Free talk on seminal theatrical visit


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Free talk on seminal theatrical visit Free talk on seminal theatrical visit

A free, public talk on The 7:84 Theatre Company’s Irish Tour of 1974 will take place on this Friday, March 22, in Galway City at 8pm.

The visit by the Scottish theatre company 50 years ago had a major impact on a generation of Irish actors, directors and writers.

Taking their name from a contemporary statistic (about how 7% of the people owned 84% of the wealth), the 7:84 Theatre Company had two successful tours of Scotland in 1973 before taking Ireland by storm in 1974, with their radical ceilidh-play, prompted by the discovery of the North Sea oilfield, ‘The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil’.

Their initial aim in Scotland was to engage with local communities about how surrendering this new-found wealth to private interests would prove to be the latest oppressive action in a long history of oppression against Scotland’s Gaeltacht regions.

In 1974, they performed for five nights in the Abbey and then travelled to locations nationwide, including Galway.

Ollie Jennings, who later went on to co-found and run the Galway Arts Festival, promoted their local performances.

He recalls their “energy, swagger and a political message”, saying that “their singing made their shows accessible, and their mix of socialism and entertainment was infectious”.

The company’s co-founder, Elizabeth MacLennan, recalled that when the group came to Galway, audiences in Leisureland responded by saying “that’s our story”.

The free, illustrated talk in the Mick Lally theatre, Druid Lane, this Friday night at 8pm is to mark the tour’s 50th anniversary.  It will be given by Dr Andrew Newby, a specialist in Scottish-Irish comparative history and a senior lecture at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

This event is organised by the Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour and Class, University of Galway. All are welcome and no booking is required.

Pictured: The 7:84 Theatre Company from Scotland. Its performances in Ireland had a lasting impact.



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