I want to flag two very unique theatre performances running locally over the next few weeks. Both have a strong vein of fact and truth threading through them to create engaging stories.
The Colleen Bawn Trials, is starting this Thursday (August 14) and running every night (except August 17) at 8.30pm until August 23.
Billed as “an immersive theatrical experience”, the piece has been created in collaboration with sonic artist, John Greenwood; visual artist, Anne-Marie Morrin with lighting and videography by Art O’Laoire.
Directed by Joan Sheehy, it is a re-telling of a famous local story which has inspired many different texts—the play The Colleen Bawn by Dion Boucicault; a 1911 film of the same name; the opera, Lily of Killarney, and the novels, Death Sails the Shannon and The Collegians by Limerick author, Gerald Griffin. Griffin covered the trial upon which all of the texts is based. It revolves around the story of 15 year old Ellen Hanley whose body was washed ashore in the Shannon Estuary in 1820. Her murderers, her husband and his servant, were hanged. The barrister and politician (‘The Liberator’) Daniel O’Connell, defended her husband, John Scanlan, in court but to no avail.
The iconic Shannon Rowing Club is the setting for the weaving together of fact and fiction. Audiences will move through the historic building on Sarsfield’s Bridge, experiencing the true story of the Colleen Bawn through dramatic scenes, stunning visuals and a haunting soundscape. Joan Sheehy produced and directed another promenade production, Buck Jones and the Body Snatchers, a few years back in the Georgian House in Pery Square. That was a comedy but made fantastic use of the space so I’m really looking forward to seeing this very different play.
This production stars Malcolm Adams, Gene Rooney, Patrick Ryan, Shane Whisker and four members of Limerick Youth Theatre, Laura Carey, Aiden Kelly, James Lillis and Courtney McKeon.
Tickets are €15 (€12 conc.). Suitable for audiences of 12 years and over. For booking and information, call 061-525031 or email email@example.com.
The River is starting tomorrow (Wednesday August 13) and will do two performances per day (1pm and 7.30pm) every day except on Tuesdays until September 1.
This new play—written and performed by Limerick playwright, Helena Enright and directed by local theatre director Ciarda Tobin—is making its world debut on the river Shannon because the performances will be staged on board a 90ft Dutch Barge in Custom House Quay located at the back of The Hunt Museum. Show on a boat!
The piece evolved out of the River Shannon Project which has run for the last 18 months. The play itself is a multi-sensory theatrical experience about The River Shannon based on real stories. The playwright interviewed people from all walks of life and the play itself is a testament to their generosity of spirit. One of the noted contributors includes Sir Terry Wogan.
Written and performed by Limerick playwright Helena Enright and directed by local theatre director Ciarda Tobin—a combination to be reckoned with as demonstrated by productions such as Walking Away with their former theatre company, Amalgamotion. Helena’s work in theatre of testimony or documentary theatre has been critically acclaimed.
The City of Culture ‘Made in Limerick’ event was made in collaboration with Viva Voce theatre company. Running time is approximately one hour and appropriate and sturdy footwear must be worn. No high heels/stilettos. Admission will be refused if appropriate footwear is not worn
Tickets are €15 (€13 conc.). Tickets are limited to 20 per performance. For booking and information, call 087-3975526 or log onto www.vivavocetheatre.co.uk.
It’s great to see two productions with lots of talented local people involved and the lengthy runs will hopefully give audiences plenty of time to come along.