My website has been quite neglected of late. But I have a good excuse in the form of #WakingTheFeminists.
Other than all the practical logistics of being involved in the core team that coordinated the whole campaign (that small thing), I also dove head-first into the world of public speaking – not something I took to easily, but managed to get through it thanks to a lot of peer support and endless preparation. I hadn’t spoken much in public before, at all. All I can say is that it gets easier (and even enjoyable) over time – and I’ve been lucky to have had the opportunity for a lot of practice over the past two years.
Here’s (more or less) all the things I’ve spoken at to date in relation to #WakingTheFeminists – from small groups of students in seminar rooms, to 1500+ people in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. There are probably a few I’ve missed, but you get the idea.
And that doesn’t count radio, TV or print media interviews. But that’s a whole other story…
Photo by Kate Horgan
- #WakingTheFeminists public meeting, Abbey Theatre 2015
- Theatre Upstairs post show discussion 2015
- Trinity Drama & Theatre studies Contemporary Irish Theatre in Context seminars 2015 & 16
- NUI Galway seminars 2015 & 16
- Theatre of Change Symposium presentation, Abbey Theatre 2016
- UCD Arts Administration seminar 2016
- Lir Academy seminar 2016
- Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards acceptance speech, National Concert Hall 2016
- IETM plenary meetings, Amsterdam, Valencia, Bucharest 2015-17
- #WakingTheFeminists Spring Forward public event, Liberty Hall 2016
- TCD Law Society panel discussion 2016
- F Festival panel discussion, Back Loft 2016
- Luoghi Comuni Festival panel discussion, Milan 2016
- Dublin Junior Chamber International awards 2016
- Offset panel discussion, Bord Gais Energy Theatre 2016
- Drogheda Arts Festival ‘Dissenters’ event 2016
- Gaiety School of Acting seminar 2016
- Nottingham European Arts and Theatre Festival presentation 2016
- All Ireland Performing Arts Conference panel discussion, Town Hall Theatre Galway 2016
- Body and Soul Festival, panel discussion 2016
- Visual Arts Workers Forum presentation, Gluksman Gallery, 2016
- Cork Midsummer Festival presentation, Triskel 2016
- Inspirefest presentation, Bord Gais Energy Theatre 2016
- UC Berkeley seminar Dublin 2016
- Culture Night panel discussion for RTE Arena, Dublin Castle 2016
- University of Limerick seminar 2016
- Creative Minds series panel discussion, US Ambassador’s residence 2016
- #WakingTheFeminists One Thing More event, Abbey Theatre 2016
- Sibeal Conference in conversation, NUI Galway 2016
- TCD Philosophical Society presentation 2017
- Creative Ireland Gender Policy workshop 2017
- Women of the World festival presentation & panel discussion, Hull 2017
- Rough Magic’s ‘The Train’ panel discussion, Abbey Theatre 2017
- Circus & Gender conference presentation, Mercat de los Flores Barcelona 2017
- Arts Council’s Future Retrospectives panel discussion, Science Gallery 2017
- UCD theatre studies seminar 2017
- Sandymount Study Group & Curious Dolls Study Group presentations 2017
- Sugarglass Theatre post show discussion 2017
- Pori Theatre Festival in conversation, Finland 2017
A bit of an overview post of the past couple of months. It’s been busy.
– A Girl is a Half-formed Thing won a Fringe First and the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award 2015 during its run at the Traverse this August. Aoife Duffin also won the Award for Acting Excellence from The Stage. The London run at the Young Vic for early 2016 has been announced.
– I designed for performances in more dusty disused spaces: a doll factory in Crolly, Co. Donegal, and an unused shop unit in Smithfield, Dublin. More to follow on these.
– My photo (right) was used for the front cover of the Earagail Arts Festival brochure.
– I’ve been selected to take part in the Theatre Forum/Dublin Theatre Festival Next Stage programme later this month – aka theatre bootcamp.
– I was invited to take part in a lovely Dinner and Dialogue event to talk about good design in a beautiful Georgian house in Dublin’s city centre, as part of the year of Irish Design.
– Moonfish Theatre’s Star of the Sea is fitting up again this week for its national tour, including a few days as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.
– Thanks to grants from the Arts Council’s Theatre Artist Development Scheme I’m developing a pilot initiative with Mermaid Arts Centre called Gap Days for freelance theatre workers to take paid days to think, dream and plan for later this year, as well as preparing for year four of the Pan Pan International Mentorship programme.
Like I said, all go.
Earlier this year I worked with Ewa Segner and Siobhán Bourke of Irish Theatre Institute to compile a website to highlight stage and screen designers coming from and working in Ireland.
You can access the website here. It is in Beta mode for the next few weeks, and the content is being updated and added to every day – an ever-growing catalogue of the work of costume, set, lighting and sound designers/composers who design for the stage, and production, hair, makeup and costume designers who design for screen.
A Girl is a Half Formed Thing horizon ideas sketch
Most exciting (for me) is the chance to see some of the sketches side by side with the final production images – it’s always a treat to see the development of ideas, and the idiosyncratic ways that designers approach their work.
The timing of the website going live in June was to coincide with both the year of Irish Design and the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. However, it is a resource that will be kept up by ITI, along the same lines as their Playography and Irishtheatre.ie sites.
Earlier this year, I was commissioned by the secretariat of the IETM international network to write a ‘mapping’ report that outlines the current situation of the contemporary performing arts in Ireland. Incredibly difficult to distill it all down, but I had a go.
Here it is in all its sweeping, unsubtle, gap-filled glory.
(Thanks to Cian O’Brien of Project Arts Centre for being the outside eye and reassuring me that you’d never guess from reading it that I was a left-leaning liberal.)
Very happy that the two shows I designed last year, Star of the Sea for Moonfish Theatre and A Girl is a Half-formed Thing for The Corn Exchange, are both off on tour this year.
A Girl has already been remounted in the MAC Belfast and at Norfolk and Norwich Festival this year, and next up is the Traverse for the Edinburgh Fringe – where we’ll be in the company of lovely people all round: Sonya Kelly with How To Keep An Alien, Tim Crouch with An Oak Tree and Bryony Kimmings with Fake It Til You Make It, among others. More dates and venues for 2016 are in the pipeline.
Thanks to a touring grant from the Arts Council, Moonfish’s Star of the Sea will be heading off on an Irish tour in September and October, starting back in the Taibhdhearc. As I write I’m back on the Galway GoBus with my sketchbook from last year for a meeting with the team to see how to put it all back together again.
Star of the Sea sketchbook
The Theatre of War Symposium, Abbey Theatre, 22-24 Jan 2015
PDF of schedule here
After slowing down to comatose this Christmas, my brain needed a good jolt to get going again. And what a jolt this was.
I hadn’t been able to attend the previous Abbey Theatre symposium on Theatre of Memory in January 2014, but had heard good things. A symposium on war, though? That was a harder sell for me. However when the ever-inspiring Dominic Campbell said he was on the programming committee, the decision was made for me. Dominic has a fantastic way of connecting people and creative ideas and often comes at topics from a direction I can’t predict. Conversations with him always leave me with a list of things to go home and google.
The programming of the symposium was excellent – both in terms of the spectrum of speakers and the scheduling of the three days. Nobody had quite enough time to speak, which meant they filled every second they were on stage with energy, so as an audience we rattled from one new thought, artistic practice or viewpoint to another. Also, thankfully, the few sessions I was less interested in flew by too.
As part of the symposium, the Abbey were able to bring together the extraordinary women involved in the recently established Project Ariadne which is a network of female theatremakers working in conflict affected areas. Securing visas alone was an administrative feat – the women traveled from Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Palestine and Burundi via Belgium to speak at the event. Having them all in the one place for the first time, Ariadne‘s organisers Suzannah Tresillian and Georgie Wheedon were able to see the scale of the potential that the network has – I’m pretty sure a few stiff drinks were downed to help cope with the enormity of the situation. I was very lucky to have dinner with the network – I’ve never sat at a table so full of inspirational women.
Thankfully, the Abbey has much of the Symposium online, day by day.
DAY 3 (still to come)
I’ve listed my own highlights of the event here, with added links:
- Ariadne Project’s website and Twitter. The network members spoke on various panels during the symposium, and more information on each of them can be found here
- David Cotterrell‘s talk on the experience of being a war artist in Afghanistan
- Playwright Stacey Gregg’s piece on the “peace walls” in Belfast, as part of the Barriers panel on day 2
- A presentation by Ray Dolphin of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on the fragmentation of Palestine
- Dr Anne Dolan of TCD’s paper looking anew at the Irish Civil War
- Extracts of songs from Helen Chadwick‘s performance War Correspondents
- Vladimir Shcherban on how Belarus Free Theatre keeps operations going