paul boyd

Summer Schools at An Grianán Theatre

Love the performing arts? Want to learn more about acting, musical theatre, choreography and dance? And have lots of fun and make new friends at the same time? Then you should sign up for one of our summer schools.

McCool: A summer school of heroic proportions!

For an all round theatre experience join our pbm Performing Arts Summer School. Suitable for ages 9 to 21, this week long programme covers many aspects of what goes into bringing a theatre show to life. You will work alongside seasoned industry professionals and learn about choreography, acting, movement, vocals and stage craft.

pbm Performing Arts Summer School. Children taking part in a workshop at An Grianán Theatre. August 2015. Photo by Paul McGuckin. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

pbm Performing Arts Summer School. Children taking part in a workshop at An Grianán Theatre. August 2015. Photo by Paul McGuckin. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

At the end of the week you will perform in Paul Boyd’s rock musical McCool.

Commissioned in 2002 and first produced by Northern Ireland’s longest-running independent theatre producer Big Telly Theatre Company in association with the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, McCool celebrates Ireland’s superstar warrior, Finn McCool!

Staged as an exciting multi-media rock concert McCool charts the life of Finn McCool from his lowly beginning as an abandoned baby to his eventual position as Ireland’s first superstar. The show features an eclectic, non-stop mix of dance and pop music, culminating in a spectacular mega-mix finale. Songs include “Mythology”, “Gotta Grow Up”, “I Will Think of You” and “War”.

pbm Performing Arts Summer School at An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny, August 2015. Photo by Paul McGuckin. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

pbm Performing Arts Summer School at An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny, August 2015. Photo by Paul McGuckin. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

McCool toured Ireland extensively in 2002 and soon developed a cult following across the country.

The original 2002 cast included Rachel Tucker who went on to star as Wicked‘s Elphaba in both the West End and Broadway productions. Will we have any future West End stars in this year’s show? Only time will tell!

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Former pbm participant and An Grianán Youth Theatre member Patrick Quinn performing in Enda Walsh's Mistermen at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, February 2016.

Former pbm participant and An Grianán Youth Theatre member Patrick Quinn performing in Enda Walsh’s Mistermen at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, February 2016.

“PBM is where, many years ago, I found my love for Theatre. As a nine year old boy, I came to the camp unconfident, doubtful and shy. The PBM leaders installed a belief system in myself that I still rely on to this day.I will never forget the day when Christina told me that all that mattered was that I followed my heart and it’s the best advice I’ve ever received. I was part of PBM for 7 years, and I made friends that I cherish and consider some of my closest friends to this day. I cannot recommend PBM enough – the experience and the people I have met through this camp has had a huge influence on the person, and the actor, that I am today.”
Patrick Quinn, Drama Student at Queens University Belfast, Winner of Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Student Theatre Awards 2016.[/box]

pbm Performing Arts Summer School – Mon 1 to Sat 6 August – more info here.

Ballet Ireland Summer School

Our annual Ballet Ireland summer school gives you the opportunity to learn ballet alongside professional ballerinas from Ireland’s National Ballet.

Young dancers taking part in the annual Ballet Ireland Summer School, July 2015. Photo by Paul McGuckin. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Young dancers taking part in the annual Ballet Ireland Summer School, July 2015. Photo by Paul McGuckin. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Each day begins with class on stage with the dancers. Students become part of the creative process, helping to devise the choreography, create sets and costumes. This week will give aspiring performers a taste for all that goes into making a ballet and a peak into the life of a professional dancer.

Young dancers taking part in the annual Ballet Ireland Summer School, July 2015. Photo by Paul McGuckin. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

The Ballet Ireland Summer School is suitable for ages 6 and older. Photo by Paul McGuckin. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Together with the dancers, the young performers play an important role in the creation of their own full length ballet which is performed on stage at the end of the week for family and friends to come and enjoy.

Ballet Ireland Summer School 2015

Young dancers taking part in the annual Ballet Ireland Summer School, July 2015. Photo by Paul McGuckin. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Novice and experienced dancers alike will learn loads about classical ballet and best of all you get to perform in a beautiful ballet at the end of the week in front of your family and friends. Suitable for ages 6+. Find out more here.

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Brian Friel 1929-2015

[box style=”red” closable=”un-closable”]We welcome members of the public to come and sign the book of condolence. We will pass this on to Brian’s family. If you would like to sign it it please call in to the theatre’s box office.[/box]

We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Ireland’s greatest playwright and proud resident of Donegal, Brian Friel. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife Anne and their children and extended family and friends.

We will feel Brian’s loss very deeply.  He was a great friend and patron of An Grianán Theatre.  We admired his work and made it part of our brief to celebrate his close association with the theatre over the years. We took a special pride in producing his many works.  Our first An Grianán production was his play Translations which was part of our opening season in 1999. Since then we have continued to produce many of his other plays over the years including major productions of Dancing at Lughnasa, Making History as part of the Flight of the Earls Commemorations and The Home Place to celebrate his 80th birthday. We have also had productions and readings of many of other plays including Faith Healer and Molly Sweeney, Aristocrats and The Freedom of the City as well as lesser known works such as Volunteers and The Gentle Island.

Cast and crew celebrate the opening night of Translations at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny with its playwright Brian Friel (third from left). November 1999

Cast and crew celebrate the opening night of Translations with its playwright Brian Friel (third from left). November 1999

We were delighted to have had the opportunity this summer with our other arts partners to initiate the first ever Brian Friel Festival, the Lughnasa International Friel Festival,  a unique festival based in both Donegal and Belfast celebrating his life and legacy.  We are so pleased that Brian was able to experience that and to know the high esteem in which we hold him.

Brian Friel with director of An Grianán Theatre, Patricia McBride, at the Donegal Person of the Year Awards in 2010.

Brian Friel with director of An Grianán Theatre, Patricia McBride, at the Donegal Person of the Year Awards in 2010.

We will treasure our memories of Brian and the generous support he gave the theatre and the happy nights he spent here in the company of the theatre staff and actors. He was an inspiration to us in our work and we are proud to have had his friendship. Thank you Brian for the beautiful legacy of work and for putting Donegal on the international stage. “Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Patricia McBride,
Director, An Griánan Theatre

* * * * * *

Paul Boyd was kind enough to share  this lovely story of a memorable encounter with Brian shortly after the theatre opened in 1999:

In 1999 I met Brian Friel at An Grianan Theatre. It was the theatre’s inaugural season, and “Translations” was the first in-house production (my “Alice The Musical” was to be its second a month or two later).

I sat next to Brian and his wife Anne at the opening night of “Translations” – we were all skulking at the very back row, in a kind of writers hide.

At one point, Brian stood up, and the brand new seat he was sitting on had such a hair-trigger tip-up that it just wasn’t there when he sat back down again. Anne and I had to discretely pick him up off the floor and much giggling ensued, which lead to our interval and post-show chats.

He was an incredibly gracious man and over the following years when we would be in the same venue at the same time (we shared many a season) he always made a point of saying hello and claimed to be aware of my most recent work; I have no idea if he did, or if he had just scanned the brochure minutes before, but either way it was always an honour and a pleasure to be in his company.

He was our greatest living playwright. Sitting next to him at a function felt akin to sitting next to Beckett or O’Casey – nothing less than an historic privilege.

He always looked exactly how you imagined he would, he spoke fondly of his beloved Donegal, which is possibly why he always looked so much at home at An Grianan, more so than at any other theatre at which I met him.

An Grianan (which has a soft spot in my own heart anyway) will always remind me of Friel. And I can still identify the offending seat in the back row that sent the “Irish Chekov” crashing to the floor that night in 1999. And as it happens, I’m very glad that it did.

Today both Ireland and the global theatre community lost a giant of a man.

Paul Boyd,  via Facebook

 


(Portrait of Brian Friel ‘Renouncing Chance’ by Colin Davidson, 2010 used by kind permission of the artist for our Rediscovering Friel project for the Earagail Arts Festival, July 2011).

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