October 10, 2017
Coming to Draíocht in November as part of its International Tour
The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WW2
Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company with
Playwrights Deirdre Kinahan, Mary Moynihan, Fiona Bawn Thompson and Paul Kennedy
A creative re-imagining of moments from the lives of women during WWII recalling stories of bravery, sacrifice and love amidst the horror of war, as women stood up against fascism and totalitarianism and refused to accept oppression. Each performance is followed by a post-show discussion with the artists and invited guest speakers to explore powerful women’s stories in history and themes of gender equality and peace in Ireland, Northern Ireland and internationally. The performance goes on national and international tour to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Germany from September 2017 to February 2018, and we are delighted to welcome it to Draíocht.
Women’s stories in the performance include Mary Elmes (1908-2002), a Cork woman who was the first Irish person honoured as ‘Righteous Among Nations’ for her work saving Jewish children from the Nazi gas chambers during World War II; Ettie Steinberg (1914-42) the only female Jewish Irish citizen known to have been murdered in Auschwitz; Marta Hillers (1911-2001) from Germany who wrote her autobiography Eine Frau in Berlin (A Woman in Berlin) under the name ‘Anonyma’ (Anonymous), detailing her experiences of the last days of WWII as she and over one million other women were raped and abused by Allied soldiers of the Red Army; Neus Català Pallejà (b.1915) from Spain, a member of the United Socialist Party of Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War, an active collaborator with the French Resistance during WWII and the only living Spanish survivor of Ravensbrück concentration camp for women; Maria Eugenia Jasińska (1906-43) from Łódź in Poland who worked for the resistance and gave up her own life rather than ‘name names’; and Dolores Ibárruri, or La Pasionaria (1895-1989), from Spain, a revolutionary leader, political activist, communist and crusader against Fascism during the Spanish Civil War who created the famous cry ‘They Shall Not Pass’.
‘Such a moving piece of theatre. The performances were excellent’. Sabina Coyne Higgins
‘Thanks Freda and all the cast and crew of The Woman is Present! What a wonderful evening’ Mary Duffin, Audience member
‘Saw ‘The Woman is Present’ last night, a call to the heart: Stop war and trumpet the heroism of women, missing from history’. Dr Eric Weitz, TCD
‘It was just brilliant! The two actors were phenomenal. Well done to everyone involved!’ Niamh Clowery, Audience member
‘Brilliant, moving, eye opening journey into stories of women’s bravery tonight. Well done to all involved’, Audience Member
The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WW2
Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company
Thursday 30 November 2017 8pm
Draíocht, The Blanchardstown Centre, Dublin 15
Booking: (0)1 885 2622 / Tickets: €16 / €14 conc
The women’s stories featured in the performance can be found in the Women War and Peace Digital Book, with a foreword by Marian Harkin, MEP, which contains 23 stories of women’s experiences during World War II and is now available online. The book was launched at the Mansion House, Dublin on 8 November 2016 by Mary Lawlor, Front Line Defenders and Cllr Rebecca Moynihan, Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin. The editor of the book is Mary Moynihan, Artistic Director, Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company and Lecturer, BA in Drama (Performance), Conservatory of Music and Drama, and key contributors are Edyta Pietrzak, Inga Kuzma, Fernando Benavente Tendillo, Kilian Cuerda Ros, Arne Schrader, Freda Manweiler, Mary Moynihan, Jessie Maguire, Bernard Wilson (writing about the life of Mary Elmes) and Nadia Clare Smith (writing about the life of Dorothy MacArdle).
October 9, 2017
Today, the Arts Council announced over €1m in funding for 11 new innovative arts projects around the country under their Open Call Programme. Open Call is an Arts Council programme which funds ambitious, once-off artistic projects by some of Ireland’s best artists and arts organisations.
And Draíocht is delighted to be successful in our application under this scheme with our Home Theatre (Ireland) project for 2018.
Veronica Coburn, Artistic Director of Home Theatre (Ireland) with
Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts and Culture and
Emer McGowan, Director of Draiocht.
HOME THEATRE(IRELAND) is an ambitious, large scale and innovative way of making theatre that breaks down borders between artist and audience, arts infrastructure and the public. It will pair 40 leading playwrights/theatre-makers with 30 community hosts. We will ask them to spend time together in the host’s home to chat and talk, about what is important to them, about what they hope for and fear, about what makes them laugh, after which the artists will write an original play inspired by the host and performed in the host’s own home to an invited audience. All 30 plays will be simultaneously performed across Dublin 15, on one night (6th October 2018) and a selection of the plays will be performed in Draíocht over 4 nights (10th to 13th October 2018).
This now international movement, was developed by Kerry Michael from Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London in collaboration with Festival Internacional de Cenas em Casa, Brazil. It has had other UK and international partners including Birmingham Rep., and the State Theatre, South Africa. And now Draíocht is bringing it to our home, Dublin 15.
HOME THEATRE (IRELAND) will be led by Artistic Director, Veronica Coburn, who worked with Draíocht on the 3 year project, Hallelujah! Draíocht’s Community Clown Choir (2013 to 2015).
Emer McGowan, Director of Draiocht with
Veronica Coburn, Artistic Director of Home Theatre (Ireland),
Rory O'Byrne, Fingal Arts Officer and Mary McCamley, Mayor of Fingal.
Sheila Pratschke, Chair of The Arts Council with
Emer McGowan, Director Draiocht and
Orlaith McBride, Director of the Arts Council.
WE ARE LOOKING FOR HOME HOSTS ...ARE YOU INTERESTED?
Draíocht is seeking 30 hosts across all of Dublin 15 that will work with us on this Project. It doesn’t matter if you live in a big house or a little house, an apartment, out on your own or in a housing estate. It doesn’t matter if you live alone or with a few people or with lots of people. If you are interested in meeting with an artist, having a conversation with them with a view to hosting 3 performances of the 20 minute piece in your home on October 6th 2018, then we want to hear from you. The performances will be at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm and will be for an audience size dictated by your home. We will work with you to decide who those audience members are and we will support you with volunteer staff on the night. The participating homes will be confirmed in March 2018 and will be visited by Draíocht at that point.
WE ARE LOOKING FOR COMMUNITY AMBASSADORS ...IS THAT YOU?
Perhaps you would like to get involved in a different way? We are also looking for Community Ambasador’s who will partner with one host/home and act as a support to them. You will be their point of contact and be present for the visit and discussion between playwright/theatre maker and host. On the night of the performance, the Ambassador will be present for all three performances (5pm, 7pm, 9pm) and will be the HOME THEATRE (IRELAND) representative. The Community Ambassadors will be supported by Draíocht staff.
If you are interested in getting involved as a Host or as a Community Ambassador, there will be a FREE Information Session with Veronica Coburn, that will take place on Saturday 25 November at 2pm where you can learn more about the project. If you are interested, please email Emer McGowan on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01 8098027.
October 8, 2017
Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny chats to Michael McLoughlin, Artist in Residence 2017 ...
Michael McLoughlin is the current Artist In Residence in Draiocht and will work in the Artist Studio on projects for a show in 2018. I paid a visit to the studio on a fine September morning as the odd fallen leaf, Autumn’s calling card, rustled across Draiocht’s entrance.
I have known Michael for many years. We were fellow members of Pallas Studios, sharing studio space in old factories with twenty artists. At that time he had the smallest studio among Pallas members and due to lack of storage he would hang his sculptures from the girders of the roof. He managed to squeeze into his cramped space a fully equipped recording studio. Outside our studio on Foley Street was a stone crushing machine, pulverising rubble from condemned buildings. Michael recorded the crushing sound of the bricks going through the machine. He expanded one second of the recording into one minute’s duration. He replayed this for me and I was astounded to hear what appeared to be music not dissimilar to whale song. I was reminded of a verse in the Bible, which declared 'even the stones began to sing as Christ passed on his journey'. Music is rooted untapped in all things and a poetic line in the Bible suddenly had relevance in the scientific reality of contemporary life.
Today sound predominates his practice and is utilised to explore visceral links that bind people to a place and how a community evolves within its environs. Littered around the studio lie the tools of his vocation, loops of electric cable, microphones, and amplifiers, speakers of various sizes, synthesizers and recording equipment. All are used to record, magnify or soften the acoustic language captured by the echo chamber of the ear. Softly playing in the background as we talked is a piece he made for the atrium of the Sutherland School of Law, UCD. He suspended large speakers with steel cable from the cascading space of the foyer ceiling. Visitors were greeted with the murmuring song of swifts emanating from speakers above their heads. These birds fly through Syria, Greece, Africa and the artist infers a connection with the current migratory crises of people in these regions.
In a show at Limerick City Gallery the artist hung various speakers from the ceiling with specially manufactured electric cable. A company fabricated two miles of electrical wire to the artist specifications. The electric cable, while acting as a conduit for electricity and load bearing attachment for the floating speakers, also conjured an aerial line drawing in the vaulted air of the gallery. In his view, not using readily available cheaper electric cable but having it manufactured instead to his design, enhanced the installation. Attention to detail has a financial cost that an artist accepts to allow their works achieve complete visual impact. Perhaps it can be over emphasized, the significance of seeing his sculptures stored in the rafters of Pallas Studios, that the artist recognised the possibility to rehabilitate the vacant gallery roof space to hang his art. The chance requirements of necessity can become an influential keystone in an artist’s development.
It was a question I did not put to the artist. He did refer to the Kimmage project which changed his approach to making art all those years ago while still a member of Pallas Studios. It was called 'Ideal Homes' and he worked with the community, recording their words as they described their ideal home. The problem back then, as it is today for the artist, is to find solutions that prevent a community’s voice becoming distilled or manipulated to create a work of art.
His present undertaking involves working with the diverse community living in Mulhuddart and creating a project which Draiocht will showcase in 2018. Examining the effects the media and local government policy construe to formulate an image which does not reflect their personal experience. Scattered on a wall are sundry accounts from newspapers and policy documents which contextualise a narrative at variance with the communal life of Mulhuddart. Old and new maps of Mulhuddart trace the growth from a number of great houses to an urban sprawl where the historical names of the great houses now refer to housing estates. This wall of information will act as aid to anchor his thoughts to help create a work of art which will become a portrait of Mulhuddart.
Read more about Michael's work in Draiocht HERE ...
Desmond Kenny is an artist based in Hartstown, Dublin 15. He is a self taught painter, since he began making art in 1986 he has since exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad, solo shows include Draíocht in 2001, The Lab in 2006 and Pallas Contemporary Projects in 2008. His work is included in many collections including the Office of Public Works, SIPTU, and Fingal County Council. Kenny's practice also incorporates print making and he has been a member of Graphic Studio Dublin since 2004.