Using theatre to promote a common European mythological heritage
Smashing Times are one of seven partners involved in Legend of the Great Birth, a European cooperation project funded by Creative Europe and implemented in the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.
Legend of the Great Birth is a Creative Europe transnational project that explores, through the use of performance, a common European mythological heritage, specifically in relation to the Myth of Creation, a myth present in a range of mythologies.
Mythology is an important part of the intangible cultural heritage of Europe. It consists of a complex system of stories that are transferred from generation to generation, carrying with them elements of a hidden past, of people and their traditions and of the landscape.
The seven partners are Theatro Aeroploio, Athens, Greece (lead partner); Smashing Times, Dublin, Ireland; Action Synergy, Athens, Greece; Fusion of Arts, Romania; Fondazaine Aida, Verona, Italy; Stella Polaris, Sandefjord, Norway; and Stowarzyszenie Teatr Krzyk, Maszewo, Poland.
The project has resulted in the creation of an original theatre performance, created with input from all project partners, and based on the theme of the ‘creation myth’ or ‘legends of creation’ from each partner country. The play contains a common scenario involving elements of mythological traditions from across Europe – including elements of Greek, Latin, Celtic, Nordic, and Slavic cultures. The mythological stories are diverse yet also share common similarities, promoting a reflection on the ‘united in diversity’ motto of the European Union and an exploration of a common sense of European belonging. The performance in each partner country is created from a common shared scenario inspired by myths of creation however each performance is uniquely different through individual interpretation of the original myths and performed with theatre, music, costume and video. Performances have taken place in six countries across Europe, Greece, Ireland, Romania, Italy, Norway and Poland, performed in a range of languages.
Winter Solstice Performance
Smashing Times were delighted to present a spectacular Legends of the Great Birth Céili Dancing and original Storytelling performance at the City of Dublin Winter Solstice Celebration Festival which was held on 20 December 2019 at TU Dublin Grangegorman campus and attended by over two hundred people. The Céilí featured traditional Irish music and dancing led by the renowned Brian Boru Céilí band, one of the most successful Céili bands on the Céiliscene in Ireland today. During the festival a series of storytelling performances took place which featured theatre and song to animate imaginative and mythological traditions from across Europe. Legends of the Great Birth was adapted and written by Mary Moynihan, directed by Dr Eric Weitz and performed by Carla Ryan, actor and singer; Geraldine McAlinden, actor and Peter Kelly, musician. The storytelling performance was presented alongside a Legend of the Great Birth Theatre workshop facilitated by theatre artist and director Michael Mc Cabe (who studied with the famous theatre, movement and mime artist Jacque Lecoq school in Paris), exploring myths of creation and legends from the Winter Solstice. People of all ages enjoyed this energetic and engaging céili and set dancing session intermixed with storytelling inspired by the Winter Solstice and Legends of the Great Birth.
In addition to a shared original theatre performance which took place in six countries across Europe, a range of associated creative activities and online digital resources are also in development. These include a costume exhibition, visual art images, creative workshops, a web portal, an e-learning course and a publication all inspired by myths of creation from across Europe., highlighting a common European dimension. Artists from the different countries have come together through a series of creative partner exchanges held in Greece, Norway, Ireland and Poland,
Benefits include increased cooperation between cultural operators and professionals from across Europe; an increased sense of belonging in a common European space; the sharing of European cultural heritage resources related to mythology and an increase in the use of e-learning as a tool for training in the creative and cultural sector.
To visit The Legend of the Great Birth project website, click here.
Legends Blog Series
By Mary Moynihan
Legends of the Great Birth – Myths of Creation linked to stories of powerful women from ancient times to the present
Smashing Times are one of seven partners involved in Legend of the Great Birth, a European cooperation project funded by Creative Europe and implemented in the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. Legends of the Great Birth is a Creative Europe transnational project that explores, through the use of performance, a common European mythological heritage, specifically in relation to the Myth of Creation, a myth present in a range of mythologies.
As part of this project artist and writer Mary Moynihan has created an original monologue The Great Melody and a blog series to share the research we have come across as part of our involvement in Legends of the Great Birth, reflecting on myths of creation and stories of powerful women from ancient times to the present.
The blog series consists of the following – click on each to download: