made in donegal

New local production premieres at An Grianán

The Letterkenny Music and Drama Group’s Beneath An Irish Sky, a new play by local author Kieran Kelly.Letterkenny Music & Drama Group are delighted to be presenting a brand new play for their drama festival production this year. “Beneath an Irish Sky” will receive its premiere in An Grianán Theatre on Tuesday 13th February 2018 prior to competing on the demanding Drama Festival Circuit.

Inspired by archive reports and eyewitness testimonies, “Beneath An Irish Sky” is written by Kieran Kelly and looks at the events of the ‘decade of change’ from a Donegal perspective. Set in the town of Letterkenny between the years 1914-1924, it tells the fictionalised account of one man’s journey through those turbulent times, questioning what made him pick up a gun to fight for his country.

Originally written as a dramatic reading as part of An Grianán Theatre’s 1916 commemorations two years ago, the overwhelmingly positive response to that performance prompted Kieran to return to it and adapt it for a full production. “When it was first performed as a reading in 2016, it concerned an elderly man being interviewed in 1966 as he looked back on the events that affected him as a young man,” said Kieran. “However, when it came to adapt it for a full production, I found it more interesting to focus on the actual events in the past to drive the story forward rather than a piece of retrospection and so it is now set firmly between 1914 and 1924.”

Direction is in the sure hands of Pluincéad O’Fearraigh who is very much looking forward to producing a brand-new play for the Letterkenny audience and beyond. “I’m thrilled and delighted to be directing and producing this thought provoking and intriguing play by Kieran for its world premiere in An Grianán Theatre and then on the 3-act drama festival circuit. It’s not that often that you get the opportunity to direct a newly written play and I hope I do justice to the challenge of bringing the characters and the situations portrayed in this play to life for the audiences to enjoy. I cannot praise Kieran highly enough for his courage and skill in writing such a fantastic play.” Although he is keen to point out that you don’t have to be from Letterkenny to enjoy it. “While the situations and characters in the play are based in the town of Letterkenny, they are as relevant in any part of Ireland during the turbulent times in which this play is set.”

The play depicts how the central character of Brendan McDevitt (Eoin Callaghan) was affected by the seismic events unfolding around him – from World War 1, through the War of Independence and up to the Civil War – and shows how these events convinced him to gradually move from the peaceful Nationalism of the Ancient Order of Hibernians into the more militant Republicanism of Sinn Féin. This life altering decision will have far reaching implications for both himself and his family. The various decisions he makes throughout his journey are all influenced by those around him, from the attitude of his parents Barney (Kieran Kelly) and Cassie (Elaine Gillespie), the actions of his brother Michael (Loic Cech), his neighbour Mary (Laura Doherty) and the political allegiances of both the local priest Father Crawford (Michael Leddy) and the persuasive Doctor McBride (Martin Hasson).

The play opens in An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny on Tuesday 13th February 2018 at 8pm prior to touring the drama festival circuit throughout February and March. It will also be performed in the Amharclann Ghaoth Dobhair on Wednesday 21st February. For more details, find the Letterkenny Music & Drama Group on Facebook and for tickets for what promises to be a dramatic night of entertainment contact An Grianán Theatre on 0749120777 or www.angrianan.com.

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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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