October 24, 2015
SHIP OF FOOLS
WED 21 - SAT 24 OCTOBER 2015 8PM
Main Auditorium, Draíocht, Blanchardstown
Devised by Veronica Coburn
and all the Participants of
Hallelujah! Draíocht's Community Clown Choir
Director’s Note – Veronica Coburn
If you look up the word clown in a dictionary it will tell you that a clown is a comic entertainer, especially one in a circus, wearing a traditional costume and exaggerated make-up. To clown, it will say, is to behave in a comical or playful way. I prefer this definition.
to clown verb
to be human
to be vulnerable
to be spontaneous
to be playful
For me, the clown’s task is to make existence bearable, to do so in the sharing of their own humanity, willingly and joyfully. Hallelujah!, Draíocht’s Community Clown Choir harks back to the tradition of the societal clown – groups of clowns made up of members of the community who represented ordinary citizens at civic and sacred celebration. For the last three years Hallelujah!’s clowns have gathered together every week to sing and to laugh. To laugh at what is ridiculous. To find a way to, if not laugh, then accept what is not. And to feel release in the beautiful act of communal song.
A Note From Emer McGowan – Executive Director of Draíocht
Draíocht’s story goes back beyond the 14 years we are open. It starts 25 years ago, with a group of people sitting around their kitchen tables, envisioning a space situated in the heart of Dublin 15, a space where people’s cultural needs would be met. Draíocht’s Board and Staff, hold on to that original impetus and it has become our reference point, our touchstone, our beacon.
We believe that accessing all kinds of quality arts experiences is a right and should be part of the menu of our lives, that life long learning is essential, that within us all is the need to hear and be heard, to connect, to matter. By opening our doors wide, by inviting people in, by providing the space, supports and the inspiration,we know that all kinds of connections will be made and lives are changed.
Hallelujah, Draíocht’s Community Clown Choir is important because it gave people the space not only to play but to discover.
Over 150 participants have engaged with the project and they have worked with 7 artists, 3 designers and 8 production crew. Some participants came once, some stayed for three years. We have performed to over 2000 people in various locations in Dublin 15, Dublin City Centre and of course here in Draíocht. And though all of us appreciate that the numbers are important and need to be counted, the community that is the Clown Choir, the friendships, the support, the confidence to be vunerable in front of others, to stand up and say yes this is me, the pushing of your own potential and going way beyond what you ever imagined, is the thing that will remain.
I would like to pay tribute to our funders, The Arts Council and Fingal County Council, to Draíocht’s Board of Directors who believed in the Project, to our dedicated team both part time and full time, who work quietly in the background to make all of our programmes happen, to the artistic team who have shaped the Project and invested in it in all kinds of ways. And I would to pay a special tribute to my friend and colleague, Veronica Coburn. The Choir was her brilliant vision. She knew it would work. We did too.
And lastly, I would like to thank all our Clowns. This has been the best of us.
“Welcome to the ship of fools. A ship that is neither here nor there. A ship that has left but has not yet arrived. A ship that exists in a moment in time. A moment when you stop being who you are. And you have yet to become who you might be. A ship that sails through the night because that’s when you dream.”
Ship of Fools, a red nose re-telling of Alessandro Baricco’s Novecento, performed by twenty nine clowns was developed with Hallelujah! Draíocht’s Community Clown Choir and scripted by Veronica Coburn. A culmination of Coburn’s three year Residency in Draíocht, Ship of Fools is a full blown red nose piece of theatre featuring song and original score. Performed in an intimate setting, Ship of Fools promises to make you laugh, it will make your heart sing and it will most certainly make you consider a journey of your own.
Passengers on The Ship Of Fools
Anne “Spikey” Owens / Colm Deignan / George Carroll / Marian Connorton / Niamh O’Shaughnessy / Rose Collins / Simona Roveda / Vanessa Smith / Anne F. O’Reilly / Eithne Griffin / Josephine Gibney / Marianne Hartigan / Noeleen Quinn / Sally Hogarty / Susan Coughlan / Bogusz Peregryn / Fiona Fitzpatrick / Loretta Guihan / Maureen Penrose / Nora Clarke / Sandra Austin / Teresa McKeown / Bríd Ní Chionaola / Frances McDonnell / Louise Levins / Niamh Hogan / Paula Barry / Sayantani Chatterjee / Toni McNally
And to those clowns who had a seat booked but for various reasons couldn’t make it, we carry you with us in our good clown hearts. Ahoy to Áine Hayden, Betty Bolger, Bronagh O’Leary, Dee Heffernan, Maura Maycock, the splendid Niamh Lawlor, the lovely Siobhán Sheehy and the beautiful Dolores Ward.
Artistic Director / Veronica Coburn
Original Score, Musical Arrangement & Sound Design / Debra Salem
Choir Director / Louise Foxe
Design / Kieran McNulty
Lighting Design / Paul Doran
Producer / Emer McGowan
Production Manager / Eamon Fox
Assistant Technical Manager / Iarlaith O’Muirgheasa
Stage Management / Caoimhe Regan
Assistant Director / Niamh Lawlor
Drape Painting / Eithne Griffin
Sincere thanks to all the staff in Draíocht for all their good will, help & support over the last three years. Thanks also to Tom Lane, John White, Ciarán Gray, Amy Conroy and Marella Boschi. Also Simona Roveda who brought Alessandro Baricco’s Novecento to the table. It is her favourite book. Grazie Simona.
Very Special Thank You To: Fingal County Council and The Arts Council who funded the project.
October 1, 2015
Hallelujah! Draíocht’s Community Clown Choir has had the pleasure of working with Veronica Coburn, Theatre Artist in Residence, for the last 3 years.
Veronica Coburn’s 2013-2015 Residency was supported by The Arts Council’s Theatre Artist in Residence Scheme with additional support from Fingal County Council and the performance of ‘Ship of Fools’ marks the end of Draiocht’s 3 year Clown Choir Project.
We hope you'll come along!
Ship of Fools
WED 21 - SAT 24 OCT 2015 8PM
Main Auditorium // Tickets: €16 / €13 conc / €10 (under 12s)
Booking tel: 01-8852622 or Online ... here ...
“Welcome to the Ship of Fools. A ship that is neither here nor there. A ship that has left but has not yet arrived. A ship that exists in a moment in time. A moment when you stop being who you are. And you have yet to become who you might be. A ship that sails through the night because that’s when you dream.”
Ship of Fools, a red nose re-telling of Alessandro Baricco’s Novecento, performed by thirty five clowns was developed with Hallelujah! Draíocht’s Community Clown Choir and scripted by Veronica Coburn. A culmination of Coburn’s three year Residency in Draíocht, Ship of Fools is a full blown red nose piece of theatre featuring song and original score. Performed in an intimate setting, Ship of Fools promises to make you laugh, it will make your heart sing and it will most certainly make you consider a journey of your own.
Director Veronica Coburn, Original Score & Musical Arrangement by Debra Salem, Choir Director Louise Foxe, Design Kieran McNulty, Lighting Paul Doran, Production Eamon Fox.
May 28, 2015
Clown Through Mask - Professional Workshop with Veronica Coburn
4 WEEKS / 06 JULY – 01 AUGUST 2015 / 10AM – 3PM DAILY
COURSE FEE: €500
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 17TH JUNE 2015
Clown is the most beautiful art form. The red nose is a mask. All masks have an inherent character, a master that must be served. The red nose, the smallest mask in the world, articulates the character of the wearer. The clown.
The clown’s function is to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. The clown’s tool is the clown’s own humanity - the clown’s experience. The clown’s modus operandi is play - the clown’s innocence.
“If we ever faced all directions of ourselves at once we could only laugh at the beauty of our own ridiculousness.” Richard Pochinko
Clown Through Mask was devised by Canadian Richard Pochinko (1946-1989), and draws from the Amerindian tradition of clown and modern European performance clown (Lecoq) to provide a comprehensive system of work that articulates:
- A function for the modern performance clown
- A definition of clown theatre
- The Building of a Personal Mythology to release the individual performer’s creativity
- Exercises to allow students implement & practice new performance skills
Veronica Coburn is the author of Clown Through Mask – The Pioneering Work of Richard Pochinko as Practised by Sue Morrison. Written in collaboration with Sue Morrison, it is published by Intellect Press. She was a founder member of Barabbas - Ireland’s first dedicated physical theatre/clown company. As Draíocht’s Theatre Artist in Residence she runs Hallelujah! Draíocht’s Community Clown Choir. For Tiger Dublin Fringe 2014, Veronica wrote and directed Bernarda’s House, a poetic retelling of Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba for red nose, nominated for Best Production, Best Performer & Best Design.
About Veronica Coburn:
“The perfect facilitator: calm, clear, unbiased, and yet forthright and passionate.”
“..incredibly smart… emotionally as well as creatively astute. I felt totally safe in her hands from start to finish.”
The cost of the full 4 week workshop is an astonishingly reasonable €500.*
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 17TH JUNE 2015
Applications by email email@example.com stating name, contact details and reason for wanting to take part in the workshop. Further details phone 01-8098027.
*Supported by Artist in Residence Scheme
January 21, 2015
HALLELUJAH! DRAÍOCHT’S COMMUNITY CLOWN CHOIR
With Veronica Coburn – Theatre Artist in Residence 2014/2015
Hallelujah! began in 2012 as part of Veronica Coburn’s Artist in Residency in Draíocht for 2012/2013. A Clown Choir is a group of people who gather together to sing and laugh – to sing in celebration of what it is to be human and to laugh at the ridiculousness of the world we live in. You don’t have to be a good singer or a performer to join Hallelujah! You just have to be interested and willing - the ethos is one of accessibility, inclusiveness and artistic excellence.
In 2013 Hallelujah! performed their signature tune, Smile written by Charlie Chaplin, in a variety of places . The choir also worked on a performance piece about road rage entitled The M50 Symphony, an original work for human voice and car horn. And to finish the year the choir performed their Clown Nativity on Draíocht’s Main Stage
2014 saw the Choir focus on building a musical and red nose repertoire including a selection of songs and short clown sketches. We performed at a number of events throughout 2014 including in City Hall as part of Culture Night and we recorded our show, Clown Nativity, for local Radio to be broadcast on Phoenix FM.
2015 will see Hallelujah! develop a new show for performance on Draíocht’s Main Stage in the Autumn. The piece will be created through the workshop process and written by Veronica Coburn inspired by the participants own experiences. The red nosed performers will explore themes of personal ambition, fate and courage or lack thereof.
We are currently welcoming new members to Hallelujah!
If you are sociable, like to sing, like to laugh and are open to trying new things then WE WANT YOU!
Deadline for joining is the end of February 2015.
Cost for 1 year, February-December: €100 (payable in instalments).
For further information about joining please contact Emer McGowan on firstname.lastname@example.org
For Hallelujah! Veronica Coburn is Artistic & Clown Director. Choir Director is Debra Salem. Rehearsal Director is Louise Foxe.
Veronica Coburn’s 2014/2015 Residency is supported by The Arts Council’s Theatre Artist in Residence Scheme with additional support from Fingal County Council.
WATCH ... The choir singing in Draiocht Dec 2014
WATCH ... A typical Clown Choir Warm Up Exercise! Fun!!
WATCH ... The choir singing in Farmleigh, Phoenix Park Dec 2014
October 20, 2014
Thanks to Total Choir Resources for publishing this interview:
CHOIR VIEW: Hallelujah! Clown Choir
by Victoria Hopkins
In the latest of our occasional ‘Choir View’ series, we meet a very unusual choir from Ireland, led by rehearsal director Louise Foxe.
Q: Tell us a bit about your choir and how you came to lead it.
My cousin’s boyfriend told me about a ‘clown choir’ starting up in a theatre near where I live (the theatre’s name, ‘Draiocht’ means ‘Magic’ in Irish) in Blanchardstown. The choir was looking for leaders. The musical director lives in Scotland and does intensive rehearsals with the choir once a month, but the weekly rehearsal leadership was to be shared among four people. I had never heard of a ‘clown choir’ and was intrigued, so I looked it up and really liked what I read:
‘….The main performance programme will be innovative – The M50 Symphony, An Evening Rendition of 100 Green Bottles. There will also be elements of red nose performance in the programme. Hallelujah! is open to anyone regardless of ability. There is no audition process for Hallelujah! The ethos of Hallelujah! is accessibility and artistic excellence… Rehearsal directors will be expected to work collaboratively with Debra Salem, the Musical Director to deliver creative and inspiring rehearsals… a high quality of artistic engagement… develop and lead an inspiring programme with the support of Debra…’
It sounded great – fun, aspirational and inclusive without being patronising. It also sounded fabulous to have the support of the musical director, and to work as part of a team (choir direction can sometimes be quite solitary. “Draiocht,” are also hugely supportive of the choir – in terms of resources, time, and people.
Q: What sort of repertoire do you cover and where do you perform?
As you can see from the above, the repertoire isn’t exactly run-of-the-mill. Debra and Veronica (the artistic director) choose fun, uplifting pieces, often building and creating them into something more, into which the element of ‘red-nose’ performance can be incorporated. The musical and red-nose element really complement each other. Inevitably, though, the music is accessible to all and enjoyable. For example, we’ve sung songs such as Barbara Ann, Gareth Malone’s three-way round including Swing Low, When the Saints and I’m Gonna Sing, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, California Dreamin’, Freedom is Coming, various Christmas carols and Debra’s own Christmas compositions. We are now learning Rufus Wainwright’s Beautiful Child and Stand By Me, so it’s a varied programme. We’ve performed at launches of exhibitions, Christmas parties in the theatre, “Culture Night,” (an annual night in Dublin where all cultural venues open their doors for free) and we’ve done, “Flash mob,” performances in the shopping centre across from the theatre – among other things!
Q: What are your plans and hopes for the future of your choir?
I would like for people to continue to enjoy the choir and to produce work of which they are truly proud. I would like the people involved to feel that they have achieved something, and have given something, from being involved with the choir. The choir has a finite life-span, so in terms of concrete results, we will have performances and hopefully a recording at Christmas, and then more performances next year. To see a room full of adults acting like loonybins, having great fun doing it, and being totally comfortable doing so in front of each other (this is the red-nose element) is hilarious. It’s also remarkable considering they were strangers when they walked in the door, and it’s impossible to go to a rehearsal without being cheered up. If that’s happening for me, and I’m the rehearsal director, then I hope the rewards are ten-fold for the members of the choir.
Q: What do you get from Total Choir Resources and what else would you like to see on the site?
The site is brilliant. Thanks a million. The warm-up exercises are great, as are the ‘cheat sheets’. The technical tips are also extremely helpful – especially because they’re written in layman’s language. Also, the pieces on the psychological aspects of performance are useful and reassuring; so basically I get loads – I love everything! I suppose you could have a section where people can upload warm-ups or rounds or things like that, but really that’s covered on your Facebook page, so it’s not totally necessary. You could have a section for technical questions and perhaps a ‘looking for members’ section.
Our thanks to Louise for taking the time to tell us about her extraordinary choir. I think we can all learn something about innovation and creativitiy for our choirs from this group, whether we don red noses or not. You can find out more about Hallelujah Clown Choir here.