauty of 20th-century valve radios. A chance meeting in Clifden leads him to the site of the Marconi Station where a soundscape of ghostly broadcasts begins. Meanwhile, Rosario is… well, Rosario is Rosario.
In Radio Rosario, Little John Nee brings his musical storytelling on another step with long-time collaborator and creator Laura Sheeran, who we last saw on our stage with Little John in The Mental, she also performed in the foyer at the Crash Cabaret with her band Nanu Nanu, and a multi-award winning team. We very much hope to present Radio Rosario at An Grianán Theatre at some point during 2018.
Thanks to the Arts Council, Donegal has successfully secured a Theatre Artist in Residence for the third year running. This theatre artist residency is a three-way partnership between the artist Guy Barriscale, Donegal County Council Arts Office and An Grianán Theatre.
The residency is based on previous work devised and created by Guy Barriscale, who writes as Guy Le Jeune. Guy has created many projects celebrating the stories and history of the people of Donegal including ‘Fiesta’, a joyful celebration of the famous Ballroom of Romance; ‘I Would Walk These Fields Again about the life and times of Canon James McDyer and ‘Unified the Musical’ about the infamous yarn factory which was the highlight of last year’s Earagail Arts Festival.
John D Ruddy and Louise Conaghan in I Would Walk These Fields Again, a play by Guy Le Jeune about Father McDyer will be performed on 19 & 20 July 2017 in Glencolmcille.
In the forthcoming year Guy will be collaborating with the Killybegs Fisherman’s Organisation to create a new work called “Shoot The Gear” for the Donegal Bay and Bluestacks Festival. This will be premiered in Killybegs at the end of September. He will also be working with the University of Ulster, in researching and devising a piece of touring theatre exploring the experiences of people with dementia and their primary carers, with a view to a production in 2018. He is also excited to be working with Ionad an Chrois Bhealaigh, Árainn Mhór, to create a work celebrating their unique island life experience.
Next week in Glencolmcille there will be two more performances of “I Would Walk These Fields Again”. This celebration of the life of James McDyer, featuring the acting talents of John Ruddy and Louise Conaghan will be shown in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Folk Village. Performances are on 19 and 20 July.
The girls recreate a night at the Fiesta ballroom. Photo by Declan Doherty. Fiesta, July 2014
Guy is a writer, theatre maker and reminiscence facilitator who has lived and worked in Donegal for almost 20 years. He has over thirty years of experience in professional theatre in a wide variety of roles. He is also a writer of short stories and is working on the drafts of a number of novels. His short story Jamesy was commended in the 2011 Sean O’Faolain Prize. 22 Kilos was short listed for the Fish Short Story Prize 2012. Small Town Removal was placed third in the inaugural Costa Book Awards, short story prize in January 2013. He has recently completed a second draft of a novel with the working title The Swimmers, which explores emigration and the experiences of the Irish in England. He is also working on a further draft of Essex Road, a bleak comedy set in the London-Irish community. A previous draft of Essex Road was Highly Commended in the 2014, Irish Writers’ Centre, Novel Fair Competition. An early draft of The Cake and Condiment Rules, a satirical and caustic crime novel, was long listed for the 2016 Irish Writers’ Centre, Novel Fair Competition.
“PAISLEY/McGUINNESS” SCREENWRITER RETURNS WITH TAUGHT NEW PYSCHOLOGICAL THRILLER BAG FOR LIFE.
An exciting new play from Colin Bateman is on tour through April and May 2017 taking in over 11 different venues and comes to An Grianán on Wed 10 May (Book now) .
‘Bag for Life’ is the second play from renowned Northern Irish writer Colin Bateman. In Colin’s career he has written 36 novels as well as writing TV show Murphy’s Law and BBC NI’s Scup. He has also recently garnered great acclaim for his screenplay ‘The Journey’ which explored the political relationship between Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness.
His second stage play asks the question, can forgiveness overcome the want for revenge in 21st century Northern Ireland? It’s a tense, gripping thriller as well as a study of modern psychosis, all shot through with Bateman’s trademark pitch black humour.
Above: Bag for Life writer Colin Bateman
“There is a lot of different aspects to it,” explains Bateman, “it is quite a dark piece but it’s also very funny. It’s a thriller but it will also make you think. You’ll come out asking questions about how you would deal in certain situations.”
The show tells the tale of Karen, a young bored mother, who is out shopping one Saturday when she turns and runs slap bang into a figure from her past. Initially unable to place the person it is with horror that it dawns on her that this happy family man is none other than the ex-paramilitary who 22 years earlier murdered her brother. Thus begins a cycle of revenge, psychosis and obsession.
Actress Julie Addy delivers a real tour de force performance as Karen. The characters thoughts, whims and delusions brought to sparkling life by an intricate series of video displays perfectly capturing her frantic fractured mindset.
“I think it’s a very exciting play,” explains director / producer Kieran Griffiths, “there is a tempo and pace to it… of course though the audience are given time to breathe and ask themselves questions… but it’s a ferocious episode in Karen’s life. Electric. Exciting. Captivating. And I think from its initial outing a lot of people are still talking about it and asking themselves questions.”
Above: Julie Addy stars in Colin Bateman’s Bag for Life, Wed 10 May at An Grianán Theatre.
Commissioned as a legacy project for Derry Londonderry’s 2013 UK City of Culture, this powerful and captivating play received a hugely successful premiere at The Playhouse in April 2016 before going on to a sellout run at The Open House festival in Bangor and standing ovations at The Lyric Theatre Belfast.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID:
“One of the strongest pieces of theatre ever produced in Derry…. believable, near the knuckle in places, entertaining and disturbing…”
– Derry Journal
“A raw, powerful and no-holds-barred journey through the deepest, darkest emotions we have all…Bag for Life will stir the darkest recesses of the Northern Irish soul”
– The Irish News
“Addy delivers a tour-de-force in her eighty minute monologue”
– Culture NI
“Intense, realistic and filled with mountains of black humour”
“One of the most visually arresting plays of the year”
Patrick McBrearty plays Ryan in Sole Purpose’s Blinkered.
Local actor Patrick McBrearty takes the central role of Ryan. Patrick will be familiar to An Grianán audiences from roles in plays such as Frank Pig Says Hello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Philadelphia, Here I Come!
Starring alongside him are Gemma Walker, Pat Lynch and Cathy Brennan Bradley. Written by Patricia Byrne and directed by Shauna Kelpie, Blinkered follows the story of Ryan, a young man trying to cope with everyday life, and his family, who are busily doing the same. Promising another challenging performance, the play shines a light on the loneliness of depression and its impact on families. Professional representatives working in suicide prevention will be present at each performance.
Sole Purpose Productions’ reputation for engaging theatre audiences in issues that are sometimes uncomfortable and raw continues with this latest production.
Recommended ages 16+. Find out more about the show here.
Here are tonight’s plays for the second night of the Letterkenny One Act Festival. First play begins at 7.30pm. Tickets available on the door.
Open Bangor Drama Club, Bangor
A Galway Girl By Geraldine Aron
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.
Open No Drama Theatre, Dublin
Hardboiled By Jonathan Shortall
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.
Confined Glenamaddy players, Galway
The Problem by A.R. Gurney
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.
Fáilte go dtí Amharclann An Ghrianán! Located in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, An Grianán Theatre is an integral part of the county’s thriving cultural life and a flagship venue in the North West of Ireland.
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