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Taboo topic is focus of pioneering Galway film

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Charlene Kelly (Sophie) and Kieran Coppinger (Larry), the two central characters in 'Sanctuary'.

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy meets some of the cast and crew of Sanctuary which looks at disabled people’s sexuality

I have Down Syndrome and I can be a bit slow at times,” says Kieran Coppinger over lunch in the city’s Nox Hotel during a break from working on a new film, Sanctuary, which is currently being shot in the city. But lest anybody is under any illusion that he is unhappy with his life, he adds “I’m proud to have a disability and to be able to do the things I do”.

Kieran, a man of many talents, is currently playing Larry in Sanctuary, acting opposite Charlene Kelly who plays Sophie.

Larry and Sophie embark on a romantic liaison in a hotel bedroom, having persuaded their care-worker Tom (played by Robert Doherty), to allow them time alone instead of taking part in a group trip to the cinema. The three head up a cast of nine core actors, while there are also smaller roles and many extras in the film which is being shot on location around Galway for the past couple of weeks.

Sanctuary is a ground-breaking film, because all but one of the main roles are played by actors with an intellectual disability – the first time ever this has happened.

Sanctuary was previously staged as a play by local Company, Blue Teapot in 2012, receiving rave reviews and several revivals. Directed by Blue Teapot’s artistic director, Petal Pilley, it was revived for both the Galway International Arts Festival and Dublin Theatre Festival, winning awards along the way for the company which caters for people with intellectual disabilities

The film version of Sanctuary is being directed by Len Collin of Zanzibar Films, a softly spoken man who currently divides his time between Westport and Northumbria in England where he works as a lecturer at Northumbria University while also studying for a PhD.

Here in Galway, he’s standing beside the monitor in a bedroom of the Nox Hotel, supervising a scene before cast and crew break for lunch.  The scene features Larry (Kieran) as he waits for Sophie (Charlene) to emerge from the bathroom where she is having a long soak.

Larry is nervous about what’s going to happen next during their afternoon together – he has sex on his mind, but isn’t sure how Sophie will react.

The bedroom is packed with crew and so hot it’s like a sauna, but the actor retains his focus throughout to convey the sense of a nervous suitor, someone who is unsure where this romantic journey is going to lead. It takes just two takes for him to deliver the goods perfectly.

Little wonder that Len feels Kieran is a star in the making, something he explains once the camera finishes rolling.

English-born Len, who has a Master’s in Directing from the Huston Film Centre at NUIG, and who also has a fine CV as a TV writer, first became involved with Blue Teapot about five years ago when the theatre company commissioned him to write a short film

He did, and it received a staged reading, but the film was never made.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Chef hopes to become first person of colour elected to City Hall

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Asraf Chowdhury was elected secretary of Fine Gael branch in Knocknacarra. PHOTO: JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY

A city chef hopes to become the first Muslim and first person of colour to be elected to City Hall.

Asraf Chowdhury, an Irish citizen originally from Bangladesh, was voted in as secretary at the AGM of the Knocknacarra branch of Fine Gael – and has set his sights on becoming a Galway City councillor.

Mr Chowdhury lives in Knocknacarra with his wife, who works in Citizen Information in Galway, and two Irish-born children, a daughter (11) and son (6).

He moved to Ireland almost 20 years ago and studied hospitality at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology.

A sous chef for the past three years at McHugh’s on Tuam Road, he has worked in various city hotels including Jury’s Inn, the g Hotel, Connacht Hotel and Harbour Hotel.

The 45-years-old studied politics back home in Chiddagong, Bangladesh. He told the Galway City Tribune that he wanted to get involved in local politics for the benefit of his children, who were born here; for the Knocknacarra community; and for the estimated 600-800 members of the Bangladeshi community living in the city.

Fine Gael councillor Clodagh Higgins canvassed Mr Chowdhury during her first foray into electoral politics in the 2019 Local Elections.

After a lengthy discussion on his doorstep, Cllr Higgins “encouraged me to get involved in local politics”, he said.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Tenants hit with €2,200 hike in rents over past year

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Tenants in private rented accommodation forked out an average of €2,200 extra in rent over the past year, leading to warnings from a housing charity.

Tenants are paying on average €2,200 more per annum to rent a home in Galway City over the past year – prompting one housing charity to warn this week that the housing shortage was at ‘crisis point’ and warn that these record rent rises were ‘unsustainable’.

The latest Daft.ie quarterly report for the first three months of 2022 highlighted how average annual rents in Galway City increased by 13.8% and average rents rose by 18.1% in County Galway compared with the same period last year.

The average rent in the city was now €1,585 per month, which is up by €185 per month – or €2,220 extra per year.

And the average rent in the county was now €1,176 per month, which is an extra €181 monthly or €2,172 annually.

Threshold Western Region Services Manager Karina Timothy said the rental market was at crisis point in the West and it was unsustainable.

“It’s a very, very stark situation. It’s getting more critical. This can’t continue, there is only so much money in people’s pocket,” she said.

Galway City and electoral areas of Athenry/Oranmore and Gort/Kinvara are in Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) where rents are protected by legislation and technically cannot increase by more than 2% annually.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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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CITY TRIBUNE

Arts Festival makes quick recovery from Covid

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Bookings are up for this year’s Arts Festival as audiences welcome the year’s flagship event back to its July slot after a two-year absence due to Covid lockdowns.

According to the Festival’s Artistic Director Paul Fahy “tickets are moving across the board” since the Box Office opened on Friday.

“There is a great hunger and people and have been telling us they have a craving to get back in July,” he said.

“Among the big selling stage shows are Steppenwolf’s True West, Geoff Sobelle’s HOME, Landmark and INO’s The First Child and Druid’s The Last Return.”

The Stunning, Jon Hopkins and the Kaiser Chiefs are among the Big Top events that are moving well – the Pixies are already sold out.

First Thought Talks that are proving popular include one with US journalist Maureen Dowd and one from the Gate Theatre/and Theatre Lovett on their production of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Tin Drum, which is being presented at the Festival.

“Normally, people book tickets to two or three theatre shows and for a couple of gigs, but this year, people are buying more than usual,” Mr Fahy said of audience trends.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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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