Echoes of 1916: Two Events in Smock Alley Theatre

Published On 4 March, 2016 | Latest News

Smashing Times Theatre Company presents

Echoes of 1916

An Artist’s Vision for Ireland National Symposium, 2-6pm, and performance of The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of 1916, 7.30pm featuring original testimony and new Irish writing by Pom Boyd, Mary Moynihan and Peter Sheridan

Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, 21 April 2016

‘How can you be an artist, and not reflect the times?’

– Nina Simone

Smashing Times are holding a day-long event Echoes of 1916, consisting of an Artist’s Vision for Ireland national symposium from 2-6pm with key note speakers including Deirdre Kinahan, playwright; Mary Moynihan, theatre and film-maker; and Dr Eric Weitz, Associate Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies, Trinity College Dublin, and a live performance of The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of 1916 by writers Pom Boyd, Mary Moynihan and Peter Sheridan at 7.30pm, both events taking place at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, main space, on Thursday 21 April 2016. The events are presented as part of a project called Women, War and Peace co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Fund.

Admission free, booking essential: reserve your seats at Smock Alley Box Office (01) 6770014, on the Smock Alley website or at the eventbrite links below.

Artist’s Vision for Ireland National Symposium

Poets, dreamers, visionaries and women were amongst those who advocated or fought for Irish freedom in the Easter Rising of 1916. Today women are still campaigning for full equal rights. In the context of the Decade of Commemorations and the recent ‘Waking the Feminists’ debate, the Artist’s Vision for Ireland National Symposium asks what would an artist’s vision for Ireland today look like, one that is based on a genuine need for social justice, gender equality and human rights and is sustainable, ethical and inclusive, enabling ‘creativity to flow’. Or is the vision of a nation state redundant and rather than looking at a state of place are we seeking a state of rights? The aim of the symposium is to bring artists and all those interested in the arts together to imaginatively explore what vision and possibility we would like to see for Ireland today and what role an artist can play to bring that vision into existence.

Manifesto and Vox Pop

To start the debate Smashing Times are asking seven artists associated with Smashing Times to create their own individual manifesto for Ireland in 2016, based on their response to ‘An Artist’s Vision for Ireland’ to be put on display on the Smashing Times website. The Brazilian theatre practitioner Augusto Boal wrote that:

‘Night is falling on the world. So what are we to do? Remain Silent? I have sincere respect for those artists who dedicate their lives exclusively to their art – it is their right or their condition but I prefer those who dedicate their art to life . . . Our taking of a theoretical position and our concrete actions should arise not because we are artists but because we are human beings’.

Prior to the symposium the company will conduct a Vox Pop collecting a broad range of comments from young people and adults, gathered in writing and on camera and uploaded, asking what does 1916 means to you? Contributions will be gathered from the general public and from artists such as Ger Ryan, Peter Sheridan and Margaret Toomey. If you would like to contribute, please email a comment or statement to A selection of quotes will be put up online on the Smashing Times website prior to the symposium and displayed on a screen at the actual symposium for participants to view to as they come in. After the panel discussions at the symposium, the audiences can record their own responses to 1916.

The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of 1916

‘Dress suitably in short skirts and sitting boots, leave your jewels and gold wands in the bank and buy a revolver.’ Constance Markievicz, 1909

Following the symposium, Smashing Times Theatre Company presents the Irish premiere of The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of 1916 featuring original testimony and new Irish writing by Pom Boyd, Mary Moynihan and Peter Sheridan, directed by Mary Moynihan, Andrea Basquille and Stephen Tadhg and performed by actors including Margaret Toomey, Pom Boyd, Evelyn Shaw and Roisin McAtamney.

The performance explores the varied roles women played in Irish history during the Easter Rising of 1916, and brings to life some of the most prominent figures of the day including Helena Moloney, a member of Inghinidhe na hÉireann and the Irish Citizen Army, stationed at City Hall Garrison during the Rising; revolutionary feminist Margaret Skinnider who fought in the College of Surgeons at St Stephen’s Green; Dr Kathleen Lynn, a medical doctor, feminist and social activist and member of the Irish Citizen Army, stationed at City Hall; Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, a nationalist and one of Ireland’s foremost suffragettes and Elizabeth O’Farrell, nurse and member of Cumann na mBan, who waved the 1916 Rising surrender flag and who was subsequently airbrushed out of the photograph where she stood alongside Pádraig Pearse.

The performances remember the experiences of women as revolutionaries and insurgents fighting on an equal basis with their male counterparts, as advocates for social justice and as pacifists and advocates for peace.

According to Dr Shirley Graham “In secondary schools today, Leaving Certificate students only learn about two women from the 1916 era: Countess Markievicz and the artist Evie Hone. There are many more who have been forgotten and whose contributions have been minimised, ignored or erased from our history books. Despite the fact that women make up 50% of our population, and that a number of feminist historians have been writing women back into history since the 1970s, the majority of the well-known personalities spoken about and revered as Irish heroes, revolutionaries and history makers are men.”

Many women were involved in the Easter Rising of 1916 yet their stories and experiences have been effectively airbrushed from historical accounts of the rising. In more recent times the stories of these women have received a new audience through the work of powerful women historians. In this new production Smashing Times are aiming to make remarkable women in history visible, to ensure their contribution is valued and acknowledged as we remember the diverse roles played by women in Irish history and the incredible impact they had on events at the time.

Come and join us at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin for performance, reflection, discussion and debate and add your voice to the creation of multiple visions and possibilities for Ireland in 2016. All are welcome – artists and all those interested in the arts for social change. Admission is free and booking is essential as tickets are limited. Bookings: Smock Alley Theatre Box Office on 01-677 0014 or reserve your tickets online here for the symposium, and here for the performance.

The above events are presented as part of our project Women, War and Peace, an innovative project with four European partners from Ireland, Spain, Germany and Poland. This project uses creative processes of theatre and film to explore the role of women in Europe from 1916 to World War II to the present and the power of the EU in promoting peace and gender equality today.

For further information, images or interviews contact Freda Manweiler using the details below.

Smashing Times Theatre Company

Tel: + 353 (0) 1 865 6613       Tel: + 353 (0) 87 221 4245


Like this Article? Share it!

Comments are closed.