Draiocht and Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris - Artist Residency Programme 2018-2019

November 2, 2017


Centre Culturel Irlandais’ annual residency programme offers great opportunities for artists of all disciplines to tap into the resources of the CCI and the city of Paris, as well as being an important means of showcasing Ireland's dynamic contemporary culture on an international stage.

Draiocht is delighted to partner with CCI to support the 2018/2019 Residency Programme.
CCI and the partner organisations share the costs of residencies in CCI enabling the Centre to increase the number of residencies it can offer. 
Draíocht is supporting a residency (one to two months) for an artist working in any discipline with a clear focus on children and/or young people articulated in the proposal.
N.B. Please tick the relevant box in the Application Form if your profile corresponds (see example below).

Applicants must be Irish citizens or normally resident on the island of Ireland, with professional involvement in creative practice.
Residencies of 1 to 2 months will be awarded for the period August 2018 - June 2019.
Travel from Ireland, accommodation and a monthly stipend are included.

Full guidelines, terms and conditions available on CCI's website from 1 November 2017: www.centreculturelirlandais.com

Applications to be made on-line by Wednesday 10 January 2018, 5pm GMT.

Centre Culturel Irlandais, 5 rue des Irlandais, 75005 Paris

For further information, please email emer@draiocht.ie

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By Draíocht. Tags: Draiocht Info,

The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WWII

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’.

Audience Feedback

‘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). 


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By Draíocht. Tags: Theatre,

Home Theatre (Ireland) - Draíocht Successful in Arts Council Open Call Programme Funding 2018

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.


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.

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 emer@draiocht.ie or call on 01 8098027.

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By Draíocht. Tags: Home Theatre Ireland, Veronica Coburn,

Des Kenny talks to Michael McLoughlin Artist in Residence at Draiocht

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.

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By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Michael McLoughlin,

Alex recommends that you consider joining D15 Youth Theatre

September 14, 2017

We caught up with Alex Cahill from Dublin 15, who joined D15 Youth Theatre in Draíocht in its first year, 7 years ago, when he was 14 years old. This year, Alex returned to D15 Youth Theatre, this time as a Writer, having written his first play ‘i-Court’, which was presented in Draíocht’s Theatre in July for 2 SOLD OUT shows, performed by the current members of D15 Youth Theatre, under the Direction of Eimear Morrissey and Mark Rogers, the facilitators of the weekly sessions.

Group Auditions will be held on 1 October 2017 for new members for Draíocht’s highly successful Youth Theatre (D15YT), for those aged between 14-18 years with a love of theatre, having fun, making new friends and trying new things. D15YT runs on Tuesday evenings 7pm-9pm, during school term times starting in October and running until May. Full details below.

Alex Cahill

What age did you start in D15 Youth Theatre?

I started Youth Theatre when I was 14 years old. I initially had to be dragged along to auditions by a few friends because I was an awkward, shy teenager who didn’t want to participate in any form of social interaction with strangers. After letting go of my fears and getting comfortable with the group around me, I ended up scoring a place among the ranks of the newly formed D15 Youth Theatre. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for the friends who brought me along. Beneath my own feeling of shy uncomfortableness, a promising dramatic flair stood out to the facilitators.


Would you recommend that someone consider joining our Youth Theatre?

I have always recommended to as many people as I can to join Youth Theatre. The hardest part in my experience is to get people to that initial audition, to convince them that interacting and working with a group of strangers is actually a lot more fun than you’d think. I think the term “audition” can be an intimidating word to people who are considering coming along, as it can elicit the fear that they’re going to have to present a monologue in front of a panel of judges. The YT auditions are not a frightening solo experience. They are a fun day where everyone participates equally in various group activities, where you’re having such a laugh that you completely forget you’re competing for a place in D15 Youth Theatre.



I found that Youth Theatre was such an important part of my life for me growing up. Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that it was only on for two hours a week. The long-lasting skills, friends, confidence, connections, and experiences make it irresistible to me not to recommend YT to everyone who even expresses the faintest interest, and even to those who don’t! Whether you’re shy or outgoing, dramatic or subdued, looking to get involved in the arts or just looking to take a break from the average school week, D15 Youth Theatre is the place for you!


Do you make friends?

Going into Youth Theatre, I knew no one. But looking back, I think this was for the best. Youth Theatre was the only group/club/activity I did outside of school. Having a whole new group of people enter my life was a really broadening experience that enabled me to step away from any reputation I may have had in school and start anew with a fresh group of people. The first few weeks of YT focus on making sure everyone gets to know each other, but honestly, even without the facilitators help, making friends in YT is one of easiest things in life. Everybody who has joined has such a unique, interesting personality, that it’s impossible to resist striking up conversation. I have made lifelong friends in Youth Theatre that I would consider some of my closest friends today. Even friends who I may have fell out of contact with over the years, I find myself stopping to talk to as if no time has passed if I bump into them on the street. Reminiscing about our days in YT always leads us to the conclusion that Youth Theatre were some of the best times of our life.


Can you be yourself?

Youth Theatre for a lot of us was a place where we felt confident to be ourselves, away from the eyes of classmates or family. I always felt that, since Youth Theatre was a new space, with new people, I had no prior expectation to live up to. I could be myself from the get-go, and the other members could take it or leave it. As it turned out, unsurprisingly, everyone loves someone who is honest to themselves, instead of someone who tries to act cool just to make friends. I quickly began to realise that I was much happier being true to myself in YT, and this changed the way I acted in all aspects of my life. Youth Theatre is not a place where people judge others. Being yourself in such an accepting environment couldn’t be easier.


Does it impact other areas of your life?

Youth Theatre taught me so much more than the many theatrical skills I learned there. Meeting new people each year, after being a new person myself at one point, meant that talking confidently to strangers was no problem at all for me. From classmates in school, to cashiers in shops, to new people in college, YT enabled me to have confidence with everyone I met. Youth Theatre also helps me confidently speak in front of groups of people. Doing presentations in college, or having an interview for a job is a breeze after you’ve gone on stage in front of hundreds of people. So many past members of YT have gone on to study or work in many different roles because they found a passion for it during their time here. From drama studies, to filmmaking, to sound design, to drag, and many others. All found the confidence, inspiration, or information due to being a part of the Youth Theatre.

Is it fun?

Youth Theatre was my highlight of each week. No matter what mood I was in, no matter how stressed I was with school work and exams, I would always look forward to letting my troubles melt away in Draíocht. Meeting up with my friends, doing hilarious workshops, creating interesting pieces, seeing all of our hard work pay off at our shows… There was never a week when I wouldn’t come home with a big smile on my face, my spirits high, and my longing for the next week already commencing.


What sort of activities take place?

Each session of Youth Theatre normally focuses on a specific aspect of theatre. With improvisation, movement pieces, character building, scripting, voice work, and many more, there’s always something new to try out and learn from each week. Before we get into the main focus of the week however, we always start off with an interesting warm up. These warm ups can be some of the most fun moments that you’ll remember, as they build up the atmosphere of fun, creativity, and energy for the rest of the night. It’s during these warm ups that you can really shake off the stress of the week before diving head first into whatever activity our amazing facilitators have cooked up for us.


Do you get to see shows?

When you’re learning about theatre, it’s important to take a look at the different sorts of theatre that are taking place around you. As a member of D15 Youth Theatre, you get the opportunity to see a variety of different shows, both in Draíocht and beyond. From your typical plays, to interpretive dance, to opera shows, to one-man comedy performances, YT aims to show you a huge variety of different aspects of theatre, and broaden your horizons and outlook on what different directions theatre can take you.



D15 Youth Theatre Auditions 2017
Draíocht Blanchardstown 
​For Ages: 14-18 Yrs

All are welcome to auditions, please drop into Draíocht to pick up an Application Form or phone 01-8852622 and we can post you one, or email sarah@draiocht.ie and she can email you one.

The Audition will take place on Sunday, 01 October 2017 @ Draíocht 11am-2pm.
Please arrive at 10.45am to sign in. You do not need to prepare anything or bring anything with you.

We will begin with a chat about the auditions and what will be involved in participating in D15 Youth Theatre.  You will then take part in a group workshop.  This workshop will involve some group activities and some script work.  Don’t be nervous – being able to work as part of a group, take guidance and pick up new things is every bit as important as previous experience.

The Audition is NOT based on talent alone; participants are selected with regard to the following aim: 

We aim to establish a good gender mix, from a range of abilities and backgrounds and so, will select participants based on the following criteria: 
• Gender balance 
• Social/geographical mix 
• Inclusion of ages 14 years-18 years
• Interest and passion for theatre

We will let each participant know by letter if they have been selected.
Should you be offered a place, the first term will run weekly from Tuesday 17th October.
There is a €10 membership fee per term and a €2 weekly contribution.
We look forward to seeing you at auditions and wish you luck on the day!


“For me, the relationship that all of us have as a group is something that is hard to find. We have gotten so close and made a family as such. Through Youth Theatre, I have met some of the nicest people I have ever met in my entire life, and I am so thankful for everyone for making this such a great experience for me. I really do love all of yous. It is amazing how much everyone bonds so well and the friendships that are formed are something that is truly special. Draiocht must mean magic after all, because there is something magical going on whenever we go there.”
Daire, past D15YT Member

“I’ve never felt so comfortable around a group of people in my life. Everyone in the group is friends, we get on so well we even joke and say that we’re a family. Being so comfortable around my fellow group members allows me to express myself, blossom and be creative and this in turn helps me to develop as an actress and writer all the time. Having such a supportive and constructive creative environment available is fantastic, and does wonders for your confidence and self-esteem. When you show up to a workshop on a Tuesday night having had a crap day or week, you know you’re going to leave with a smile on your face because the chemistry and energy in the group is amazing, it just lifts your spirits immediately when you step into the same room as them.”
Shauna, past D15YT Member

“At D15 Youth Theatre  you can be yourself, nobody judges you and you can let the worries of reality slip away. It acts as an escape for most members, a break from school work or annoying parents; we all know life can be a bit stressful every now and then, but no matter what mood I'm in, I'm always looking forward to 7pm Tuesdays!.”
Izzie, past D15YT Member

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By Draíocht. Tags: D15 Youth Theatre,

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