Central Arts residency, a year in review....
Holy crap a year passes fast! It's been two months since I finished my residency at Central Arts, Waterford and I want to share with you some of my experiences of spending a year in such a wonderful place!
Ciara and John O'Connell are two innovators-after working together for a year in a very loose manner, they popped the question at Christmas 2015, and we decided that I would take up the residency in early March 2016. And so I did, I moved house, upped sticks and into a house share in Ferrybank. Previously I had been living on my own for two and a half years so it was a big change in every sense!
Let's start at the very beginning...
I was welcomed to Waterford, me and my little dog Charlie. We were welcomed and we were made to feel very at home.
I was Central Art's first artist in residence. I got a desk in an office with the lovely Dan McMahon, photographer and promoter for Central Arts. First intuition here was: this is good, this is very good-as within weeks Dan and I were hatching plans for crazy projects. Regular faces in my office were Dylan Lacey-who teched my first performance in Central Arts, a fantastic sound engineer, Bobby Winter-a super sound engineer, who also worked with me on my first show in Central, Heather Troy-Whelan-who has become my touring sound & light tech for Pulled-couldn't have asked for better than Heather, Laura Fitzpatrick- burlesque goddess, and Mick and Daisy O Connell, Ciara and John's two fabulous children. What an environment to be settling into-I was in love!
Many projects were developed during my year at Central Arts. Here's a run down...
Myself and Dan McMahon shot two Lady Lane videos, and had planned for a third but time ran out. Even though a year sounds long it's crazy how it flies when you're busy at work! Hopefully we'll get a chance to bring her back to life once more. Lady Lane brought with her a lot of criticisms-people didn't like me impersonating a homeless person in the midst of the homeless crisis, however this was exactly why I chose to crate a homeless character. I wanted to create an activist, with no fixed abode who used her rap skills to interpret people's own views and rap them back to them. I spent a few months with no address, I was lucky to have friends couches to sleep on. Not everyone is this lucky, and in creating my characters I often look to a time in my life and wonder what if the situation hadn't taken the upturn it did-what if things went down instead of up. Lady Lane is a character close to my heart. I adore her! (Obviously I am biased) She's a lot of fun to perform, and to be honest, I think it's fun to rub people up the wrong way sometimes.What's the fun always staying on the safe side of things? Her attempts at activism can be seen in her second video below. I hope you enjoy!
The best way to get away with being a sexist is by being a...... MAN that's right! So in order to do my highly contentious critique of all things GIRL I created mAndrew, a socially awkward sexually conflicted man who secretly is jealous of all things feminine.
I pencilled on a little 'tash, donned a collar and strutted on stage as mAndrew. The m is silent of course. mAndrew presented nights in Central Arts, peformed in Kilkenny and had his final performance at the Bill Hicks Tribute night in Dublin. Ironically I was the only woman on the "bill" (oh I just had to-forgive me!) and I was doing a male impersonation. I have put mAndrew to bed for now to concentrate on writing more stand up as my character from Pulled, back to the old moniker of "YER WAN". From a woman hater to an extreme woman-watch you're back, no one is safe!
The biggest project of the year, produced by Central Arts & Devious Theatre, my biggest work yet: a two hander comedy show featuring two girls, a bottle of vodka, and a mouldy bedsit. Pulled played Central Arts for a five night run and the Set Theatre for three nights where it was a total sell out success!
This year, Pulled will play Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August and in September take to the stage once more in Ireland-this time touring fourteen venues nationwide from the end of September until the middle of November.
I won't say much more about Pulled here, as the next post will more than likely be ALL about the show!
Wrapping up the residency
From November I have been working hard to get the Pulled tour up and going, and keeping it on track . I had notions of having time to write other shows but I think they'll have to wait until Amanda & Michelle dominate the world!
In March 2017 I packed my bag, presented my body of work to an audience of invited friends & staff of Central Arts. The showcase included: Lady Lane, mAndrew, a work in development "I was talking to your wife", other works in development "The Ladies" & "Shirley's dressing service", "Pulled" of course, and another work that I am tipping away on in secret, like a little miser with my words.
I packed up my lovely colourful office, my house in Skeard with my lovely Polish friends, and moved my butt to Brussels in the name of love, and in the name of theatre.
The year at Central Arts was an experience I will never forget. It was a game changer in terms of my theatrical career, it enabled me to make my best work yet, and gave me the kick I needed to stay in the theatre world, and work harder for my place in it.
Special thanks go first and foremost to Ciara & John O'Connell for the entire wonderful year!!!, the lovely Dan McMahon for putting up with me and my dog Charlie, Laura for being the best craic in the office ever!, Heather for being a shining light and a friend, Oliver Rohan for supporting my work and introducing me to some Waterford creatives I would not have met otherwise, to WELL festival for taking me on and giving me their trust, Conor Nolan for supporting my work with Waterford City Council, my lovely home dawgs at Devious Theatre-Ken McGuire, John Morton, & Kevin Mooney, and last but not least ManG & Michal for sharing their home with me.