The northside housing estate of Moyross will be the talk of the town this coming week with a play about its history, its people and everyday life there making its big stage debut.
Simply named MOYROSS, the piece will be performed totally by a cast of people from Moyross, who have played a central role in devising a new, original piece of theatre in conjunction with THEATREclub and the Lime Tree Theatre.
The preview show is this Wednesday (April 30) and the show will run from Thursday May 1 to Saturday May 3. Tickets are €12/15 and available from 061-774774 or www.limetreetheatre.ie.
If you’ve never been to Moyross, but only read about it in the papers, you would have a very different idea of what kind of place it is. We want to bring you there, to the real Moyross.
“This production will focus on the history of the Moyross estate, the stories and experiences from people who live there and memories from its older generations. It will illustrate the differences between people’s lives and the headlines. For the first time MOYROSS will give a voice to this rich, funny and vibrant community.”
The proposition is: “Is there as much talent in Moyross as there is under the Hollywood sign? Moyross is famous. Moyross is a brand. Who made it that way? If you’ve never been to Moyross, but only read about it in the papers, you would have a very different idea of what kind of place it is. We want to bring you there, to the real Moyross.”
Before I go into more detail about the origins and the launch etc below, I would seriously encourage people to go along and support the show. No doubt it will be entertaining and informative. But it’s also a unique and worthwhile project, which is intended to develop creative skills in the hope that more work will be created and performed within and by the community too. It is part of the Made in Limerick funding strand of Limerick City of Culture and these legacy projects are a vital part of the year.
A sign reminiscent of the Hollywood sign was erected on the green in Dalgaish Park for the launch—designed and made by local organisation, PALLS (Probation and Linkage in Limerick Scheme).
THEATREclub are a young Dublin based theatre collective founded in 2008, who “make shows about us and the people and things around us”. Founding member, Grace Dyas, explained how MOYROSS came about.
“We were here in September with our play, Heroin in the Lime Tree Theatre, and as part of that we always have two local, young performers to open the show. So we got in touch with the Garda Intervention Project and Karen there put us in touch with these two brilliant lads, Luke and Niall, who were guest stars in the play when it was on. Through spending time here [Moyross] I got really interested in the place and the difference between what my perception was at the time, my experience here and what’s in the media,” she said.
“Then I started thinking; the work we do is all about social engagement and social justice. I started thinking about the media’s role in so-called ‘areas of disadvantage’ and wouldn’t it be cool to do a piece, with people in the community, and let them tell their side of the story. We want to give people a voice to tell how they’ve experienced growing up here and living here to give a different public perception of what Moyross is all about.”
We want to give people a voice to tell how they’ve experienced growing up here and living here to give a different public perception of what Moyross is all about.”
There is a completely local cast and Grace added that there was “really good community involvement in the project so far”.
“Usually we would perform the work ourselves but none of us are performing it, we’re all just facilitating the people here to perform it. We have about 20 different groups involved with at least 4-5 in each so there are about 100 people signed up. They’ll all be on stage; the idea is to have different sections. We want to tell the history of the area as well because we have older residents involved right down to young kids.”
Shane Byrne, a fellow founding member of THEATREclub, said the experience of working in Moyross was “brilliant” and the process was primarily “to shape, not write” the piece.
“It’s a lovely community to come into as total outsiders to want to do something like this and make a show about this area. It’s very welcoming and easy to do it. It’s amazing how connected we are all of a sudden. It’s very warm and inviting, interesting and vibrant.””
We have a policy of blind faith on this project. It seems like when we want things to happen, they just happen. We’re relying on that and trusting it. We’re very confident about it. People keep thinking ‘it’s a very short amount of time’ but the amount that people are willing to give and participate is great. The uptake has been quite high. If you have all people who are willing and interested, that’s half your work done.”
The play is not a typical amateur production to be staged solely in the community itself—a notion not lost on Grace and Shane.
“It’s important to stage it somewhere that’s not just the school in Moyross or something. The fact that we’re putting it on a big stage in the Lime Tree is a big asset for Limerick and City of Culture,” Shane pointed out.
Grace said that staging it in the Lime Tree is “so that people from outside can have a different perspective of Moyross”.
This week, Moyross will be in the spotlight for all the right reasons.
At the launch, director of Limerick City of Culture, Mike Fitzpatrick spoke as did Louise Donlon of the Lime Tree Theatre but what stuck with me were the words of Mary Tobin, who spoke on behalf of Moyross.
Referring to the sign, she said Hollywood stars are one thing but “the real stars” are the people of Moyross. To briefly showcase some of the talented people here, 18 year old, Nathan Keane, topped proceedings off with a rap. This week, Moyross will be in the spotlight for all the right reasons.