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Connacht Tribune

Relishing the challenge of ‘timeless’ Richard III

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Siobhán Cullen, who plays Lady Anne and one of the Princes in the Tower with Aaron Monaghan who takes on the lead role in Richard III. PHOTO: BOYD CHALLENGER.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Actress Siobhán Cullen gave a superb performance in Mark O’Rowe’s play, Crestfall, when she appeared in Druid’s production of the searing three-hander during the 2017 Arts Festival.  That was the Dubliner’s first outing with Druid – and now she’s back, but in a very different production, DruidShakespeare’s Richard III.

Siobhán describes Crestfall as “a very intimate and claustrophobic play”, while “with Richard III, everything is blown open”.

Shakespeare’s classic is a dramatic account of the villainous, deformed Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and his short reign as King of England following his devious, murderous plan to take over the throne.

It’s Druid’s latest exploration of Shakespeare following the company’s much-praised 2015 DruidShakespeare, which consisted of Richard II, Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2) and Henry V, as adapted by Mark O’Rowe. That was an exciting re-interpretation of Shakespeare’s historic dramas and one that offered an Irish context.

Siobhán saw the production in Kilkenny, where it was performed in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle. It was helpful in giving her a sense of the atmosphere and style that Druid had adopted when approaching Shakespeare, she says.

“And also, the narrative,” she adds. It’s always helpful to know about the characters and the history.”

Richard III is set in the late 15th century, at the end of England’s Wars of the Roses. But having immersed herself in the text, Siobhán feels its themes are timeless and universal.

“It’s a play that has everything . . .all the drama, people dying like flies and murder. And it has parallels to stuff that’s going on at the moment.”

In the play, Siobhán takes on the role of Lady Anne, who is seduced by the devious Richard and ends up marrying him, despite knowing that he has been involved in the murder of her late husband, Prince Edward of Lancaster. She also plays Prince Edward – one of the two princes in the Tower. These were Richard’s nephews, allegedly killed at his instigation.

For Richard III, as with the 2015 DruidShakespeare, all the cast play multiple characters, moving on and off stage constantly. And it’s some cast, with Aaron Monaghan in the title role being joined by fellow Druid Ensemble members Garett Lombard, Marie Mullen, Marty Rea and Rory Nolan, alongside Seán McGinley, Jane Brennan, Ingrid Craigie, Peter Daly, Zara Devlin and Frank Blake. And, of course, Siobhán, an honours graduate in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College, and a rising figure in Irish theatre.

She has worked with companies including the Abbey, the Gate, Rough Magic and London’s National Theatre while, TV-wise, her work includes the BBC drama series Paula as well as RTÉ’s The Clinic and Fair City.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Connacht Tribune

Siblings find each other – and their Connemara roots – after 80 years

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Reunited...Pat and Miceál McKeown outside their mother Síle’s birthplace in Carna.

By Erin Gibbons

A family separated for over 80 years was reunited at the end of an emotional journey in Connemara last weekend – thanks to DNA testing and the expert help of heritage researchers.

Pat McKeown, who lives in Staffordshire in the UK, is the daughter of Síle Gorham from Roisín Na Mainiach, Carna – but she was given up for adoption and reared for a time in a Belfast Mother and Baby Home.

Now, at the age of 81, she found her roots – returning to her mother’s native place for the first time last weekend, in the company of her long-lost brother Micheál.

It was an emotional end to a lifelong search for her roots that even led her to hire a private detective to try and locate her family and to discover her name.

All of this proved unsuccessful – and she had effectively given up her search when she was contacted unexpectedly by a man called Miceál McKeown, who turned out to be her brother.

Micheál – an artist and sculptor – and his daughter Orla had made the connection through DNA testing, after Miceál too had set out to discover more about his own roots.

That revealed that Síle Gorham had married Michael McKeown in 1939, and Síle went on to have three more children named Áine, Séan and Miceál.

Pat visited Connemara last weekend for the first time to learn about her mother Síle and the Connemara ancestry which she feels was robbed from her for her entire 81 years.

She was accompanied by Miceál, his wife Rosemary, daughter Orla and son-in-law Rueben Keogh.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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