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Brave, raw theatre and ‘creative quickies’ at Town Hall for May



Date Published: {J}

A month of “brave, raw theatre” is promised at the city’s Town Hall Theatre’s Studio space in May as part of a new initiative called JOLT. Throughout the month, there will be plays from three emerging companies in Galway, as well as two nights of ten-minute drama from local groups.

In addition, JOLT will provide theatre workshops as well as evaluations and discussions after each of the three production runs. All these events are designed to further the development of theatre practitioners in Galway.

JOLT is the brainchild of local arts workers Róisín Stack and Craig Flaherty and the initiative emerged from an Open Space Day organised in Galway last November by Theatre Forum, the national organisation representing workers in the business.

JOLT is designed to encourage a more experimental approach to theatre and provide a long-term framework for companies working locally, according to Craig and Róisín, who feel there is a need to focus on using a studio space and provide better support for young theatre companies in Galway.

“There are so many great companies working but

there is very little ongoing support,” says Róisín. “Everything is project-to-project. We hope that JOLT will provide a greater sense of community and lots of opportunity for theatre makers to expand and develop their skills and ideas.”

Patrick Lonergan of the NUIG English department and Marianne Ní Chinnéide of the university’s Acadamh’s, along with Druid Theatre’s Literary Manager, Thomas Conway are helping to develop JOLT and they bring a wealth of knowledge and support to the project.

‘It’s fantastic to have such a great team and everyone who is involved is very positive and excited about what this could mean for the theatre community’ says Craig Flaherty.

JOLT launches on Tuesday next, May 3 in the Town Hall bar at 6pm and the opening production, Sleep Skips My Heart begins the following night, Wednesday, running until Saturday, May 7. Since its successful run at the NUIG One Act Play Series in February, Sleep Skips My Heart has been expanded into a full production. It tells the wonderfully weird tale of Elliot Sweetman, a young boy born into the 1990s with a disorder that pushes him into sleep whenever he feels sad or happy, and Lily Mahony, the only child who was brave enough to pick him up and try and keep him awake.

From Wednesday, May 11 to Saturday, May 14, Waterdonkey brings The Very Best of John Lennon to the Studio space. The group has developed the production since its debut at Dublin’s Project Arts Centre in February. This piece looks at the significance of John Lennon as a cultural icon and examines aspects of his life in a non-narrative form. Waterdonkey never fails to push the boundaries and this production should be no different.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.


Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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