The Acting for Peace Project 2012-2013 was an innovative arts programme using drama and theatre to promote reconciliation and mutual understanding within the Southern Border Counties of Cavan, Leitrim, Louth and Monaghan. The project was funded by the International Fund for Ireland and events included:
Theatre of Conflict: Creativity, Clowning and Peacebuilding, Friday 7 and Saturday 8 June 2013
The symposium ‘Theatre of Conflict: Creativity, Clowning and Peacebuilding’ was held on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 June at The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim from 9.30am – 5.00pm. The symposium consisted of two days of practical theatre workshops, panel discussions and professional theatre performance around the theme of clowning and creativity in peacebuilding. The focus was on passing on skills to artists and facilitators from the Southern Border area.
Women – Peacemakers or Agitators? Seminar 8 and 9 March 2013
Smashing Times held a hugely popular two-day seminar which used drama and theatre to promote peace building and reconciliation – with a focus on skills development – on the theme of Women – Peacemakers or Agitators? The seminar was held in An Táin Theatre, Town Hall, Dundalk, Co. Louth from 9.30-5pm on Friday 8 and 11-4.30pm on Saturday 9 March 2013. The day featured workshops with professional drama facilitators Idan Meir and Chrissie Poulter, presentations, and a performance piece with a post show discussion. The performance piece took place on Friday evening with two original monologues written by Paul Kennedy: Crossings directed by Mary Moynihan and starring Adam Traynor; and Thou Shalt not Kill directed by Bairbre Ni Chaoimh and starring Cathy White. As with previous seminars we found that the more diverse the audience, the more rewarding the seminar. This event was open to community leaders, youth workers, artists, academics, teachers, actors, drama facilitators, and anyone interested in learning how theatre can engage with issues of importance. No drama/theatre experience was necessary.
This was a cross border, cross community event and we were particularly interested in any existing women’s groups from the North of Ireland and the southern border counties of Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Cavan who may have wished to attend. Catered lunch was provided on both days. There was a limited amount of shared (twin) accommodation available free of charge. Priority was given to those travelling long distances.
Monaghan Saturday Drama Workshops, 2012
As part of the Acting for Peace Project funded by the International Fund for Ireland, Smashing Times ran ten Reconciliation through Drama workshops with young people in the southern border counties in 2012. Our professional drama facilitator worked with young people aged 14-18 to explore storytelling, identity, equality, anti-racism and anti-sectarianism through drama. The free workshops were held in Drum Presbyterian Hall from September 15 for ten weeks. For those in Transition Year, the drama workshops were suitable as part of the Gaisce President’s award requirements.
Images by Leann Rigney
Acting for Peace Project Launched in An Táin Theatre, Dundalk, June 2012
The Acting for Peace Project used drama and theatre activities within Cavan, Leitrim, Louth and Monaghan to bring people together to explore themes that are a consequence of the conflict in Northern Ireland and the Southern Border counties. The project aimed to use drama and theatre to promote equality, diversity and the coming together of different communities in mutual understanding and respect. The project consisted of the following activities between 2012-2013:
- 30 Reconciliation through Drama Workshops working with local community and youth groups in the southern border counties.
- Four Seminars for Community Dialogue & Training with cross-border and cross-community participation
- Creation of a Professional Performance with invited cross-community and cross-border participation, with all performances followed by post-show discussions to discuss issues raised
- Final Report and Evaluation printed in booklet and web-based format
Speakers at the opening included Smashing Times Artistic Director Mary Moynihan. The project was officially launched by Gwen Lanigan, Development Officer from the International Fund for Ireland. The launch included a demonstration of the work already happening in the Dundalk area with the Craobh Rua Community Project who were midway through their ten weeks with Smashing Times drama facilitator Fiona Thompson.
Speaking about the project Mary Moynihan said: ‘The stories we tell on our stage come from our direct engagement with local communities and have a resonance with artists and audiences culturally, socially and politically. The work aims to entertain, to challenge and to empower citizens and communities. We hope you will join with us as we work together to encourage local and national conversations and debate on issues affecting us today and to develop and contribute towards new visions and ways forward in Ireland and Northern Ireland in the 21st century.’ See Mary’s full speech here.
International Fund for Ireland
The Acting for Peace Project has been generously supported by the International Fund for Ireland. The International Fund for Ireland is an independent, international organisation established by the Irish and British Governments in 1986. The Fund’s main objectives are to promote economic and social advancements and to encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation between Unionists and Nationalists throughout Ireland. Contributors to the Fund are the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Since its inception, the Fund has committed more than £695m/€869m to a wide variety of projects in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties. Developing and funding initiatives that tackle segregation and promote integration to build a lasting peace in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties is a key priority for the Fund.