A busy year!
April brought In Our Veins by Lee Coffey in the Peacock Theatre, a co-production between Bitter Like a Lemon and the Abbey Theatre in association with Dublin Port Company. A beautifully funny and poignant journey through a hundred years of history of Dublin Docklands, the fantastic company and wonderful ensemble cast made this an absolute joy to direct. And what lovely responses we got from audiences, a really fantastic experience!
This year I am fortunate enough to be Artist in Residence at Backstage Theatre Longford. The first part of the residency from February to June (when not in rehearsal for In Our Veins) was focused on development of Lúminaria by Fionnuala Gygax, a magical new piece for young audiences. This was developed in association with Roscommon Arts Centre through the ‘Creative Counties’ initiative. Fionnuala and I ran a series of workshops with schools in Longford and Roscommon, alongside workshop based development with a wonderful team of actors and designers. This culminated in two fantastic work in progress showings to the children who had helped us develop it. The response from the children was great, and accompanied by lots of very helpful suggestions in the post show Q and A. We look forward to implementing some of these when we hopefully bring the show to fruition next year.
The second part of my residency is ‘Playmaking’, a community project working with 9-12 year olds to develop their playwriting skills and work with them to write short plays. After 2 weeks of summer workshops in playwriting, their subsequent plays will then be fully staged in October with a full team of professional designers and actors. The selection process was vey competitive, and a brilliantly creative group of young people are now on the path to writing wonderful plays!
Pre-production is also beginning on ‘The Spider’s House’ by Roderick Ford, winner of the Arts and Disability Ireland Realise award, which will be produced in Project in February. A dark, gothic thriller, I am looking forward to getting started on this one, very different from some of my other recent work!