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Aisling na Saoirse – Dreams of Freedom

Aisling na Saoirse – Dreams of Freedom

October 20, 2022 @ 7:30 pm October 22, 2022 @ 9:30 pm IST

Thurs 20, Fri 21 and Sat 22 October, 7.30pm. Three public performances and post-show discussions take place in South Kerry – in The Barracks Heritage Centre, Cahersiveen, on Thursday, 20 October 2022, 7.30pm; in St John the Baptist Church, Knightstown, Valentia Island, on  Friday 21 October 2022, 7.30pm and in  10 Bridge Street, Killorglin, on…

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Rob Harrington, performer

Carla Ryan, performer

Full Event Details

Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality work to promote equality, human rights and diversity through the arts.  The company are delighted to present a programme of artistic performances, workshops, training and talks taking place in a range of venues using the arts to promote equality and rights with a focus on promoting the Irish language and Irish culture and heritage.

The Aisling Programme in South Kerry – 2022 Arts and Human Rights festival.

Three public performances and post-show discussions take place in South Kerry – in The Barracks Heritage Centre, Cahersiveen, on Thursday, 20 October 2022, 7.30pm; in St John the Baptist Church, Knightstown, Valentia Island, on  Friday 21 October 2022, 7.30pm and in  10 Bridge Street, Killorglin, on  Saturday 22 October 2022, 7.30pm.  The show Aisling na Saoirse consists of:

Grace and Joe by Mary Moynihan performed by Carla Ryan

Tales from an Afterworld by Féilim James performed by Rob Harrington

At Summer’s End by Féilim James performed by Carla Ryan

Ná déanaimis dearmad/Let Us Not Forget by Áine Ní Ghlinn performed by Rob Harrington

The performance venues, dates and times are:

  • The Monsignor Flaherty Room, Barracks Heritage Centre, Cahersiveen, County Kerry. Thursday, 20 October 2022, 7.30pm.
  • St John the Baptist Church, Knightstown, Valentia Island, County Kerry. Friday 21 October 2022, 7.30pm.
  • 10 Bridge Street, Killorglin, County Kerry, Saturday 22 October 2022, 7.30pm.

The show is a bespoke combination of three monologue performances and a poem. Our first performance is Grace and Joe written and directed by Mary Moynihan inspired by Grace Evelyn Gifford (1888-1955) and the story of her time with Joseph Mary Plunkett, one of the leaders executed after the 1916 Easter Rising. Next is Tales From an Afterworld by Féilim James based on the life and work of William Butler Yeats (1865-1939).

The final performance is At Summer’s End by Feilim James, a dramatic monologue told from the perspective of a Jewish-Irish citizen murdered in the Holocaust. Her name was Ettie Steinberg (1914-42). We learn how at a young age her family left Eastern Europe for Dublin, before love led her away to the European mainland. This by turns tender and harrowing portrait of love, loss, and the brutality of war tells one ordinary woman’s extraordinary, and often forgotten, story. The show culminates with a poem Ná déanaimis dearmad/Let Us Not Forget by Áine Ní Ghlinn.

The award-winning work of Smashing Times has been acclaimed for its extraordinary story-telling inspired by historical memory and stories of citizens and artists from across the ages. In this, our 30th anniversary year, enjoy a gathering of performance and song presenting re-imagined moments from the lives of citizens and artists caught up in extraordinary times, showcasing stories of Irish people from the 20th century.

Grace and Joe

Written and directed by Mary Moynihan

Based on on writings and witness statements from Joseph Mary Plunkett and Grace Gifford

Performed by Carla Ryan

Grace and Joe sees Grace Evelyn Gifford (1888-1955) tell the story of her time with Joseph Mary Plunkett, one of the leaders executed after the 1916 Easter Rising and the youngest signatory to the Irish proclamation. It relates how they were married in Kilmainham Gaol chapel seven hours before his execution. Grace was a cartoonist and Republican and studied at the Metropolitan School Art.

Tales From an Afterworld

Written by Féilim James

Directed by Geraldine McAlinden

Performed by Rob Harrington

Tales From an Afterworld is a reflection on the life and work of writer William Butler Yeats (1865-1939). Born in Dublin in 1865, William Butler Yeats was the son of a well-known Irish painter, John Butler Yeats. He spent his childhood in County Sligo, where his parents were raised, and in London. He returned to Dublin at fifteen to continue his education and study painting, but quickly discovered he preferred poetry. Born into the Anglo-Irish landowning class, Yeats became involved with the Celtic Revival, a movement against the cultural influences of English rule in Ireland during the Victorian period, which sought to promote the spirit of Ireland’s native heritage. Yeats was deeply involved in politics in Ireland. He also had a life-long interest in mysticism and the occult, and his work drew extensively from sources in Irish mythology and folklore. Lady Gregory and Yeats founded the Abbey Theatre in 1904. Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 and died in 1939 age seventy-three.

At Summer’s End

Written by Féilim James

Directed by Eric Weitz

Performed by Carla Ryan

This dramatic monologue is told from the perspective of a Jewish-Irish citizen murdered in the Holocaust. Her name was Ettie Steinberg (1914-42). We learn how at a young age her family left Eastern Europe for Dublin, before love led her away to the European mainland. This by turns tender and harrowing portrait of love, loss, and the brutality of war tells one ordinary woman’s extraordinary, and often forgotten, story.

Poem: Ná déanaimis dearmad/Let Us Not Forget by Áine Ní Ghlinn performed by Rob Harrington

Artist Biographies:

Carla Ryan

Carla Ryan is an actor, singer and songwriter from Meath. She trained in TU Dublin’s Conservatory of Music and Drama and Columbia College Chicago studying Drama (Performance). She has been working with Smashing Times as an actor since 2016. Professional acting credits include Ettie in At Summers End, Nadine in Shadow of My Soul and Grace Gifford in Grace and Joe. Her performance of Grace and Joe for Constance and Her Friends by Mary Moynihan was hand selected by President Michael D. Higgins to be shown at Áras an Uachtarain for Culture Night 2016.

Carla is one half of the alt-pop duo ELKIN. Carla and best friend, Ellen were writing and singing together from the age of 15 before taking their music to a new level as ELKIN. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Joni Mitchell the duo began writing and performing folk-pop, but it wasn’t until they began working with producer lullahush that ELKIN blended their love of thought-provoking folk lyrics with fierce alt-pop production. ELKIN have played at venues and festivals across Ireland including Longitude and Electric Picnic.  Following the release of debut single Paro, ELKIN were named as one of State.ie’s Faces of 2018.  Their debut EP, Bad Habits, was released in May 2018. In February 2019, ELKIN released a new single Green Eyes, a collaboration with Æ MAK producer lullahush. In 2020 the duo were awarded funding from The First Music Contact Recording Stimulus Grant to record their debut EP Instant Hit, set for release early 2022.

ELKIN draw influence from the R’n’B, pop, indie and folk worlds. With bassist Peter and guitarist Conor of Hatchlings, plus drummer Rob, “the band display an eclectic mix of R&B, pop and hip-hop beats, bolstered by alternating female vocals and smooth guitars.” Stephen Porzio, Hot Press.

Rob Harrington

Rob has enjoyed both national and international tours over the past 19 years of his acting career. He has most recently performed Tales from an Afterworld (WB Yeats), written by Féilim James and directed by Geraldine McAlinden in Áras an Uachtaráin for President Michael D Higgins. Some of his favourite theatre productions include The Shadow of a Gunman (The New Theatre, directed by Ronan Wilmot), Pinter x 4 (Pearse Centre, directed by Peter Reid), Scabs (Theatre Upstairs directed by Liam Halligan) In Arabia We’d all be Kings (Beckett Theatre, directed by Liam Hallihan), Mary Stuart (The Grand Lodge, Liam Halligan) and La Locandiera (Edinburgh Fringe festival, directed Alice Coghlan). His screen work includes ‘A date for Mad Mary’, ‘Vaudevillians’, ‘The Comeback’, ‘Twitchy’, ‘The saviour of Dublin City’, ‘Ctrl’, ‘The Guarantee’, ‘The Enchanted Island’, ‘Two Margaritas and one Daiquiri’ amongst other independent films. Rob is also a seasoned theatre and screen workshop facilitator.

Freda Manweiler

Freda Manweiler is Company Manager and a Producer with Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality. Freda has worked with Smashing Times since 1999. She is highly skilled in project management, coordination and implementation. She has extensive experience working at a European level developing and delivering a range of European Initiatives, collaborating with over 50 cultural, educational and civil society organisations from over 22 European Countries. Promoting European Values through working on activities and projects that promote human rights, gender equality, positive mental health, remembrance and civic engagement.

She has worked developing and coordinating accredited training programmes,  professional productions, and community exchanges using creative methods to  promote peace building and reconciliation on the island of Ireland.  Working particularly with hard to reach communities in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties building strong community relations. Freda has been instrumental in bringing the learning gained from the Northern Ireland Peace Process to communities experiencing conflict in other European states. She has produced and toured a number of professional performances in Ireland and Northern Ireland. She is coordinator of the award winning, Acting For The Future programme that uses drama and theatre to promote positive mental health and suicide prevention, which was developed and run in association with the Samaritans and the Irish Association of Suicidology throughout the island of Ireland. As part of her work for Smashing Times she is responsible for all aspects of management and project development and is also involved in teaching practice.

She has extensive experience in team management through her work with Smashing Times as a manager and as a manager and Employment Assessment Coordinator for a Working Skills Centre in Toronto, Canada. Her experience in Canada focused mainly on refugee resettlement, managing initiatives funded through the federal government of Canada. Her education includes a Bachelor in Social Work (2007) from the Open University and in 2012 she completed an MEd from the National University of Ireland/UCD.

Mary Moynihan

Mary Moynihan, (she/her), MA, is an award-winning writer, director, theatre and film-maker, an interdisciplinary artist and one of Ireland’s most innovative arts and human rights artists creating work to promote the arts, human rights, climate justice, gender equality, diversity and peace. 

Mary is Artistic Director of Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality and works  collaboratively with artists and over 50 organisations across Ireland, Northern Ireland, Europe and internationally, using the arts to promote rights and values for all.   Company patrons of Smashing Times are Sabina Coyne Higgins, Senator Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House, Ger Ryan, actor and Tim Pat Coogan, writer and historian. Founding patrons were writers Maeve Binchy and Brian Friel.

Mary’s work has won a number of awards including the Allianz Business to Arts Awards, a GSK Ireland Impact Award, a Dublin Bus Community Spirit Award, a National Lottery Good Cause Award, the international #ArtsAgainstCovid award, an Arts Council Project Award and an Arts Council Agility Award.

Mary is Artistic Curator for the annual Dublin Arts and Human Rights festival implemented by Smashing Times and Front Line Defenders in partnership with Amnesty International, Fighting Words, ICCL,  NWCI, Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Trócaire and Poetry Ireland, funded by The Arts Council. The aim of the festival is to showcase and highlight the extraordinary work of human rights defenders in Ireland and around the world, past and present, and the role of the arts and artists in promoting human rights today.

Mary’s artistic practice encompasses theatre, film, literature, poetry, and curatorship. Mary’s work focuses on primal, visceral and intuitive responses to vulnerability and conflict and an exploration of self and the other. Her work explores an interconnectedness of the body, voice and imagination, revealing the inner life through physical and spiritual energies and intuitive engagements. Mary has a focus on using historical memory in her artistic practice as inspiration for the creation of original artworks across a range of mediums, remembering stories of ordinary yet powerful women and men from history and today who stood up for the rights of others.

As a playwright, Mary’s work includes the highly acclaimed The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WWII co-written with Paul Kennedy, Fiona Thompson and Féilim James;  A Beauty that will Pass; Constance and Her Friends – selected by President Michael D. Higgins for performance at Áras an Uachtaráin for Culture Night 2016;  In One Breath from the award-winning Testimonies(co-written with Paul Kennedy); and Shadow of My Soul, May Our Faces Haunt You and Silent Screams. 

Mary’s film work includes the hour-long documentary Stories from the Shadows, the short film Tell Them Our Names, inspired by women’s stories of WWII and selected for the London Eye International Film Festival and Kerry Film Festival, the creative documentary Women in an Equal Europe and the short film Courageous Women inspired by powerful women’s stories from the 1916 to 1923 decade of commemorations period in Irish history.  

Ciara Hayes

Ciara Hayes a producer with Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality and the coordinator for the annual Dublin Arts and Human Rights festival. Ciara Hayes is a graduate of UCC with an MA in Arts Management and Creative Producing. She also holds a teaching diploma from the London College of Music in Drama and Communication, and a BA Joint Hons in Drama and Theatre Studies with German. She has a background in theatre and worked for several years as a drama teacher, later becoming a teacher of social skills for children on the autism spectrum. 

In 2016 Ciara branched into arts administration while working with Cyclone Rep; a Cork-based Shakespearean Theatre-in-Education company. In 2017 she took on the role of stage school coordinator at Konfident Kidz, where she was responsible for the day to day running of the stage school reporting directly to the company’s director. During this time, she assisted in the organisation of Ireland’s first ever all-autistic conference; AUsome Conference.

Since completing her Masters in 2020, Ciara has worked as a producer and festival administrator for Half Moon Festival (Cork, 2020) and Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival (Dublin, 2020). She works as Communications Officer at Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality and as producer for Gaitkrash Theatre Company.

Arts Administration experience includes: Konfident Kidz, teacher and Stage School Manager (2014-2017); Cyclone Rep Theatre-in-Education Company, administrator (2016), Smashing Times, Communications Officer (2020-present).

Producing credits include: Half Moon Festival – multidisciplinary, online arts festival (July 2020). Earthangel – online production of aural recording, Gaitkrash Theatre Company (November 2020). playing ‘The Maids’ – online sharing of recorded theatre performance, Gaitkrash Theatre Company (December 2020). Love and Information, online showing of filmed theatre performance, MTU BA Theatre and Drama Studies (February 2021). Prometheus Now, online theatre performance, Gaitkrash Theatre Company as part of Cork Midsummer Festival (June 2021).

Acting credits include: Liverpool, Mint Productions (2019); Little Gem, Dramat (2016), awarded Best Actress; The Circle Game, BA Drama and Theatre Studies (2016); The Importance of Being Ernest, Dramat (2015); Trojan Woman: A Love Story¸ BA Drama and Theatre Studies (2014).

Feilim James

Féilim James is an award-winning writer from Dublin, Ireland. In 2020, the Arts of Council of Ireland awarded Féilim a Literature Bursary Award to finish his debut novel, Flower of Ash, as well as a Professional Development Award. He received an Arts Bursary from Dublin City Arts Office in 2021 to finish his first poetry collection, I was a river, lost. His short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous journals, including The Fiction Pool, The Galway Review, and Icarus. His work through Irish, under Féilim Ó Brádaigh, has won seven Oireachtas na Gaeilge literary awards. His short fiction and poetry, through English and Irish, have appeared in a number of journals, including The Fiction Pool, The Galway Review, Icarus, and Comhar. A short film Féilim wrote, titled The Big No, produced by Smashing Times, was shortlisted by the IndieX Film Festival, and his play At Summer’s End has toured Ireland.

In The Big No, a young man tells the story of his psychological unravelling and subsequent mental health crisis. Told in the form of a voiceover monologue accompanied by compelling imagery, this poetic short film takes us on a journey of despair, introspection, and hope. As he battles against panic attacks and suicidal thoughts, he is forced to face the ‘why’ of his problems head on, learning some essential truths about himself and the world.

Féilim’s play At Summer’s End has been on tour with Smashing Times as part of The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WWII.  At Summer’s End is based on the life-story of Ettie Steinberg, an Irish woman who was murdered, along with her family, at Auschwitz.

Féilim’s themes are wide-ranging, and include identity, mental illness, guilt, human animalism, death, and humankind’s relationship with nature. He is committed to maintaining an ever evolving and progressive approach to his work, with each book both building on the last and differing in a vital way. In other words, the aforementioned themes will change as time passes, as will their stylistic rendering. ‘My inspirations are many and wide-ranging. To the fore are James Joyce, Sylvia Plath, John Banville, Marilynne Robinson, Ted Hughes, TS Eliot, Seán Ó Ríordáin, and Radiohead’.

Eric Weitz

Eric Weitz is Associate Director of the Gaiety School of Acting: The National Theatre School of Ireland and Adjunct Associate Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, having previously served in the TCD Drama Department as Convenor for the Bachelor in Acting Studies and Head of Drama.

Eric is currently Book Review Editor for Humor, the scholarly journal for the International Society for Humor Studies; he sits on the International Advisory Board for the European Journal of Humour Research and the Hungarian Journal for English and American Studies. He is series co-editor of the recently published Bloomsbury Cultural History of Comedy (Methuen, 2020) and contributor of the Vol. 6 chapter, ‘Laughter in the Modern Age’; he is co-editor and contributor for the Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre & Performance (2018). His single-author works include Theatre & Laughter (2016) and the Cambridge Introduction to Comedy (2009), plus widely cited articles in books and journals.

Áine Ní Ghlinn

Áine Ní Ghlinn is a lecturer, journalist and writer. She has a BA (Irish and English) and a HDip in Education from University College, Dublin, a Diploma in Journalism from the London School of Journalism, and an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. She has written over thirty books – including four collections of poetry and an array of books for teenagers and young people.

She spent some years as a secondary-school teacher but resigned her position to become a journalist at RTÉ and Raidió na Gaeltachta. She worked on both current affairs and magazine programmes and the two she enjoyed most of all were the arts programmes, Leabhragán and Ar an Ardán, on Raidió na Gaeltachta. She also spent some time as a freelance journalist in London and in Ireland and she was frequently heard on It Says in the Papers on RTÉ Radio and on Raidió na Gaeltachta.

She left RTÉ to spent a few years lecturing at FIONTAR in Dublin City University. However, she wanted to spend more time writing and later became a full-time writer; writing children’s books and scripts for Ros na Rún, TG4. At present, she shares her time between writing and lecturing at the Church of Ireland College of Education in Dublin and writing workshops in Irish-language secondary schools.

She has won many awards for her work. Céard tá sa bhosca? (An Gúm, 2002) won the Gradam Chlann Lir in 2003. She won the Irish-language prize at the Strokestown poetry festival in 2003, the Irish-language prize at the Dun Laoghaire / Rathdown poetry competition in 2003, as well as the Foras na Gaeilge Award at Seachtain na Scríbhneoirí in Listowel in 2002. She was awarded an Oireachtas prizes for her books Fuadach (Cois Life, 2005) Tromluí (Cois Life, 2009) and Úbalonga (An Gúm, 2009). Brionglóidí & aistir eile (Cló Mhaigh Eo, 2008) was shortlisted for the Bisto prize and she won an IBBY award in 2010. In 2012, she won an Oireachtas prize for her plays for children and her novel for teenagers, Daideo (Cois Life, 2014) was also awarded an Oireachtas prize in 2013. The same book was named Book of the Year for young people, 2014, Gradam Réics Carló. She was awarded Gradam Réics Carló again a couple of years later for her novel Hata zú Mhamó (Cois Life, 2016).

Her story ‘Boscadán’ was awarded top prize for children’s stories at Comórtais Liteartha an Oireachtais 2017, and Cois Life published the subsequent book in 2019: Boscadán. LeabhairCOMHAR published in 2018 a collection (Fadó Riamh… Ag an Tús) which brings together stories from diverse cultures representing the rich tradition of mythology surrounding the creation of the world.

Eadaoin Barrett

Eadaoin Barrett is a graduate from TU Dublin in Creative Industries and Visual Culture and The Gaiety School of Acting’s full time professional actor training. She has worked in theatre in Ireland as an actor, director, and producer. Eadaoin joined Smashing Times in July as their administration and communication officer.

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