Ship of Fools - Programme Notes

October 24, 2015

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.

clown noun
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. 
Veronica Coburn

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.
Emer McGowan


“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.


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