Friday, 1 October 2021

Nochtaithe (Unveiled) is an artistic response to the survivor testimonies gathered and archived as part of the Tuam Oral History Project, but is not a documentary or re-enactment of those testimonies. Instead, staff and students drew from the survivor testimonies as core material to devise a selection of scenes, further contextualised by the various institutional histories in Ireland. These scenes formed a type of hybrid performance that became filmed rather playing to a live audience due to COVID-19. Nochtaithe features performance, dance and movement, poetry, performance art, installation, music, digital media, audio extracts from survivors of the Tuam institution, interviews with TOHP PI-s Dr Sarah Anne Buckley and Dr John Cunningham, and archivist Dr Barry Houlihan. The sound design also includes a guest performance by acclaimed poet and novelist Elaine Feeney.   Nochtaithe was devised, performance and produced by Drama and Theatre Studies, led by Dr Miriam Haughton who collaborated with Dr El Putnam (Digital Media) as well as participating in workshops led by ANU Productions to develop skills for working with testimonies and archives in performance. A live performance of ‘Emer’s Dream’ by celebrated Irish musician Colm Mac Con Iomaire became a key feature of the performance, providing a visceral soundscape that captures the tragedy of the history, but also acknowledges the courage of survivors for sharing their most intimate and difficult memories. Nochtaithe hopes to achieve something similar; facilitating a site of intergenerational dialogue which acknowledges the harrowing experiences of survivors and their families, while also suggesting there is potential for social and cultural transformation through listening to others, through education and by carefully confronting a shared past fractured by trauma. Nochtaithe was made with the support of the Tuam Home Alliance, and we would like to acknowledge their generosity and courage in sharing their life stories with us.   Nochtaithe premiered in the Bealtaine Festival (May 2021) and Liverpool Irish Festival (October 2021). To view the performance, click:  

Friday, 6 March 2020

Third Year Drama and Theatre Studies students created a new devised adaptation of Frank Wedekind's classic groundbreaking 19th century coming-of-age play Spring Awakening which was performed 21-24 March 2019  at NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance.  Initially banned from the stage and censored throughout the 20th century in Europe and North America, Spring Awakening’s frank and haunting treatment of adolescent sexuality, depression, suicide and academic pressure has been an artistic and social lightning rod since its early 20th century German premiere.   Transitions: A Spring Awakening Play transposed the action of the play to a contemporary Irish context and follows three young people, Dougie, Alex and Clara, and their immediate circle of friends and family during an eventful spring. The pressures of academic study and sexual discovery overwhelm these three friends’ ability to navigate the challenging circumstances that they each find themselves in leading to individual and collective tragedy.  Has Ireland come as far as we think we have? How should we understand the ongoing mental health crisis among young people? And if someone commits an unforgivable act, how should their story end? Devised by the Ensemble | Directed by Charlotte McIvor | Movement Direction by Jérèmie Cyr-Cooke Running: 21-24 March 2019  

Thursday, 28 February 2019

NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance will stage Nobel Prize winning Italian playwright Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of the Anarchist in a translation by Simon Nye. The show runs from 7-9 March at 8pm with a special Sunday matinee on 10 March at 2pm. Considered a classic of twentieth century theatre that is both provocative and humourous, Fo’s political farce is made immediately relevant in this new production that updates the action and changes the setting to Ireland. Under the direction of a mysterious maniac the play sees a group of madcap policemen hilariously stage and restage a cover-up of the scandalous death of an anarchist during their police interrogation into the bombing of a bank. Produced and performed by second year undergraduates of the BA Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, this production is an energetic clownish phsyical theatre piece that showcases the talents of a new emerging generation of exciting theatre-makers. The play is directed by Dr Ian R. Walsh, a Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. His books include Experimental Irish Theatre and The Theatre of Enda Walsh. His professional directing credits include Purple Path to the Poppy Field, The Magic Flute, Orfeo ed Eurydice, The Wandering Scholar and Riders to the Sea. In 2016 Walsh directed the first full production at the O’Donoghue Centre when he staged Sophie Treadwell’s expressionistic Machinal to much acclaim. Speaking ahead of the production, Dr Walsh said: “Although the play was inspired by police corruption in Italy in the 1970s it speaks directly to the recently exposed corruption scandals of An Garda Síochana brought to light by the Charleton Tribunal. Thus we thought to transpose the piece to a cartoon verison of Ireland with the style of the production being one that sees the zany commedia dell’arte of Italy meet the absurdity of Father Ted. What is fabulous about Fo’s piece is how it manages to be challenging politically whilst still being very entertaining. The script also pushes the students in terms of physical characterisation, precision of movement and the creation of a presentational form of expression that runs counter to the dominant realist modes of acting with which they are familiar.”

Thursday, 22 February 2018

The O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance – Galway’s newest performing arts venue – will stage its first ever play this month when the classic American drama Machinal appears. Sophie Treadwell’s 1928 play was inspired by true events, and follows a young woman suffocated by a restrictive, unfeeling machine-like society. Haunting and provocative, Treadwell’s expressionistic playis made immediately relevant in this new production that updates the piece to reflect our contemporary technology-saturated age. Produced and performed by undergraduates of Drama and Theate Studies at NUI Galway, this production  will showcase the talents of a new emerging generation of exciting theatre-makers.  The play is being directed by Ian R. Walsh, who is a Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. His books include Experimental Irish Theatre (Palgrave 2012)and The Theatre of Enda Walsh (Carysfort 2016).His professional directing credits include Purple Path to the Poppy Field (2006), The Magic Flute (2011), Orfeo ed Eurydice (2010),  The Wandering Scholar (2009) and Riders to the Sea ( 2009).  Speaking ahead of the production, Dr Walsh said that students were excited by the opportunity to perform in the new venue: “This will be the first full production in the new state-of-the-art O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, home to Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway,” he stated. “Our students are delighted to stage this innovative play for Galway audiences”  Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway Patrick Lonergan stated that the production of Machinal is part of the university’s commitment to staging new work. “We are staging four new productions this year with our students, two written by women and two written by men – with further details to be announced in the months ahead. Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal is a famous but rarely seen play that will showcase the best of our facilties and our students’ talents. As Galway moves towards 2020 and the capital of culture, we are delighted to play our part in contributing to the cultural richness of Galway and the wider region”.  The show runs from 1-3 March at 8 p.m. with a special Saturday matinee on Saturday 4 March at 3 p.m. Tickets are available from the SocsBox at NUI Galway (091 492852), Price: €5 For more information or interviews, please contact Ian R.Walsh  Ph: 0868589134.  

Friday, 21 February 2014

Sophocles’ Electra is the epic story of the House of Atreus. Through generations, bloodshed, revenge and redemption always follow close upon each other’s heels. Electra mourns the death of her father, Agammenon, at the hands of her mother, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus. Convinced of her total solitude after the death of her brother, Orestes, Electra hungers for justice until a familiar-looking stranger arrives and transforms her fate and the history of the House of Atreus. Produced in partnership with Student Societies, this production brought together students from all different stages in our Drama programmes, from first year BA to MA to PhD level, as well as several alumni.  Frank McGuinness’s adaptation of Sophocles’ Electra has been described by New York Times critic Peter Mark as a “sleek and hypnotic text” which showcases “soul-satisfying drama at its most passionately, intensely alive.” McIvor’s production resurrects the history of the House of Atreus to ask what does Electra mean todayand what can we learn by returning to the classics through the lens of the now? Directed by Charlotte McIvor 9-11 March 2014