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Award allows Fregoli reach new heights

Judy Murphy

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Jarlath Tivnan, Kate Murray, Peter Shine and Eilish McCarthy, who portray life for children of the 1990s in Fregoli Theatre's new production, The Pleasure Ground.

Fregoli Theatre Company will enjoy a few firsts when they stage their latest work, The Pleasure Ground, at the Town Hall Theatre next Friday and Saturday, August 21 and 22.

The Pleasure Ground is their 20th show, but this will be their first time on the main stage of the city theatre – until now Fregoli have played the Town Hall Studio when they have performed in this venue.

The Pleasure Ground, set in a West of Ireland town, also marks the first time Fregoli have tackled a two-act play, although their one-act dramas have toured at home and abroad.

And Fregoli are capping their achievement by being the first group to have won the Michael Diskin Bursary, a €5,000 award commemorating the late manager of the Town Hall Theatre, who died in 2012.

Understandably the director of The Pleasure Ground and Fregoli co-founder Maria Tivnan is thrilled, if a little apprehensive, about all these developments.

“This play has been stewing a long time,” she says.

“The Christmas before last, myself [and Fregoli colleagues] Kate Murray, Jarlath Tivnan and Rob Mc Feely met in Tí Neachtain to talk about the year ahead. I said I wanted to do a play about the West of Ireland; a big play that would be in the voice of young people.

“I wanted to do something on the fate of West of Ireland towns,” expands Maria, who is originally from Boyle in Co Roscommon.

“We are all living in Galway, Cork and Dublin, but we will lose a lot if we lose those towns,” she adds, referring to people in their 30s and 20s, the most recent generations to have moved away from rural Ireland.

Maria, “a child of the 1980s”, set up Fregoli in 2007 after studying psychology at NUIG followed by an MA in drama at UCD.

The cast of The Pleasure Ground – Kate Murray, Peter Shine, Eilish McCarthy and Jarlath Tivnan – are “children of the 1990s”.

There were huge changes between those decades, she adds. Mobile phones became ubiquitous in the late 1990s, as did money. It seemed like the 1990s’ generation had it all. But while while Maria and her peers from the 1980s found employment when they left college, the economy had collapsed 10 years on, leaving the children of the 1990s with no work.

The Pleasure Ground explores the dilemmas of that generation, via four friends who have gone their separate ways, but come home for a local funeral.

They meet up at their teenage haunt, the town park and playground, known as the Pleasure Ground. The town is dying, the Pleasure Ground’s glory has faded, and life isn’t matching up to expectations.

The four spend an evening together when buried secrets become unearthed, past grievances boil over, and old scores are settled.

“These characters are 24 and have a lot to learn,” observes Maria. The Pleasure Ground was staged at Nuns Island Arts Centre as a ‘work in progress’ during May’s Galway Theatre Festival when it showed great promise.

The cast performed the first act in a couple of different ways, after which Maria and the actors discussed its development with the audience. The first act was, and remains in the traditional Fregoli style, she says now. That means various character changes as people play out their memories, dancing and singing, not in real time.

The second act, which wasn’t performed then, is largely dialogue-based and is in real time, a departure for Fregoli.

“It’s more measured but it’s where the big revelations take place, when all you’ve learned in the first act comes to a head,” says Maria.

The drama has been largely scripted by Jarlath Tivnan, with input from fellow cast members and Maria. Jarlath is Maria’s younger cousin and also grew up in Boyle. Like her, he moved to Galway where he works as an actor with companies such as Decaden.

For more of Judy Murphy’s interview with Fregoli see this week’s Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

Anne’s Roses of Hope for Médecins Sans Frontières

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Kinvara artist Anne Korff has launched an initiative to support the work of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

It’s a new book, Roses of Hope – Meditations, which contains a selection of six reproductions of her artwork, 25×25 cm in size, ring-bound and with a hanging attachment, ready to display on a wall.

Roses of Hope – Meditations was created as a series of paintings during the pandemic in 2020-21. Throughout this period of solitude and isolation, Anne wanted to share her artwork as a way of providing support, inspiration and nourishment for the soul. Each painting is a meditation using energy, colour and shape to bring hope and solace.

According to the Irish Times’ art critic Aidan Dunne, ‘Anne Korff’s paintings vividly reflect her experience of the refugee crisis . . . in a space of what feels like infinite loss, flickers of hope appear’.

Anne, who studied Fine Art in Berlin moved to Ireland in 1977. A decade later, inspired by her passion for history and archaeology she set up her own publishing company, Tír Eolas. Her publications include beautifully illustrated guides and maps of the Burren, south Galway, Lough Corrib, The Shannon Valley, as well as The Book of the Burren.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Film Fleadh’s invitation to pitch a script

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Submissions are now open for the annual Film Fleadh Script Pitching Competition, which will be held next month as part of the online festival.

The competition focuses on the crucial role of good writing in the audio-visual sector and has provided many writers with an opportunity to get Entrants should submit a 500-word written pitch (from beginning to end with no cliff-hangers!) and applications are welcome from writers of any skill level. Any genre of feature drama, documentary or animation will be considered.  Finalists will be chosen to pitch their idea live online as an ‘Elevator Pitch’ of 90 seconds to a virtual panel of industry judges and an audience. The winner will be announced at the Fleadh’s online awards ceremony and will receive a prize of €3,000.

In addition to the money and the opportunity to pitch to industry professionals, there are other benefits to taking part. These includes opening the door to producers; writers having their project optioned by producers; being invited on mentorships to hone their craft; bolstering their confidence and giving them their first opportunity to win over an audience. For the winner, the money can allow them the time to develop and expand their pitch into a full film script.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Innovation and tradition at heart of Brú Theatre’s new programme

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Martha and Ronald Sayers and Melissa Gillespie, right, during rehearsals for ‘Ar Ais Aris’ overlooking Galway Bay off Grattan Road. The immersive virtual reality experience takes place from June 11-20 in Gaeltacht communities along the Atlantic coast. PHOTO JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Brú Theatre Company has become an integral part of Galway’s arts scene since it was founded three years ago by Artistic Director James Riordan and Producer Jill Murray. Focusing on new writing, mask theatre, live music and dance, this innovative, talented company has won over audiences and critics alike.

Brú has now launched its programme for the remainder of 2021 with a mix of work that includes virtual reality performances, two stage shows and a physical theatre school.

“From drag to keening, it’s going to be great,” according to James Riordan who is ready for the next challenge.

“The support we have got from audiences and organisations alike in the past year has spurred us forwards, and I can’t wait to share all the shows, songs and stories we’ve been cooking up over the last year.”

From the beginning, Brú has produced bilingual work across a range of genres and that’s the case with Ar Ais Arís, an Irish language, immersive Virtual Reality experience which is touring Gaeltacht areas from Donegal to Cork from this Friday, June 11 until Sunday, June 20.

The show will site audiences by the sea before transporting them to Connemara’s mountain tops and far-away piers as it explores emigration, displacement and the poetic body, all via virtual performances. Inspired by Irish language writers including Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Pádraic Ó Conaire and Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Ar Ais Arís was originally commissioned by NUI Galway and Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture. It’s being presented as part of Brightening Air/Coiscéim Coiligh, a countrywide series of arts events supported by the Arts Council. Tickets are available from www.brutheatre.com

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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