Blog

The Witchin’ Well, 2006, 2005

By Joe Brennan
An Grianán Theatre Production

First produced for the Earagail Arts Festival in July 2005, The Witchin’ Well toured nationally in 2006 and was also invited to Romania for an appearance at the Romanian International Theatre Festival for Children where it was performed at the Ion Creanga Theatre in Bucharest in October 2006.

Directed by Rachael Devir
Duration 60mins
Suitable for children 5 – 10 yr olds and their families

Like all good fairy stories this one is populated by strange creatures, giants, badly behaved children and of course the evil witch. Sean and Anne are the naughty children who find themselves sucked into a strange magical world that exists under their bed. With actors, specially created puppets, magic, music and special effects, The Witchin’ Well is a bewitching story of hidden strength and courage – a treat for all the family, particularly those between the ages of 5-10, or those older children who haven’t lost their sense of magic.

“Its success lies in capturing the imagination of its young audience with a strong storyline, good performances from the Donegal cast of four, and plenty of pace and invention… an hour of absorbing and innovative entertainment.” Irish Times

The Witchin Well team at Romanian International Theatre Festival for Children where it was performed at the Ion Creanga Theatre in Bucharest in October 2006.

Cast

Rachael Diver – ANNE
Conan Sweeney (original production) / Mark Kavanagh – SEAN
Declan Birney – THE WITCH
Jack Quinn – SKEETER

Production Team

Rachel Diver – DIRECTOR
Joe Brennan – WRITER
Joanne Quigley – COSTUME DESIGN
Guy Barriscale – SET/SOUND DESIGN
Niall Cranney – LIGHTING DESIGN

PRESS REVIEW

The Witching Well
An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny
Martin McGinley
Irish Times
7 July 2005

Storyteller Joe Brennan’s commission from An Grianán theatre for this year’s Earagail Festival proved a big winner for the kids, who hardly budged as a succession of fabled characters took the stage – among them the witch, the giant, leprechauns (except these are rappers), a wise fish and a talking cat. Sean and his sister Anne are deep in the forest when they come on the Witching Well, supposedly under a spell from the wicked witch. They’re having a little row, as siblings do, and Sean unwisely wishes he didn’t have a sister. Of course, he spends the rest of the play trying to get her back.

The engaging drama unfolds on a simple but rather beautiful stage set designed by Guy Barriscale. On one level it has the ingredients of classic morality tales – Sean repenting of words spoken in haste, Skitter the cat seeking redemption for working with evil forces, and Nellie the witch finding out what happens to someone with overreaching ambition.

But its success lies in capturing the imagination of its young audience with a strong storyline, good performances from the Donegal cast of four, and plenty of pace and invention. The leprechauns, little lit-up menacing puppets who venture into the trans-Atlantic rap scene before being mesmerized by Sean’s Irish tune, are just one of the many variations on traditional material.

The Witching Well doesn’t really play it for laughs, although there are a few of those, but Joe Brennan’s long experience of diverting children pays off as he delivers an hour of absorbing and innovative entertainment.

2006 Tour Dates

Dates: Mon 22 and Tues 23 May
Times: 10:30am and 12:30pm
Venue: An Grianán Theatre
Address: Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Box Office: 0749120777
Web: www.angrianan.com

Dates: Wed 24 May
Times: 10:30am and 12:30pm
Venue: Roscommon Arts Centre
Address: Circular Road, Roscommon
Box Office: 090 6625 824
Web: n/a

Dates: Thurs 25 & Fri 26 May
Times: 10:15am and 12:15pm
Venue: Riverbank Arts Centre
Address: Newbridge, Co.Kildare
Box Office: (045) 448333
Web: http://www.riverbank.ie/

Dates: Sat 27 May
Times: 2pm and 5pm
Venue: The Dock
Address: St. Georges Tce, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim
Box Office: 071 9650828
Web: http://www.thedock.ie/

Dates: Tues 30 and Wed 31 May
Times: 10am & 12pm
Venue: Glor Irish Music Centre
Address: Causeway Link, Ennis, Co Clare
Box Office: 065 684 3103
Web: http://www.glor.ie/

Dates: Thurs 1 & Fri 2 June
Times: Thurs 11am, 1pm/ Fri 11am, 8pm
Venue: Ramor Theatre
Address: Virginia, Co Cavan
Box Office: 049 8547074
Web: http://www.ramortheatre.ie/

Dates: Tues 6 and Wed 7 June
Times: 10:30am and 12:30pm
Venue: Watergate Theatre
Address: Parliament Street, Kilkenny, Co Kilkenny
Box Office: 056 7761674
Web: http://www.watergatekilkenny.com/

Dates: Thurs 8 and Fri 9 June
Times: 10:30am & 12:30pm
Venue: Backstage Theatre
Address: Farneyhoogan, Longford, Co. Longford
Box Office: 043 47888
Web: http://www.backstage.ie/

Dates: Sun 11 June
Times: 2pm and 4pm
Venue: Droichead Arts Centre
Address: Barlow House, West Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth
Box Office: 041 9833946
Web: http://droicheadartscentre.com/

Dates: Tues 13 & Wed 14 June
Times: 10 am & 12.30pm
Venue: Civic Theatre
Address: Tallaght, Dublin 24
Box Office: (01) 4627477
Web: http://www.civictheatre.ie/

Dates: Thurs 15 and Fri 16 June
Times: 10am & 12pm
Venue: axis theatre
Address: Main Street, Ballymun, Dublin 9
Box Office: 01 883 2100
Web: http://www.axis-ballymun.ie/

Dates: Sat 17 June
Times: 10:30am and 12:30pm
Venue: Mermaid Arts Centre
Address: Main Street, Bray, Co Wicklow
Box Office: 01 272 4030
Web: http://www.mermaidartscentre.ie/

Dates: Tues 20 and Wed 21 June
Times: 4PM (both days) and 7PM (Tue only)
Venue: Institute for Choreography and Dance
Address: Firkin Crane, Shandon, Cork
Box Office: 1890 200 555
Web: http://www.corkfestival.com/

Dates: Thurs 22 & Fri 23 June
Times: 11am and 7pm
Venue: Theatre Royal
Address: The Mall, Waterford
Box Office: 051 874402
Web: http://www.theatreroyalwaterford.com