Date Published: 24-Mar-2011
MacKenzieRo, the Irish Repertory Theatre Company of Canada, will make their Irish debut next week at Druid Lane Theatre with four performances of their acclaimed production of bedbound by Enda Walsh. The play will run from Wednesday next, March 30 to Saturday, April 2.
It’s a fitting visit, given that Druid Theatre has such a strong connection with Enda Walsh. In fact the relationship between the Galway and Toronto theatre companies developed because of their shared passion for his plays.
Druid visited Canada in 2009 to perform The Walworth Farce. There they met Cathy Murphy and Autumn Smith, the founders and artistic directors of MacKenzieRo, who had presented Walsh’s Disco Pigs in 2007 before doing bedbound.
“Then we went to New York to see Druid perform New Electric Ballroom,” explains Cathy. There, she and Autumn got chatting to Druid’s General Manager Tim Smith and to Enda Walsh
“We all agreed we should come over to Ireland and do something,” says Cathy. “It might seem strange for a Canadian company to do an Enda Walsh play in Ireland, but we want to show how Enda’s plays related to Canadians and not just to the Irish diaspora. It cuts across geography.”
In bedbound a father and a daughter share a small bed. He talks frantically about his extraordinary past in furniture sales; she talks no less compulsively about anything at all, to fill the terrifying silence in her head. This feverish and blackly comic play offers a beautifully judged glimpse of redemption.
The Toronto press raved about MacKenzieRo’s 2009 Canadian premiere of bedbound, which is directed by Autumn and features Cathy as the polio stricken Daughter, with Canadian theatre legend Richard Greenblatt in the role of Father.
Sensibly the pair decided that MacKenzieRo’s actors would perform bedbound using their own accents rather than trying to imitate Irish accents because “we couldn’t do it”, says Cathy.
This production offers Galway audiences a rare chance to see Walsh’s much lauded play, which received its world premiere at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2000, when it was directed by the playwright, before going on to win an Edinburgh Fringe First Award in 2001. It’s also a chance to see MacKenzieRo – which CBC News in Canada described as "Walsh’s biggest champion in Canada" – perform internationally for the first time.
MacKenzieRo came into being because Autumn and Cathy, both of whom are second generation Irish, wanted to bring contemporary Irish theatre, which wouldn’t normally be seen in Canada, to audiences in that country. It’s named after Autumn’s ancestors, who came from Fermanagh.
The pair also want to produce new Canadian work with a nod to the Irish-Canadian connection.
As part of that, they are bringing their own play Teacht i dTír – written in Irish and English – to Galway for a performance at the city’s Scoil Iognáid.
That play, about the 38,000 famine refugees who came to Toronto in 1847, is based on the Toronto and Ontario records of the time and shows how the Irish refugees more than doubled Toronto’s population in a few months.
Cathy and Autumn – both of whom speak basic Irish – are looking forward to seeing the students perform the work bilingually.
And a developing work from MacKenzieRo, The Rake’s Progress: Do You Know Where Tom Rakewell Is?, will also be read at Druid Lane Theatre on April 2 with a cast of Irish and Canadian actors.
Meanwhile, bedbound will be performed in Druid Theatre from Wednesday, March 30 to Saturday, April 2 at 8pm nightly. Booking at
The Town Hall Theatre: www.tht.ie or Telephone
Galway County VEC Chief takes High Court case
Date Published: 07-May-2013
The High Court is hearing arguments from the state in an action brought by two VEC bosses who are challenging the loss of an annual allowance worth 12 and a half thousand euro.
Former president of the GAA Joe McDonagh who’s the CEO of County Galway VEC and Dr Katie Sweeney, CEO of Mayo VEC, say a special Transport Liaison Officers Allowance should not have been cut, even though that part of their role no longer operates.
Lawyers for the Department of Education deny the allowance is part of their pay.
The case is in the context of planned changes within the VEC system under the Croke Park agreement.
Planning go ahead for community facility in Doughiska
Date Published: 09-May-2013
A hotel in the city is to be changed into a community facility.
Planning permission has been granted to DRA Community Development Company Limited to redevelop the ‘Racing Lodge Hotel’ in Doughiska.
It’s planned to use the building for community, educational and pastoral use.
Planners have attached 4 conditions to the development, including the stipulation that all uses at the building be on a not-for-profit basis.
Galway call for Transport Minister to intervene in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
City Councillor Michael Crowe is calling on the Transport Minister Leo Vradkar to urgently intervene to end strike action by Bus Eireann in Galway.
Major travel disruption is expected in Galway and nationwide as the national strike enters its second day.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing their picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city.
It’s understood up to 80 Galway workers took part in the picket on rotational rosters yesterday.
Speaking on Galway Talks, City Cllr Michael Crowe said Minister Vradkar needs to take urgent action to intervene so that transport services can be restored.