An Grianán isn’t just about the shows on the stage – here’s an overview of some of the projects we’ve been working on recently.
In January we produced Letterkenny writer Kieran Kelly’s new play, Jimmy’s Winnin’ Matches, which attracted attention not just from the public, but from members of the 2012 All Ireland Winning team, who turned out to see it and declared it a winner! So much so that we’ll be bringing it back for this year’s Earagail Arts Festival in July.
In February, in partnership with the Lyric Theatre and the Playhouse Theatre, Derry we were part of an exciting and lively 2 day reading of a new play by a very promising young Strabane writer, Isaac Quinn. 10 actors from Donegal and Derry read and workshopped the script under the guidance of Isaac and the Playhouse Theatre’s producer Kieran Griffiths. It’s hoped that this will be the starting point that will lead to a full production of the show at some stage in the future.
In December we put on one of our most ambitious productions to date, Constellations, where we brought together 9 local groups under the artistic direction of two of our board members, Iarla McGowan and Rachel Akkoç for two shows showcasing some of the best performers and talent in the Northwest. It was a great success and highlighted the available talent, and the breadth and depth of arts development activity going on in our community by so many talented and dedicated facilitators.
Olesya Zdorovetska, the Ukrainian musician and performer made a hugely positive impression on all of us when she was the recipient of our second IMC Jazz Navigator Residency in November. As well as working with numerous local groups she held a very powerful small concert/sharing of the work she’d been developing that will live long in the memory of the people who were there. We will have our third resident artist under the IMC scheme this June.
We took Patrick Quinn’s play REVVED over the border in November, and all the way east to Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, and it was both well attended and well reviewed.
Our two young curators Ailís Cross-Gorman and Fergal Lonergan have now finished their time with us, and we’ll be looking for new people to take on the mantle from June this year. Their last event, The Big Gay Cabaret, takes place on Friday 31st March, and we’d like to put on record our appreciation for all their enthusiasm and hard work.
An Grianán’s Youth Theatre, under the guidance of facilitator Nora Kavanagh, took part in the Halloween Parade in Derry and presented a full length drama A Vampire Story in November, and the busy classes are in full swing again.
Trad Week 2023, which is a partnership between An Grianán Theatre and The Regional Cultural Centre was a great success. We had two nighttime concerts, Clann Mhic Ruairí agus Trú, and Nua Aimisire featuring the talents of Landless, Niamh Bury and Julie Avalon, and two lunchtime concerts, and we’re looking forward to 2024’s festival already.
We’re also part of a new festival, the Sound! Film Festival, which is led by the Regional Cultural Centre. We will host the festival’s opening concert with the Donegal Chamber Orchestra.
The National Theatre Writer’s Workshop, where local writers are mentored by a writer from the Abbey Theatre, resumed in February and there will be five more before the end of the year.
Once again we’ll be taking Groove, by Anna Newell, into St Bernadette’s School Special School. You can read more about this show at annanewell.ie.
An Grianán has also signed up to the Arts & Creative Charter for Older People with Age & Opportunity. This pilot scheme will run throughout 2023 so look out for information and opportunities relating to it as the year goes on.
We will again be co-operating with Donegal County Council’s Social Inclusion Unit on Social Inclusion Week, which takes place from 25th March, and we will have a concert marking it on Saturday 1st April. Africa Day, which was a really joyous event last year, will take place on Saturday 27th May.