Even though our doors are currently closed the show still goes on. We have teamed up with the Earagail Arts Festival to present Little John Nee’s The Tilt of the Sky tour from 21 to 25 July 2020.
We have commissioned renowned performer Little John Nee to take a tour of seven Donegal villages and towns (Malin, Culdaff, Raphoe, Letterkenny, Dunfanaghy, Gort an Choirce, Rathmullan) for a series of pop-up solo performances.
The lockdown allowed us all time to contemplate what was really important to us while at the same time putting a stop to any rambling.
For Little John Nee rambling is as important as anything and the hankering was growing stronger every day of the lockdown. So it is with a skittish exuberance beneath the tilt of the sky he takes the long road from Malin to Rathmullan creating fresh adventure along the way through song, story and throwing shapes.
In Rathmullan for the finale of the six day adventure Little John will perform for the first time “Blues Boy on Batt’s Walk” a musical spoken word climax to an evening of song and story that conjures a teenage Don Quixote camping at Kinnegar 1976 that opens with the line …“I was sixteen now I’m sixty”. It will also be broadcast live on Highland Radio.
With sincere thanks to McGrorys Hotel, Dillons Hotel, Corcreggan Mill and the Station House Hotel for their support of this tour.
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.
We were delighted to welcome some of our favourite people – Jym and Chantal from Fidget Feet and Little John Nee to An Grianán for a week’s residency in April as they worked on their brand new show Bingo Wings which is due to make its debut in 2018.
They spend the week visiting day centres, swapping stories and playing bingo – not a bad way to spend a week! They also introduced members of our youth theatre to the joys of the bingo!
An Grianán Youth Theatre members Amybeth, Eoin, Ryan, Jasper and Laramie with Chantal McCormick from Fidget Feet at a workshop in April 2017. The workshop is part of the research work for a brand new show called Bingo Wings which Fidget Feet are making with Little John Nee. Watch out for it in 2018.
An Grianán Youth Theatre members Amybeth, Eoin, Evin, Darragh, Oscar, Emory, Ryan, Jasper and Laramie with Chantal McCormick from Fidget Feet at a workshop in April 2017.
Little John Nee and Chantal McCormick playing bingo – it’s work! Honest!
Little John performing at one of the day centres they visited as part of the research week for Bingo Wings.
This research was supported by the Arts Council and 5 regional venues: Lime Tree Theatre Limerick, Town Hall Theatre Galway, Hawk’s Well Theatre Sligo, An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny and Backstage Theatre Longford.
We are delighted for Pat Kinevane and our friends at Fishamble who won an Olivier Award for their show Silent at last night’s awards ceremony in London. And even better news is that you can see Silent for yourself in just a few short weeks as we will have it here on Thursday 28 April!
Silent tells the story of Tino McGoldrig, a man from the small Irish town of Cobh but living in Dublin, who is named for silent movie star Rudolph Valentino (‘Rudolph would have been a disaster in Cobh’). He is a homeless man who shares his story with passersby, describes the footwear of the pedestrians, and dances with a blanket representing his wife, fondly remembering their ballroom-dancing championships.
“We’re gonna take Larry back to Dublin for a bit of a party!” Juliet Stephenson with Fishamble director Jim Culleton and performer Pat Kinevane at the Olivier Awards, 3 April 2016 (Photo from Fishamble’s Facebook).
Challenging and provocative, funny and moving, physical and inventive, Silent showcases Pat Kinevane’s wicked sense of humour and highly theatrical imagination while simultaneously avoiding the pitfalls of becoming too worthy about the difficult topics of homelessness and mental health and the reluctance we have to talk about such issues.
Little John Nee, another renowned solo performer, earlier picked out Silent as his highlight of An Grianán’s current season: “To put it very simply Pat Kinevane is one of my favourite writers and performers on the whole planet, I come away from his shows simultaneously entertained, inspired and humbled and the world is always a richer place as I travel home; only great theatre can do that; it’s rare, don’t miss it!”
An Grianán Theatre’s director Patricia McBride had wanted to bring Silent to Letterkenny for some time now but owing to its globe trotting success finding a date in the schedule was difficult. “We’ve hosted quite a few Fishamble shows and they are all quality theatre productions – last year’s ballroom dancing comedy Swing, Colin Murphy’s docu-drama Guaranteed!, Sonya Kelly’s wonderful comedy The Wheelchair on my Face and Sebastian Barry’s The Pride of Parnell Street – and they always go down well with our audiences. We had been hearing amazing things about Silent since its debut back in 2011 so we’re delighted to have it as one of the highlights of our Spring drama programme. And of course we are thrilled for Pat Kinevane and all our friends at Fishamble on winning an Olivier Award. It’s always great to see Irish Theatre performing so well on the international stage and how lucky are we to be able to present it right here in Letterkenny.”
Silent was awarded the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre following its run at London’s Soho Theatre last year. Founded in 1976, the Olivier Awards have become British Theatre’s most sought after award and are globally recognised as a mark of theatrical greatness.
Fishamble: The New Play Company present Silent by Pat Kinevane Thursday 28 April 2016 at 8pm. Tickets; €16/€12 BOOK NOW!
I was sitting in the theatre cafe one lunchtime enjoying the lovely food and chatting away to Little John Nee, who had popped in to eat as he often does when he’s in town, and he asked what shows we had coming up. I reeled off the list of upcoming Drama and John nodded along ‘good, good, that’s a fine show, good, good jeez it’s a fine season you have there’* Then I got to Fishamble and Pat Kinevane’s Silent and John became visibly animated, ‘That’s one of the best theatre shows ever, everyone should go see that’.
Now one of the things I believe about selling a show is you can sell anything if you’re passionate enough about it. We all can get carried away by other people’s passions from time to time, I remember standing in the queue at Milford Garda Station chatting to a fella who was passionate about vintage tractors and it rubbed off on me so much that for a week or two so was I. So I knew that when it came to writing about the show in our new magazine, An Grianán Extra, rather than me, who hasn’t seen it, taking up all the words I’d be a sight better off getting John to, and he was good enough to do just that, so here’s what he wrote:
‘I am delighted to be asked to tell you about Pat Kinevane’s “Silent” for I can say with certainty that if you go to see the show on the basis of my recommendation you will be eternally grateful to me. To put it very simply Pat Kinevane is one of my favourite writers and performers on the whole planet, I come away from his shows simultaneously entertained, inspired and humbled and the world is always a richer place as I travel home; only great theatre can do that; it’s rare don’t miss it!’
And so what’s the point of this post when the show hasn’t been on yet and I haven’t seen it yet either? Well this week it was nominated for an Olivier Award! the British Theatre Oscars as it’s often referred to, a rare honour for an Irish play. It qualifies because of its run in London last year. So, you know, if Little John Nee tells you a horse is a good horse, I’d suggest putting a few bob on it …
An Grianán Extra – A Wee Bit More is our new arts magazine.
Designed to compliment our standard events brochure, Extra offers a slightly more in depth look at some of our upcoming shows.
We have a profile on Donegal playwright Frank McGuinness written by Jessica Trainer, Literary Manager of the Abbey Theatre as well as a piece by theatre-artist-in-residence Guy Le Jeune talking about what he has planned for his residency.
Cover art for An Grianán Theatre’s arts magazine by Laura Buchanan.
Our cover art is by artist Laura Buchanan and is inspired by photos from the 1916 Rising.
Writer and local historian Kieran Kelly introduces his new play Beneath An Irish Sky which looks at how the events of the 1916 Rising affected Donegal. We will be holding a rehearsed reading of it as part of our short series events remembering 1916 which you can also read about in Extra.
Our director Patricia McBride offers her pick of the season as does well known writer and performer Little John Nee. What shows did they pick? Read the magazine now to find out!
Part of the Earagail Arts Festival, 10 to 26 July 2015 – two weeks of music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, circus & carnival on Ireland’s North West Atlantic seaboard.
It’s nearly arts festival time again! Have you downloaded the programme yet?
We’re gearing up for a very busy and arts filled July here at An Grianán. We’re the official box office for the Earagail Arts Festival so you can buy tickets for events happening here in An Grianán and right across the county!
Comedy with Neil Delamere
Neil Delamere. Sat 11 July
Our festival events kick off on Sat 11 July with a night of stand up comedy from Neil Delamere who is back with his show The Fresh Prince of Delamere. He sold out last time to this is one to book your tickets in advance for!
Overture: A Magical Italian Bubble Concerto
Full of bubbles and all the way from Italy is the wonderful family show Overture. From odd instruments giant bubbles appear, bouncing bubbles, portable bubbles, bunches of bubbles, so many bubbles! If you are very lucky you might even get to stand inside a giant, people-sized bubble!
Comedy Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!
Dario Fo’s political comedy farce Can’t Pay Won’t Pay. Bread and Roses Theatre Company, An Grianan Theatre, Earagail Arts Festival, July 2015. Theatre. Comedy. Letterkenny.
Next up we have the farcical comedy Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! from newly formed local company Bread and Roses Theatre. Directed by Katheen McCreery, the excellent cast features Valerie Bryce, Margaret Hannon and Eoghan Mac Ghiolla Bhríde from last year’s hugely successful festival play, Fiesta, along with Paul Bonar (The 39 Steps) and Martin McGinley, best known as one of Donegal and Ireland’s finest fiddle players. Written by Dario Fo, the only actor to ever win a Nobel Prize, his plays are as fiercely provocative as they are funny, and as relevant today in Donegal as in Fo’s native Italy.
Little John Nee and the Caledonia Highly Strung Orchestra
Perennial favourite Little John Nee has reassembled his Caledonia Highly Strung Orchestra to present “Lough Swilly Delta Live”. In addition to songs from their debut album “Songs from the Lough Swilly Delta the show will feature their latest new compositions, musical stories, comedy and the drama of being highly strung on the road.A mixture of comic blues and haunted ballads, featuring songs from “The Derry Boat”, “The Mental”, “Dead Rooster Blues”, “Sparkplug” and others all given the “Highly Strung” treatment; the warm earthy guitars of Fionn Robinson, the Ella-mental voice and kaleidoscopic clarinets of Orlaith Gilcreest, the pulsing piano and hair-blowing Hammond of Jeremy Howard as well and Little John’s trademark ukulele and cigar box guitar.
The Dubliners’ Dilemma
Bachelors Walk Productions presents The Dubliners Dilemma based on Dubliners by James Joyce. An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny July 2015. Earagail Arts Festival. Drama.
The Dubliners’ Dilemma is an acclaimed one man show that brings the stories and controversies of James Joyce’s remarkable first book “Dubliners” to vivid life. The year is 1914. London publisher Grant Richards has determined to re-read Joyce’s controversial manuscript, eight years after rejecting it over fears it might breach strict British and Irish obscenity laws. Should Richards be the one to risk everything now, second time around, and launch this volatile but brilliant genius on a world about to descend into the madness of war?
Fairytale favourites from Banyan Puppet Theatre
Banyan Theatre present The History of Tom Thumb at An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny Earagail Arts Festival Family Puppets Children July 2015
We’re delighted to welcome back Banyan Puppet Theatre. Banyan’s beautifully crafted and imaginative shows were one of the talking points of our festival shows last year, delighting young and old alike. This year they are presenting two new shows: The Elves and the Shoemaker and The History of Tom Thumb. Ideal for younger audiences and their families.
Our pick of the festival! How to Keep an Alien
On the heels of the marriage equality referendum, Rough Magic’s How to Keep an Alien is very topical! The List have named this as one of the must see shows of the upcoming Edinburgh Fringe Festival – but why go all the way to Scotland when you can come and see it here! ‘How to Keep an Alien’ is a funny and tender autobiographical tale in which Irish Sonya and Australian Kate meet and fall in love, but Kate’s visa is up and she must leave the country. Together they must find a way to prove to the Department of Immigation that they have the right to live together in Ireland. And it isn’t going to be easy!
Visual Arts: Donegal – Home
Exhibition: Earagail Arts Festival 2015 July
Our visual arts exhibition this year is ‘Donegal – Home‘ and features work by artists who are either from Donegal or have chosen the county as their home. Artists include Paul Rooney, Richard Wayman, Declan Doherty, Simon Birch, Denzil Browne, Jan Voster, Katrina Quille, Cathal McGinley, Ian Gordon, Johnny Boyle, Una Campbell and Caitlin Gallagher.
There are loads more events happening across the county – check out the official Earagail website for the full list of events!
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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