Date Published: 04-Oct-2012
Róisín Stack’s life is full of drama – of the theatrical kind that is, as practically her whole family is involved one way of the other and she currently works as the Director of the Galway Theatre Festival.
But as much as she loves theatre and curating the festival, which celebrates five years this week, she exclusively reveals here that it will be her last year with the festival.
“I think a changing of the guard is healthy in any organisation. You need fresh blood, renewed enthusiasm and different ideas. There is no shortage of young, intelligent, passionate, capable people in Galway who could put their stamp on this Festival,” she says modestly.
It will be difficult to get anyone younger, fresher or more enthusiastic than Róisín as she exudes enough enthusiasm to drive not only one but a number of festivals!
But after working at the festival, which finishes this year’s run on Sunday night, for four years (and having performed in the first ever one), Róisín feels it is time to tap into her own creative side.
“The festival involves the best part of a year’s work, which at the moment doesn’t give me any time to do anything else and if I don’t leave now. . . well, I just know it’s time to leave,” she says. And then she adds that she is so immersed in the festival that she might have some pangs this time next year!
Róisín has packed in quite a bit into her 31 years including stints in Australia, San Francisco, France and London!
She has a Masters in drama and theatre from NUIG but even if she didn’t, she would still have ended up in a career in theatre as she knew from an early age this is what she wanted to do.
She initially thought she would be an actress, so joined the Galway Youth Theatre company as soon as she could but the more she studied it academically and experienced on-the-job training, she realised that she actually preferred working behind the scene.
So far she has performed, written, directed, produced andprogrammed events and festivals giving her an insight into the wide spectrum of what is involved in theatre.
During our interview on Tuesday, she was able to report two sell-out shows for the festival’s opening night on Monday and healthy ticket sales for that night.
“It’s easier to sell tickets to the theatre during the week and harder to fill seats at the weekend because there is so much on but I would highly recommend Death of a Tradesman, an extended version of a show I saw in Cork and which is very honest and clever.
“I would also recommend Lady Crew’s Sweet Pang is Innocent which involves pole dancing, a live DJ and is more of a performance than a show. This is very different. Then there’s Before Vanishing, a short Beckett play which features the locally based popular actress Tara Breathnach in the cast.”
After years of building up the festival, it was less stressful this year to organise it because they had the choice of six venues, including An Taibhdhearc, which has just re-opened after being closed because of a fire nearly five years ago; a refurbished Town Hall Studio; and Druid theatre space his year. They also have the Town Hall Theatre and Nun’s Island, which is like a second home to Róisín since her GYT days.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
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.