A typical year in the life of KYT
2013 was a busy year in which we made new international friends and collaborators, challenged ourselves artistically, and pushed out a few boats ....
a new play by Mary Linehan
7th November, Moat Theatre, Naas
White Noise is a new play by Mary Linehan, directed by Keith Burke which charts a young man’s journey through addiction. The play tells the story of Stephen (played by Jerry Chikwe) from the point-of-view of his subconscious, while his body is lying in an intensive care ward after a serious overdose.
Developed over a period of three months, the performance was a blend of symbolic, drem-like sequences intercut with naturalistic scenes from Stephen's life.
It played in The Moat Theatre, Naas, for one night to a full house. The cast were Jerry Chikwe, Caolán Dundon, Jack Higgins, David Devaney, Elena Walsh, Mary Duffin, Aoife Taylor and Evan Lynch. original music by Eoin Harnett.
four new political plays - part on an annual international event
30th November. Liffey Studio, Newbridge
We were the only company in Ireland to take part in the global Theatre Uncut festival – performances of new plays about the rise of the right in international politics - during the month of November. We staged Irish premieres of The Wing by Clara Brennan, Amanda by Kieran Hurley, Pick One by Neil LaBute, Capitalism is Crisis by Tim Price, and Church Forced To Put Up Gates After Font Is Used As Wash Basin By Migrants by Mark Thomas.They were staged in The Liffey Studio for one night, and performed, directed and stage managed by members of the Generator Ensemble.
Visit Theatre Uncut to find out more about this unique international project.
Acting for Austerity II
international theatre collaboration
6th - 13th August. Newbridge
Two organizations, Crooked House and Osmosis, one Irish, one Greek, collaborated on a project in 2012 called ACTING FOR AUSTERITY I, bringing together young Greeks and Irish people aged 18 to 26, who were active in the performing arts. The project helped them consider ways in which they could use their theatre experience to find work in areas like drama facilitation, youth theatre, community theatre and applied theatre.
Building on the success of that programme, this project - ACTING FOR AUSTERITY II - took place between 5th August and 13th August 2013 in and around the premises of Crooked House Theatre Company in Newbridge, Ireland.
The project was a cultural and social exchange as well as a sharing of skills and competencies. This project sought to explore the possibilties open to young theatre practitioners in these times of challenging economic austerity. Through a combination of task-based activities, interactive workshops, drama exercises, discussions, research, and presentations, the young people were enabled to explore the variety of ways they can use their acting skills to work as drama facilitators with groups of people for developmental, educational and political purposes. The primary aim of the programme was to equip the participants with the skills necessary to find work in these times of austerity when there is restricted opportunity for mainstream employment.
The participants' own experiences of unemployment, poverty, as well as the financial and emotional difficulties resulting from living under austerity, were the primary themes explored in the activity.
The young people found points of convergence as well as divergence when it came to their own individual and national experiences of recessionary living. Sharing these experience proved a fruitful and fertile ground for theatre making. In delivering this project, our aims were that the participants would:
acquire the skills to be able to co-facilitate a drama session
come to an increased understanding of group dynamics in drama work
apply their acting skills to help direct small dramatic projects with group
be able to plan projects that they could develop in the future
be motivated to find ways in which they can turn their learning into employment opportunities
appreciate the common situation facing Greek and Irish young people in times of austerity.
A number of strategies were employed to achieve these outcomes. Participants attended four distinct skills workshops on the themes of Playback Theatre, Political Theatre, Movement and Ann Bogart’s Viewpoints, where they were introduced and versed in various methods of theatrical creation that could be used in drama facilitation in their own country. Discussion, research and practical drama exercises were utilised in these sessions to enable the young people to effectively and actively engage with the subject presented.
A series of devising workshops were also held, where the participants worked with one professional theatre-maker using one technique and from which a performance, on the theme of living in austerity, was developed. The methods and techniques used in these workshops included Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, mask work and approaches to making theatre with children.
These main activities were integrated into a fuller programme which involved cultural outings and activities, performances by both the Greek and Irish groups, as well as attendence at a number of high-profile theatre plays in Dublin.
Funded by the Youth in Action programme of the EU, the young people worked with Irish and Greek theatre artists to develop a range of skills in applied theatre practices. They devised a final public showcase performance in The Liffey Studio on 12th August.
The project was directed by Peter Hussey and Christina Zoniou, with workshops by contributing artists Mary Duffin, Martha Koskina, Rachel Lally, Brenda Donohue, Keith Burke and Patricia Lazou.
Project logistics managed by Veronica Bagnall and Teresa Gallagher. Participants stayed in the Gables Guesthouse in Newbridge.
"I think freedom is the key to every learning experience. We were able to express ourselves, get involved in activities and to participate in workshops in a way that was free: we were not obliged to do something that we felt was not suitable for us. I also liked the fact that all the workshops had a practical character. I am shy as a person and sometimes it is hard for me to open myself, so I was able to work on this. I also feel that I improved my acting skills, although I am not an actress, and I got involved in unconventional theatrical activities.
I realized that life in Ireland is much more expensive than in Greece, although both countries cope with financial problems. The weather can be depressing, which I think is an important factor for the high levels of suicides in Ireland. However, I loved the fact that most of the people live in detached houses with big gardens; the parks, the rivers, the natural beauty and in general, the existence of green areas, even in the centre of Dublin.
I realized that we have a totally different educational system and I also think that the Irish young people are much more involved in arts than we are in Greece.
I also learned a lot of things about the Irish history and language, especially when we visited the National Museum and the National Gallery of Ireland, where the Irish participants offered to be our guides. We had the chance to go to Irish pubs, listen to traditional Irish music and dance traditional Irish dances, so in a way, we got familiar with their way of life." (19 year old Greek female)
"The learning was different from school as it was more practical and less forced. I could evaluate my work by having informed discussions with other participants.I came from a military area so I believe that it is valuable for me to understand theatre of the oppressed and I feel I can help teach that now to m community."
- 17 year old Irish male
"I discovered that I have lots of abilities that I didn’t know I had before; and that I should be more confident and that I shouldn’t be afraid to “open up” to other people. I am going to say again how many things we have in common: politics, the unemployment, the hardships are the same. Dreams are the same. Life in Ireland, though, is more expensive than in Greece but civil services in Ireland are far better, I think. The way Irish people face their problems is also different, I think, from the way we face ours. I would say we are more demonstrative as far as our problems are concerned and we protest more while Irish people are more introverted and quiet."
- 20 year old Greek female
site specific works for the inaugural Big House Festival
3rd - 5th August, Castletown House, Celbridge.
(Later perfromed in The Moat theatre, Naas as part of a doible bill on 7th October)
PIG HOUSE - 3 new plays and a new dance piece commissioned for the inaugural Big House Festival, Ireland’s first festival of site-specific work, in Castletown House & Parklands, Celbridge, County Kildare. Created by the Generator company, directed by Peter Hussey, and made for the piggeries in the Home Farm of Castletown.
In PIG PARTY we meet two privately educated boarding school boys scoring some hash from the school caretaker’s son. He is determined to rip them off, but they have darker, ulterior motives for meeting him in the abandoned pig-sty. This play explores social class and misogyny in a tense 15 minute exchange. By Peter Hussey, with Caolán Dundon, Paul Miller and John Cleary.
SOUL PATROL is a comedy about a group of friends who have established an amateur ghost-hunting enterprise. Inspired by stories of the devil in hooves from the Big House, they arrange to meet in the farmyard in the dead of night with their 'equipment' to live-feed events involving the spirits they are certain reside there. Soul Patrol explores how teenagers can be vicious and nasty to each other when under stress. By Peter Hussey, with Conor Burke, Allie Whelan, Katie O' Connor and Jerry Chikwe.
In THE VEGAN ALTERNATIVE a young couple meets close to the venue where their debs is currently taking place. They are out to sabotage the event, hoping to expose the cruelty of meat-eating and farming in a dramatic intervention at the debs. The play looks at how their relationship gets in the way of their ideals. By Peter Hussey, with Megan Clifford and Evan Lynch.
ORPHEUS DREAMS OF EURYDICE is a short dance inspired by the Greek myth in which Orpheus, having lost Eurydice to the underworld, can now only dream of her and regret his decision to look back at the last moment.The plays are separate and complete in themselves, but connect through shared characters, situations, events and themes. Choreographed by Peter Hussey, Jae Suen and Elena Walsh.
I was at the Big House Festival this weekend in Castletown and attended the Kildare Youth Theatre's performance. It was exceptional, in particular the final piece Pig Party, which dealt with the issue of misogyny and class. - audience member.
The Big House festival won Entertainment.ie's Best Festival at the ERICS for 2013. Visit the site here to find out what it was all about.
This Is Who We Are
an international festival collaboration between Crooked House, Le Grand Bleu and Rogaland Teater
22nd - 30th June, Newbridge
An artistic collaboration between Crooked House (Irl), Rogaland Teater (Norway) and Le Grand Bleu (France) with 40 young people making theatre about youth identify. This Is Who We Are (TIWWA) was funded by EU Youth in Action programme, and by the Arts Council’s EU Local Partnership Scheme (via Kildare County Council Arts Service). It occured in Newbridge from 22nd – 29th June and consisted of a week of of workshops and performances. The project was coordinated by Peter Hussey. A final showcase performance was held in Riverbank Arts Centre, on 29th June.
The project used theatre to explore young people's understanding of their identity as European citizens. We worked with 10 Norwegians, 10 French and 20 Irish young people aged 16 - 18 to: explore issues of self image and youth identity using creative methods of youth-work and group-work; raise awareness of factors that have an impact on youth identity and self image (such as popular culture, music, all types of media, peer groups, national culture and tradition, gender stereotyping, family, and school); suggest actions the young people could do that would develop their ability to shape their own identities comfortably, and in a stress free way, leading to positive mental health; showcase the work of youth theatre projects and young artists in Ireland, Norway and France. This work is themed around 'self-image and identity.'
We brought the young people together with professional theatre artists from Ireland, France and Norway to create collaborative presentations based on the themes explored during the project. the project was launched in Riverbank on Sunday 23rd June by Mayor of Kildare, Michael Nolan, Cllr Fiona O' Loughlin, and Arts Officer Lucina Russell. There were prepared performances from all groups involved.
In addition to creating a new piece of theatre during the week, the young people did morning workshops in stage combat, dance, physical theatre and viewpoints with artists from France, Norway, Scotland and the USA.
“One of the most emotional experiences I’ve ever had. Between doing what I love with people I love to actually falling in love, I don’t think people understand how much of a growing experience this actually was. I’ve been on exchanges before but nothing will compare to this.” Irish male, 17.
“As I write this, I find it hard to believe that we’ve known each other just a week. We have all become so close. It made me realise how, although there are many cultural differences between the three nationalities, we all have a love for one thing – theatre. It was lovely to see that such a thing actually exists.” French female, 16
“Over the last week, I’ve gained a lot of valuable skills and perspectives but above all the most important personal thing I gained this week is confidence. The confidence to make friends in a new, large group of people, even with a language barrier. I’ve new-found confidence in the person I am. I’ve the confidence to believe that I am free to be the person I want to be, not the person others want me to be.” Norwegian male, 17.
“It wasn’t all about making a play together. It was all about making a family.” French female, 17.
Do Not Disturb
site specific works in the bedrooms of the Gables Guesthouse and Leisure Centre
31st May - 2nd June (as part of June Fest. Revived for Newbridge Grassroots Festival, 13th - 15th September)
8 new site-specific plays written and performed by the company in collaboration with Peter Hussey.
When are teenagers ever in hotel rooms on their own? How do they book and pay for them? Where are their parents? Taking these questions as their starting point, 20 young people began to devise short plays in which we meet couples, individuals and small groups in hotel rooms.
In Do Not Disturb we also continued to explore themes of mental health and young people. The audience sat or stood around the room and the actors performed as if the audience were not there. When the pieces in one room concluded the audience swapped rooms and saw pieces in the second room.There were no scenes of a sexual nature, but there was strong language in some plays, and some ‘off-stage’ violence. Places were restricted to 10 per room and they booked out quickly.
PAJAMA PARTY by Peter Hussey with Conor Burke, Eadaoin Barrett, Elena Walsh, Katie O' Connor and Emma Lynch. On a school trip away some of the girls have smuggled drink (and a boy) into their bedroom but a knock on the door starts an escalation of events into a comic crisis. ‘Pyjama Party’ explores the nastiness of a drunken herd-mentality as exhibited by these characters.
IMPACT by and with Aoife Carew, Jerry Chickwe and John Cleary. A controlling boyfriend goes too far, but his girlfriend feels powerless to stop him. This play explores the way we use emotional blackmail to get what we want, even if it means we subjugate the rights of others.
NORMAL by Peter Hussey, Lauren Aherne, and Caolán Dundon. Performed by Lauren and Caolán. Heather is the only one in her family who can calm Ultan, her autistic brother. Everyone relies on her to take charge when he gets agitated. When something upsets him at a family night away, she is called in to help. As she settles him, she sees her future drift away from her. This play is inspired by James Joyce’s Eveline, recalling the sacrifices one young woman makes in order to serve her family.
TOUGH by and with David Devaney, Jack Higgins, Eoin Harnett and John Cleary. A hotel worker is bullied by his classmates but the tables turn when he calls in support. A play exploring male aggression and secrecy.
NOVOCAINE by and with Jae Suen and Aoife Taylor. A dance piece with dialogue about the break up of a relationship. A young couple meet to try to resolve their differences: she is too busy with her part-time job in the hotel to spend time with him. He wants to break up.
THE PACT by Peter Hussey, Emma Finegan and Emma Lynch. Performed by Emma and Emma. Two teenage girls make a pact to do something very serious, but one of them backs out at the last minute. This play explores the effect on young teenagers of relentless bullying, and shows how the glamorizing of suicide never solves any problem.
TALK DOWN by and with Mary Kiely and John Cleary, edited by Peter Hussey. Oscar is depressed and feels there is no way out except to take his life. But he is interrupted by Allie, who works in the hotel, and who seems to have no sympathy for his plight.
SIDE EFFECTS by Eoin Harnett and Peter Hussey. A young man details his life-long battle with depression and anxiety, and describes the effect takingthe prescribed drug, Sertolin Hydrochloride, has had on him. The side effects of the drug, which are printed on the information leflet, are 'recounted' by a glamorous woman in the room (Gemma Carey), punctuating his monologue with startling facts.
a devised play staged in the Scottish National Festival of Youth Theatres in Glenrothes, Fife on 6th July. Revived and staged in The Moat Theatre, Naas (along with Pig House, on 7th October)
Aftermath is a short devised piece of theatre by first-time actors from our youth theatre (the Ignition group, aged 14 – 16), created with Keith Millar and Marc Tuffy.
This work is based on the theme of peer pressure, and the power of herd mentality. It looks at the effect on a group of teenagers after they have taken part in a destructive incident. Aftermath asks the question, what might have happened if the London riots took place in Dublin and who would have taken part? It also explores the effects of austerity on young people's lives.
This play was staged in July in Glenrothes Theatre at the Scottish National Festival of Youth Theatres. NFYT is the largest annual gathering of youth theatres anywhere in the UK. It is run by Youth Theatre Arts Scotland. Kildare Youth Theatre has taken part in it every year since it began. Young people fundraise to cover the costs of accommodation (a large, secure campsite in Fife), catering and the festival itself (workshops, performances and events). It is usually in July, and we get to meet many youth theatres in Scotland, with whom we've built up strong relationships over the year.
16 young people from Ignition in KYT travelled to Scotland with leaders Marc Tuffy, Veronica Bagnall and Keith Millar in 2013.
Find out more about NFYT Scotland here.
Kildare Youth Theatre have a long and proud history of staging Shakespearian drama in exciting productions with professional director, voice coach and theatre-makers. This production of Macbeth was timed to serve as a flash revision for all Leaving Cert students just weeks before the exam.It was also aimed at a general audience of non-school-going public.
It is unique in Ireland for a group of Leaving Cert students to come together and work for several months on a radical, dynamic production of the play they are studying for their exams. This interpretation is faithful to the text, and draws special attention to the quieter, 'filler' scenes in the play, where characters are deepened and themes are exposed more subtly.
In director Peter Hussey's version, the kingdom of Scotland is in turmoil, and the poor and dispossessed are at the mercy of warring factions and kings. The murderer's speech (I am one, my liege, / Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world / Have so incensed that I am reckless what / I do to spite the world) is a key note in this production, which shows the poor, the servants, the soldiers, and the witches all as one class pitted against the ruling class. The production draws parallels with contemporary Syria and Gaza, and the Arab Spring, where the fight for freedom against dictators and repressive regimes still goes on.
In this land there are many witches: the poor have turned to any means possible, including witchcraft, to help them rid their country of intolerant dictators. Although only 3 of the witches speak, they have infiltrated the regime, posing as servants and aides (Seyton, for example) in an attempt to bring it down.
This is Kildare Youth Theatre's third production of Macbeth (the others were in 2003 and 2007).
In October the Arts Council interviewed the cast members and crew, and used some of the production film, for material for their pilot Performing Arts Learning Support (PALS) project. In a series of short videos you can learn about the experience from the people involved: the youth theatre members (most of whom were in fifth or sixth year of school at the time of the production) their teachers, and their director. You can also view a short film made by Kildare Youth Theatre based on one of the scenes in their production. View material here: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH KILDARE YOUTH THEATRE
by William Shakespeare. The Moat Theatre, Naas. 1st and 2nd May. Directed by Peter Hussey
Macbeth - Paul Miller
Lady Macbeth - Aoife Carew
Banquo - Jerry Chickwe
Macduff - Caolán Dundon
Lady Macduff - Eadaoin Barrett
Duncan - Ronan Maher
Malcolm - John Cleary
Donalbain - Orla Geoghegan
Wyrd Sisters - Jae Suen, Megan Clifford,
Elena Walsh, Katie O' Connor, Allie Whelan
Lennox - Aoife Taylor
Ross - Megan McSorley
Angus - Elena Walsh
Caithness - Emma Lynch
Siward - David Devaney
Young Siward - Evan Lynch
Young Macduff - Séan O' Brien
Fleance - Evan Lynch
Murderer 1 - Ciarán Brennan
Murderer 2 - Jack McHale
Porter - Edel Kelly
Doctor - Terry Norman
Waiting Woman - Katie O' Connor
Wounded Captain - Eoin Harnett
Messenger - Éimhear Donoghue
DIRECTED and DESIGNED by Peter Hussey
Adrian Dempsey, Ryan Dee, Dylan Aspell,
Conor Rowe and Gary Monaghan
SOUND & ORIGINAL MUSIC
FILM & PROJECTIONS
Dublin, 21st March - Trocaire 40th anniversary conference
Directed by Peter Hussey
We were commissioned by Trócaire to work on a creative presentation for the ir upcoming conference in march. The brief was to create dramatic performance material from case studies emerging from their latest reseacrh inot the effectiveness of aid in countries where Trociare has been active in the past 40 years.
Subsequently, a theatre presentation was developed by Kildare Youth Theatre for Trocaire’s 40th anniversary conference on March 21st.
It was directed by Peter Hussey and performed in The Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin. A later version of Testimonies was performed at the Dóchas Conference, and another at a Poetry Ireland / Trócaire event in the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, on 28th May.
Aoife Carew – Lata / Chorus
Eadaoin Barrett – Narrator 1 / Chorus / Modesta
Jerry Iwu – Narrator 2 / Chorus / Sahr
Caolán Dundon – Mathias / Chrous
Conor Burke – Tajdar / Chorus
Projections – Amy Anderson, Trócaire
Scripts developed by the cast and director based on Trocaire’s research. Advised and assisted by Amy Anderson, and the Dev Ed Team, Trócaire
This showcase was a collection of film and performances inspired by mental health issues. We had been exploring this theme in a number of media over the previous months, with funding from Electic Ireland's Electric Aid programme and from the HSE National Lottery Grant allocation.
The evning began with Promise, a two-minute film made by Design for Life for the Dept of Education & Skills about safer internet use, and performed by Kildare Youth Theatre actors.
This was followed by a one-person play performed by Caolán Dundon and directed by Peter Hussey. This piece is about a 15 year old who tries to cope with the loss of his mother by creating a hard, uncaring new identity for himself. The play shows us the personal impact of political decisions (such as cuts to community care and resources).
Then we staged To Pieces, a four-minute dance created by choreographer Cathy O’ Kennedy with our Kildare Young People’s Dance Company, looking at isolation and connection.
An early version of Aftermath was then presented. It was a short devised piece of theatre by first-time actors from our youth theatre (aged 14 – 16), created with Keith Millar and Marc Tuffy. This was a work-in-progress on the theme of peer pressure, and the power of herd mentality. It looks at the effect on a group of teenagers after they have taken part in a destructive incident.
The main part of the programme was our 2013 NT Connections play, We Lost Elijah by Ryan Craig, directed by Peter Hussey.
creative responses to youth mental health
26th and 27th February. The Moat Theatre, Naas
In We Lost Elijah, Grace seems to have it all. She is going out
with Malachi, the most charismatic boy in the school - a young entrepreneur whose talent has got him on the TV. But Grace
wants to make sure she keeps him. How can she make him
depend upon her more? How does she make herself
indispensable to him?
When she accidentally discovers that Malachi's brother, Elijah, is depressed and suicidal, she hits on a plan. It's risky, and very dangerous. It involves deception on a grand scale, media appearances, a benefit gig, and 10 days of captivity in a disused garden shed.
This is a brand new play exploring how one girl's Machievellian
plans spirals out of control. It looks at the issue of depression, showing how young people can fall into the trap of dramatising
and glamorising the least helpful ways of dealing with it.
'We Lost Elijah' is the 28th new play to be performed by KYT in
the Connections programme since 2003, making this young
company one of the most prolific producers of new writing for
young people in Ireland. It features a cast of young performers
from Newbridge, Naas, Kilcullen, The Curragh, Rathangan,
Kildare and Milltown.
CASTGrace - Eadaoin Barrett
Elijah - Caolán Dundon
Kara - Allie Whelan
Malachi - John Cleary
Becky Myers - Aoife Taylor
Hanna - Aoife Carew
Shana - Edel Kelly
Maxwell - Kyle Walsh
Titus - Jack Higgins
Priest - Jerry Iwu-Chikwe
Chrous - Katie O' Connor
Chorus - Elena Walsh
Lighting Design/rigging/operation - Keith Burke
Costume - Megan McSorley, Emma Lynch
Technical - Stage Lighting Workshop (Adrian Dempsey,
Ryan Dee, Karl Botfield, Conor Rowe, and Gary Monahan)
Graphic Design - Luciano Licciardello
Stage assistant - Jae Suen
Photography - Michael Donnelly
a film made by WATCH YOUR SPACE with KYT members
Made by Design For Life for the Safer Internet Ireland Awareness Centre, Professional Development Service for Teachers - Technology in Education (PDST)
This film features young performers from Kildare Youth Theatre filmed in January 2013 in The Lir, Dublin as part of a nationawide government initiative to help prevent cyberbullying.
The performers are:
For The PDST: Simon Grehan & Stephen Dunne
Dublin City University, Dublin 9.
Design For Life team:
DOP Eamon Nolan
Assistant Camera - Damien Dunne
Location Sound - Jon Kelly
Art Direction - Colm Ó Foghlú
Hair & Makeup - Emma Farrell
Production Assistant - Luke Page
Edited by Jon Kelly
Music by Kevin Murray
Produced by Design for Life
Written by Celine Kiernan
Directed by Simon Daniels