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The Songbirds

Songbirds Promotional Video from Guy Le Jeune on Vimeo.

The script for ‘The Songbirds’, an innovative new piece of theatre developed by An Grianán Theatre, has been informed by interviews involving people living with dementia who participated in an Ulster University research study on reminiscence led by the School of Nursing.

The Songbirds is a play about memory, humanity, love and life. It is also a play that explores the lived experience of people living with dementia and celebrates their lives and stories.

The piece is a two hander, performed by Donegal actors Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhridge and Valerie Bryce, and was written and directed by Guy Le Jeune (Shaking the Tale, Fiesta), whose practice is in the area of reminiscence theatre and theatre from memory.

It has already received remarkable audience feedback from student nurses, junior doctors, consultant psychiatrists, secondary school students and from people living with dementia themselves.

February 2020 dates

06-Feb: Engage with Age, The East Belfast Network Centre
07-Feb: University of Ulster, Magee First Year Nursing Students
11-Feb: Malone Sports Hall, Belfast Forward South Partnership
26-Feb: Courtyard Theatre, Newtownabbey
27-Feb: Riverside Theatre, Coleraine Institute of Nursing and Health Research

Audience Feedback

“Two brilliant actors presented the paly SongbirDs to the members of Dementia NI at Shaftsbury Square, and to be honest, I was totally overwhelmed. Every action mirrored the day to day life of having a family member with dementia. So much of our time is repetition and reminding my husband of things that happen in our lives and the actors portrayed this. It also showed that just take each day as it comes, still try to make memories and above all, laugh and have fun. The writer and everyone involved deserve recognition for the brilliant job they have done and hopefully it cab be televised and put out there as it really can help families. Take plenty of tissues as I am still crying with sadness and laughter, 3 days later.” Linda Marmion

“The Songbirds was absolutely brilliant. I thought it looked really good on the video but live it was terrific. The end of the piece of so moving, everyone loved it.” Eamon Quinn, Director, Engage With Age

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Relaxed Performance of The Nutcracker

After last year’s warm response to our relaxed performance of Peter Pan we are pleased to announce that we will hold a relaxed performance of our Christmas Show The Nutcracker on Thursday 14 December at 11am.

What is a relaxed performance?

Relaxed Performances are specifically designed to welcome people who will benefit from a more relaxed performance environment, including, but not limited to, people with an Autism Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorders, or a learning disability. It is also a good way to introduce younger children to live performances in a less formal setting than regular theatre events.

  • There is a relaxed attitude to noise and movement and some small changes made to the light and sound effects.
  • Theatre lights will stay on and people will be warned of sudden noises.
  • For anyone overwhelmed during the performance, a “chill out” area will be provided in the upper foyer.
  • An easy way to understand the atmosphere is perhaps, ‘the opposite of the quiet carriage on a train’.

Why do a relaxed performances?

Many aspects of a standard theatre experience can cause difficulties for children. Busy foyers, unexpected music, lights going up and down and applause can all be unsettling. Even the interval can confuse because it may seem strange to leave the auditorium in the middle of an event.

These performances are for anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed performance environment, including people with an autistic spectrum condition, sensory or communication disorders, or a learning disability, or just those who are uncomfortable being in a darkly lit room, or those who feel they can’t sit quietly for an extended period of time.

Can everyone come to this performance?

Yes everyone is welcome, it’s important that those for whom it is intended get to share the experience with their peers and siblings. That’s the joy of a relaxed performance!

Will it be very different from attending a regular performance?

Audience feedback to our Peter Pan relaxed performances was very positive. We made a few subtle alterations – the auditorium lights were only partially dimmed (no blackouts) and any especially loud noises were reduced. Most people felt that it did not affect their enjoyment of the show.

Please contact Daithi or Nicola at the box office on 0749120777 if you have any questions or are interesting in bringing a group.

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News for teachers: Manny Man the stage show

John D Ruddy brings his creation Manny Man to the stage with An Grianán Theatre in 2018.A youtube sensation, a hit book and soon to be a stage show! See Ireland’s tumultuous millennia of history turned into a fun and easy-to-understand story.

We are currently developing a stage adaptation of John D Ruddy’s Manny Man Does the History of Ireland with a view to presenting it to schools audiences in May 2018.

Manny Man brings history to life with clarity and hilarity in videos that have amassed millions of views around the world.

Why did the Celts love stealing cows? What was the Norman Invasion, and were they all called Norman? From the Ice Age up to the present day, through the Vikings and Tudors, British rule and the fight for independence, he covers it all – with his tongue in his cheek, of course.

Ideal for 5th & 6th national school classes and second level history students.

Rehearsed reading

We will hold a rehearsed reading of the play with its cast John D Ruddy and Louise Conaghan on Thursday 19 October to an invited audience only. If you are a teacher interested in attending please get in touch with Nicola or Daithi at the box office on 0749120777. This will be a great chance to get a preview of the show and feedback and suggestions will be welcome.

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News for teachers: Christmas show and free workshops

An Grianán Theatre Productions in association with Zona Dance present The NutcrackerUPDATE: ALL AVAILABLE WORKSHOP SLOTS HAVE NOW BEEN FILLED.

Join us this December for a sparkling new version of Christmas favourite The Nutcracker, and our version is for boys every bit as much as it’s for girls!

Adapted by Guy Le Jeune from the folk tales of ETA Hoffman and Alexandre Dumas and directed by choreographer Jessica Peoples of ZoNa dance, our Nutcracker is set in Donegal and brings exciting drama and dialogue to the show while retaining some of the ballet version’s more famous dance pieces, and we think your students will love it.

Like last year’s production of Peter Pan, this will be a youth led cast ages 8 to 21 and with 30 acting roles and 26 dancers it’s going to be huge!

In school workshops

In addition, we are supporting the show with in-school movement workshops which are available free of charge and will be taught by our show’s director Jessica Peoples. The workshops will take place in October or November and will include movement theatre and dance suitable for boys and girls and will explore one of the scenes of the Nutcracker where the Nutcracker soldier meets his nemesis… The Mouse King!

We expect these workshops to be filled pretty quickly so to schedule one for your class please contact Jessica directly on 086 8222189 or by eMail.

Performances Schedule:
Tues 12 to Friday 15 December at 11am. Sat 16 at 2pm and 7pm.

Special rate for schools: €8, teachers/SNAs are free. Book now on 0749120777.

The Nutcracker is produced by An Grianán Theatre in association with ZoNa Dance Co.

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Shoot The Gear – new play about the fishing community in Killybegs

An Grianán on tour: Shoot the Gear by Guy Le JeuneAn Grianán Theatre is on the road South of the Gap as part of the Donegal Bay and Bluestacks Festival. Our new production Shoot The Gear created by our Theatre Artist in Residence Guy LeJeune celebrates the stories and experiences of the Killybegs fishermen. The play which will be performed in the Fish Auction Hall on Killybegs Quay is a celebration of the fishing industry in words and music. Featuring a cast of four multi talented performers Ronan Carr, Louise Conaghan, Orlaith Gilcreest and Fionn Robinson, the show runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 September at 8 PM nightly.

The Shoot the Gear project has been facilitated by the Killybegs Fishermens Organization, whose support has proved crucial in gaining access to, and the trust of, a broad range of people connected to the industry, from fishermen and their wives and families, to buyers and sellers, net makers and menders, boatyard men, harbour staff, factory workers and more.

Tickets can be purchased on the door or in advance at our box office on 0749120777 or online here.

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