Sunday Round-up

1. Back from my holidays
I was lucky enough to spend the last couple of weeks in Spain, which was wonderful. I swam, I sat in the sun drinking wine, I ate lots and lots of tapas and read lots of books. (Yep, old-fashioned, paper books.) I also attended a Golden Wedding Anniversary, which was a first for me!

Nerja

October is a good time of year to go away and get a bit of necessary sunshine before facing into the winter because it has the added benefit that you arrive back to wonderful autumn colours on the trees. You don’t get that spectacular colour palette in southern Spain. The colours you do get include bright blue skies and warm yellow sunshine so I’m not complaining, but all those greens and yellows and reds makes the bus journey back from the airport a bit less depressing!

2. Waking The Feminists
Being back in Dublin also means lots of chats about Waking The Feminists in theatre bars and foyers. It’s often been the first topic of conversation. I know I’ve said it before but it’s so incredibly exciting. It’s going to get even more exciting this week when the first public meeting happens on Thursday at 1pm. Venue will be confirmed tomorrow and women in the arts are asked to arrive at 12.30 for a photo-shoot. Change is coming!!

If you want to catch-up on everything that’s happened in the last 10 days and to see all the things that have been said by women in the arts, as well as what’s been said in the press – check out the WakingTheFeminists website.

3. White Label Symposium
WhiteLabelI spent Saturday in Wood Quay at the White Label’s Story Machines – Theatre and Technology Symposium. White Label are a collective of theatre makers and the symposium was about how technology is represented on stage and how it can be used in the theatre.

The workshop on Saturday morning was run by Identity Problem Group. They are a interdisciplinary artistic collective from Poland who use a lot of technology in their work. There is a huge focus on technology in their work which was very interesting, as was their use of improv and the six months they get to rehearse a show!

In the afternoon, there was a reading of Override, a new play by Stacey Gregg. We only got to hear the first half but it raised lots of questions about medical improvements and enhancements to the human body. I’m looking forward to seeing the full production next year.

This was followed by a short documentary about theatre artists who want to replace actors with machines and a presentation by Akhila Krishnan who works for 59 productions. That link is worth clicking because they have worked on some amazing projects – when she joined the company Akhila’s first project was the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics! They also run a paid internship.

The final event was a panel discussion with Sophie Motley, Jack Phelan, Kris Nelson and Akhila Krishnan about the using technology in theatre productions and the challenges in presents, particularly in the context of the work being made in Ireland. Some of lessons here were that if you are including technology, it should be absolutely vital to the show, it’s important to do loads of prep work and have a realistic budget! I also thought it was interesting that they described themselves as “video artists”. There’s more from the panel on the White Label’s twitter.

It was a really great day of exploring ideas and hearing about new technology. I enjoyed it and look forward to White Label’s next event.

4. New Writing
You can see six new plays at the New Theatre this week, as part of their New Writing Week. Tickets are €4 and available on the door. Shows start at 7.30pm. I’m not going to get to see all six but I am hoping to make it to one or two.

Full Line-up
Mon 9th – Dummy by Emma Hughes
Tue 10th – Another Billy Conn by Andrew Kenny
Wed 11th – Normal by Caitriona Daly
Thur 12th – Drawing Crosses on a Dusty Windowpane by Dylan Coburn Gray
Fri 13th – The Entrepreneurs by Neil Pearson
Sat 14th – Loveboxxx by Lauren Shannon-Jones

5. You’re The Worst
This American sitcom is still one of the funniest things on telly right now, and the second season is also breaking my heart on a weekly basis right now. If you like Catastrophe, you will love this. It’s not on tv this side of the Atlantic yet, but it might be possible to find a few episodes online.

YOU'RE THE WORST -- Pictured: (l-r) Aya Cash as Gretchen Cutler, Chris Geere as Jimmy Shive-Overly, Kether Donohue as Lindsay Jillian, Desmin Borges as Edgar Quintero. CR: Autumn De Wilde/FX
YOU’RE THE WORST — Pictured: (l-r) Aya Cash as Gretchen Cutler, Chris Geere as Jimmy Shive-Overly, Kether Donohue as Lindsay Jillian, Desmin Borges as Edgar Quintero. CR: Autumn De Wilde/FX
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Banshee

BansheeEarlier this year, I supported the Banshee Kickstarter because it sounded like an interesting project that was just the right amount of ambitious. (And because I like getting exciting things in the post. I am always more likely to support a crowd-funding campaign that promises to send me nice things in the post.)

I’m not a big magazine reader. I read a lot online and when I’m away from the computer, I prefer to read fat novels. But Banshee came through the door when I was between books and it was nice to read short pieces for a change. It has a nice mix of stories, poems and essays. The magazine is a great size for your handbag (unlike the books that give you backache) and a lot of the pieces are the right length to enough with a cup of tea or on a short bus journey. It’s gets a big thumbs up for me. You can still subscribe here and looking forward to getting something exciting in the post next year. It’s an investment in your future happiness.

They are also accepting submissions for the next issue at the moment and you have until Halloween night to send in your poems, short stories or essays. Submission details are here. And you can also read an interview with the three editors here.

If you can’t wait for the post or just aren’t interested in hard-copy magazines, I recommend you head over to The Coven for your literary needs, another spookily named literary magazine but one that’s all online.

Friday Five: New writing

Last week was all about returning favourites and this week it’s about new work that will be staged over the next few weeks and months.

  1. Leper + Chip isn’t brand new, it had a very successful run at Theatre Upstairs last year but it has now transferred to the Project Arts Centre. The run finishes tomorrow and is sold out, which is brilliant for a new play from a young writer and frustrating for the last minute theatre booker. However it’s always worth looking for returns, particularly for the matinee on Saturday afternoon which will be followed by a discussion on New Writing in Contemporary Dublin. Leper + Chip was first performed in Theatre Upstairs where you can see world premiers of brand new writing almost every week, for a very reasonable price. Their next show The Swing, opens on Tuesday.
  2. Fishamble: The New Play Company are also one of the go to places for new writing and they are currently on tour with Underneath, written and performed by Pat Kinevane. This was first performed at the end of last year as part of the Limerick City of Culture programme. Any one who has seen Silent or Forgotten will know that a new Pat Kinevane play is an exciting prospect and it is on tour all over the country, from now until the beginning of July. All the dates are here.
  3. Rough Magic’s Everything Between Us may be more “new to me” than brand new because it has already won the Meyer-Whitworth Award and the Stewart Parker Trust BBC Radio Drama Award. I’m not familiar with the playwright David Ireland; he is making his Dublin debut with this play. It opens in Project next Wednesday and runs until the end of February. Rough Magic are running a series of panel discussions along side the play, as well as offering a limited number of €10 to those under 30. The panel discussions are free but ticketed.
  4. The Abbey seem to have a lot more planned for the Peacock stage this year, including a new play by Owen McCaffery who wrote the award winning Quietly. Death of a Comedian is on in March. It’s about a stand-up comedian played by Brian Doherty, who I remember fondly as a bitter and twisted comedy writer in Anthony Neilson’s God in Ruins. I saw that bleak Christmas show seven years ago and still remember his fantastic performance, amongst a wonderful ensemble cast.
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  6. If you want to give it a try yourself, the Irish Writers Centre is running a course called Playwriting: Writing Towards First Production with Michelle Read who wrote one of the 24 Hour Plays last weekend. It’s for writers with some experience of theatre writing, rather than complete beginners. It starts on Tuesday 10 February, so if you want to sign up, do it now! Fishamble will be running courses in the spring for complete beginners; more details here.

Update of scratch nights

After writing the piece on scratch nights last week, I only just found out that the Abbey are doing a couple of scratch nights of new writing this month. The first was last Tuesday and the second is at 8pm tonight. Apoligises for the late notice, but if you see this in time – it sounds like a very interesting evening:

The cast of ‘The Waste Ground Party’ will read works-in-progress from Darren Murphy, Elena Bolster, Jesse Weaver, John McManus, Lisa Carroll, Darren Donohue, Eugene O’Hare, Damian Kearney and a well-known special guest playwright, all directed by Resident Assistant Director Maisie Lee.

Peacock Scratch Nights are an opportunity for playwrights to try out ideas and get instant feedback. For audiences, they offer a sneak preview of up-and-coming work and the opportunity to support new artists and emerging talent.

More info here: Peacock Scratch nights

Also Fringe have announced dates and deadlines for the next Fringe Fuse. It will be on Monday 15th December at 7pm. To apply email emma@fringefest.com with a short description of what you would like to present and why you’d like to show it (min 250, max 600 words). The deadline for applications is Friday 28th November at 6pm.