YES! Ireland makes history.

Just before we leave the topic of Marriage Equality, here are a couple of links about the historic weekend in Ireland.

 

Miriam Lord in the Irish Times does a wonderful job of describing the events of the day as the Yes tallies kept rolling in.

And a shout out to all those who came Home to Vote, it couldn’t have happened without them, espeically the amazing Joey Kavanagh who lead the Get the Boat to Vote initiative.

And finally, I really like Una Mullally’s article on being who you’re meant to be and how the world will change around you when you allow yourself that freedom.

Now – as President Bartlett would say, “What’s next?”

A Noble Call for Marriage Equality

YesCampSome wonderful sights and sounds from the Noble Call for Marriage Equality at the Abbey last Wednesday. It sounds like a joyous morning full of love and support and enthusiasm. The video is just a little taster and then the SoundCloud is a recording of the entire morning’s events. It’s 90 minutes long and full of passionate speeches, joyful songs and performances from people including Roddy Doyle, Marina Carr reading from Molly’s soliloquy from the end of Ulysses, and Wayne Jordan performing a section of Sarah Kane’s Crave, the wonderful Sonya Kelly and loads more lovely people.

Top Tip: Paul Reid and Sarah Greene singing

Paul Reid and Sarah Greene singing “We’re All on the Edge” from Alice in Funderland is at 33 minutes, 50 seconds.

Happy birthday Smock Alley

SmockBirthday A couple of weeks ago, Smock Alley Theatre celebrated it’s 3rd birthday, or it’s 303rd birthday depending on when you start counting from. The refurbished theatre as it is today, opened in 2012. The first play I saw in the newly opened Main Space was Pan Pan’s A Doll House. I loved the show and I also loved the new theatre with it’s long, green seats and it’s smell of new wood. During the long years of transformation, Smock was often used during the festivals, so I had visited the space a few times over the years. The Belgium company Ontroerend Goed made great use of the Main Space for The Smile Off Your Face in 2010, when it was still an empty cavern and only recently excavated, ideal for being pushed around in a wheelchair while blindfolded! The Boys School was the Fringe Festival bar in 2009, when I did most of my volunteer shifts in Smock Alley and hung around the theatre for a week. Four years later, I spent both weeks of the Fringe Festival in Smock Alley, first with Come As Soon As You Hear’s Whelp (my first ever job as producer) and then working on Moving City. Most of the shows I’ve produced have been in Smock Alley and I’ve spent a lot of time in the theatre over the years. I was very proud to see my first play performed in the Main Space in February. On the night there was a lovely exhibition set up all around the walls of the Boys School as you walked up the spiral rams –  posters and programmes from all the shows that had graced the stages of the Smock Alley over the years. It was lovely to be reminded of the many great shows I’ve seen there, as well as spotting a couple of productions that I worked on! It’s a theatre that’s close to my heart. I am always happy to pop in and see what’s happening. All of which is to say that I am very fond of the place and was delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate their success. As well as being a great place for theatre, Smock Alley is also very good at food and drink. On the birthday night they were serving a new Smocktail – a pale green concoction with elderflower cordial, vodka and cucumber syrup. It was very tasty, very summer-y and went down far too easily! I also had delicious sausage rolls and a couple of tiny, boozy brownies. So if you haven’t yet been to Smock Alley, or you just haven’t been there in a while – go! There’s loads of Writers Festival events there over the next week, as well as lots of other things.

Fabulous Marriage Equality Events

Fabulous Marriage Equality Events

There are two lovely Marriage Equality events over the next couple of weeks that I can’t go to because I have a day job now. It’s so unfair – I feel like I’m being discriminated against! Though I suppose it serves me right for being out of the country on the day of the vote.

Most of the time, I’m delighted to have a job. Being self-employed can be hard work and it’s nice letting someone else be the boss for a change. Instead of constantly trying to keep myself motivated and deciding the best way to spend my time and energy, I just turn up and do what I’m told. It’s nice feeling like I accomplished something at the end of the day, just because I went to work. And because I did that, I know there is a pay-cheque coming along very soon. That’s nice too!

But sometimes there are fun things happening in the middle of the day and I’m sad that I’m not my own boss any more. I can’t go but if you can, you should! (Similar to my plea – I can’t vote, but you should!) These are two events that are definitely worth leaving the house for. (This is always a bit of a struggle for me when I’m self-employed. I tend to become a bit of a hermit.)

ELOVEnesesFringe are holding ELOVEneses tomorrow morning, Friday May 8th. This is their usual Elevenses coffee morning with a Marriage Equality twist! As well as hot beverages, delicious cakes and lots of theatre chat, there will be donation buckets and Yes Equality paraphendilia. Fringe Elevenes are always lovely – very welcoming and chatty, this sounds like it will be more of the same and then some!

Next week, Wednesday May 13th, the Abbey Theatre are hosting A Noble Call for Marriage Equality. I’m very sorry to be missing this. It’s at 11am on the Wednesday morning, tickets are free and available on a first come, first served basis from 10am on the day. They are promising actors, playwrights and surprise guests as well as songs from Romeo and Juliet, The Risen People and Alice in Funderland. I think it will be a total love-fest and I hope the Abbey is jam-packed for it.

VoteYesSo if you do find yourself at a loose end on either morning, whether it’s due to unemployment, under-employment, shift work or whatever, do along and have a ball.

And don’t forget to vote on May 22nd!

Live Collision 2015

LiveCollision15I am always very appreciative of festivals who bring international artists to Dublin, especially smaller, more niche performers who generally don’t tour that often. This year’s Live Collision programme is a great mix of Irish and international artists. Visiting artists are also doing workshops or collaborating with Dublin-based performers, which I think is a great way to keep a festival vibrant and meaningful to local artists and audiences. This blog post is late – Live Collision started on Wednesday, so it’s half over at this stage, but there is still lots to enjoy.

There is an Artist Salon workshop on Friday afternoon with UK artists Curious. You have to bring with you some sort of ‘information’ about your body that is invisible to the naked eye. The workshop will involve writing and movement to create work both solo and collaboratively. Tickets are €15/20 and it’s on in Fringe Lab.

There are also lunch time talks taking place in Project on Friday and Saturday. These are public discussions, with questions from the audience. Friday’s theme is We are in Public, with Nic Green and Massive Owl and it’s about artists who create participatory work. Nic Green is part of this year’s festival and also did Trilogy in the Fringe in 2010, which I participated in. Massive Owl are doing an Artist Exchange with three Dublin-based performers as part of Live Collision. Saturday’s panel, We Are Only Human with Francis Fay, Amanda Coogan, Kris Nelson & Vaari Claffey will explore current trends in live art.

Irish artist Amanda Coogan is performing Smoking in Bolero in Meeting House Square on Friday night at 7pm and it’s one of the many free events happening across the festival. Another one is Nic Green‘s Abhann Liffe on Saturday evening. The meeting point for that performance is outside Project and it will take place at low-tide, which will be around 5.15pm.

There is also a performance in the Science Gallery as part of their new exhibition Home/Sick. It’s a live, interactive installation called 97 Years and will happen on Friday and Saturday at 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm. Tickets are €8 and available from the Science Gallery website. It’s nice to see the festival spread across the city.

And of course, there’s the main events of the festival – the double bill performances in Project Cube. On Friday night these are Workshy and 27 and on Saturday you can see Stud and Dickie Beau Unplugged. Tickets are €15/13 which means you’re basically getting two shows for the price of one!

And if none of that tickles your fancy, there’s also a strand called We Are Dancing which includes 27 Club drinks in Project Bar on Friday night and Yes Yes Yes at Mother on Saturday.

So go – enjoy some Live Art! You might find it odd or irritating or inspiring but it’s worth giving it a go – it’s not scary.

Voting

Voting

When the polling stations across Ireland open on May 22nd, I will be on a plane to Barcelona to celebrate my parents wedding anniversary. I didn’t plan to be out of the country for the Marriage Equality vote and it seems a little bit perverse to be celebrating traditional marriage while the country votes on whether or not to extend that privilege to all Irish citizens, but my parents are forty years married this year and I couldn’t really miss the celebrations.

The flights were booked weeks before the date of the referendum was announced. I am sad and disappointed to not be able to vote. The government has been talking about and promising this referendum for a very long time, it’s annoying to be out of the country when it finally happens. Voting is important to me. In 2002, in my final year of college, I travelled home to vote on the very confusing “abortion referendum” when Bertie Ahern’s government tried to over-turn the ruling on the X-case. It was confusing because a yes vote meant you wanted the case over-turned and the laws around abortion to become more restrictive, or you could vote no and keep things as they were. By a small majority, the people voted not to over-turn that ruling and it still took the government over 10 years to legislate on it. That vote was on a Thursday and I went home to vote on Thursday night and then back to college on Friday morning because I was in final year and we were finishing projects that week.

MarRefIf I was here to vote on May 22nd, I would be voting yes in the Marriage Referendum because I’m a big fan of equality. I’m not that bothered about marriage but I recognise that my ambivalence is a pretty privileged stance to have. I can turn my nose up at marriage and say I’m not sure it’s for me because I get to take it for granted. I can get married if I want to or not. Anyone who wants to get married should be allowed to do so. I’ve heard lots of people be very enthusiastic about marriage, that committing yourself to another person in that way can make you feel like part of a team, a true partnership. Why would you want to deny that to anyone?

I really want this referendum to pass because a yes vote would say so much about this country. I don’t want to live in a backward, mean-spirited, homophobic country that believes that it’s ok to treat people differently because of their sexuality. To me, that’s what a no vote says – it says you think LGBT people should be treated as second class citizens. I want to live in a loving, inclusive society where people are treated equally. Passing this referendum won’t instantly make that happen, but it would be a step in the right direction. It could be great turning point for Ireland, which, let’s face it – has had a rough few years. This could be the start of something new.

To me, the people against marriage equality are against change. They are backward looking and nostalgic for an Ireland that doesn’t exist any more. But to me, Ireland is not a country that can talk about the “good old days”. We are forever discovering new revelations about how bad things were in this country, particularly for anyone on the margins of society. It’s a big step for Ireland to finally step out of the shadows of Rome and Catholicism and make it’s own decisions based on what it best for it’s people. I believe that equality makes life better for all people. I don’t want to have more rights than other people – that doesn’t feel right.

So if you are here on May 22nd, and you are eligible to vote – please make your voice heard! Check now to make sure you’re on the register and if you’re not, you still have time to get a vote before May 22nd. All the details are on the Yes Equality website. Maybe you think I’m a bit of a hypocrite tell you to use your vote when I’m not using mine. I don’t care what you call me, as long as you vote! If the referendum doesn’t pass, I will feel very guilty for going on holiday.

And if I haven’t convinced you to Vote Yes, maybe Bosco can!

(I’m not sure how I’d vote in the Referendum on the Presidential Age of Eligibility. I can’t decide if age and experience is more or less useful than youth and energy in a President. You can still have a youthful outlook when you’re over 35 but is there any substitute for experience?)

Project 50 Commissioning Fund

Project 50 Commissioning Fund

Project50Next year Project Arts Centre turns 50, and last Tuesday they launched the Project 50 Commissioning Fund – a fund-raising initiative to commission new work to mark that anniversary. In his speech, Artistic Director Cian O’Brien said that Project was built on with the belief that artists could manage their own affairs and to give a home to work that was outside the establishment. Project has not strayed from these core values. It still gives artists the confidence to manage their own affairs, often by supplying a little bit of help and support. At the most basic level, they have free wi-fi and a coffee machine in their reception area, and tables were you can sit and work or have a meeting! That alone is valuable to an independent theatre maker!

Pauline McLynn opened with fund with the first €50 donation, and a speech that made illusions to the possible children conceived within the walls of Project over the years, and ended by fan-girling over Henry the dog. There were children and dogs at this event which just goes to show what a welcoming and  inclusive space Project is!

Project wants to allow artists to take risks and make new work. The commissioning fund is specifically about supporting new work. It’s not about paying admin staff or keeping the lights on, it’s about keeping the spirit and intention of Project alive. This is something new and something big and I think it will be very exciting.

There are loads of ways to donate. There is a big donate button on the website, but there’s also a donation box on the desk in box office for your €10 or €2 or 50 cent. Do it now!