27 Jul 2020
Three new Tourism Ireland short films are celebrating the Abbey Theatre’s incredible Dear Ireland digital theatre project alongside actors’ insights into its creation.
Dear Ireland, which brings together the voices of 50 writers and 50 actors in a collection of ‘theatrical postcards’ from Ireland, has been thrilling audiences at home and around the world with its momentous series of monologues on contemporary Irish life.
Originally commissioned by Ireland’s national theatre as a rapid response to the coronavirus outbreak back in April, the project was an experimental first for both the Abbey Theatre and many of the artists and performers involved.
The 50 Dear Ireland writers nominated one actor to perform their piece, with their short monologue and playlets self-recorded at home in self-isolation.
Now Tourism Ireland has teamed up with three of the Dear Ireland actors to create short films that promote the project, celebrate Ireland’s wonderful theatre culture and share the artists’ insights into what they love most about island of Ireland.
The first video features Dublin-born author, activist and teacher, Sinéad Burke, who penned the play These Four Walls, performed by Irish actor Eleanor Walsh.
Sinéad discusses what it was like to write a play for the first time and shares her favourite destinations in Ireland, which include the wonderous 5,000-year-old Hill of Tara and Newgrange in County Meath, where she lives, and famous Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.
The film features inspiring imagery from famous landmarks and attractions around the island of Ireland, including the colourful, seaside town of Kinsale in County Cork, the Abbey Theatre and the Long Room, Trinity College Dublin.
The second film features actor Nicola Coughlan, best known for her role as Clare Devlin in the award-winning Channel 4 sitcom Derry Girls. Though she plays a Derry Girl, in reality Nicola is a Galway girl.
Nicola describes her home city as incredibly artistic and defines her adopted city of Derry~Londonderry, where there is a huge Derry Girls mural with her face on it, as friendly, vibrant and all about the people. Both cities feature in the film.
For Dear Ireland Nicola performed a piece called Your Hands by John O’Donovan, which explores the relationship between a couple in the midst of the pandemic.
A third video, which will be available in August, features Nicola’s co-star in Derry Girls Siobhan McSweeney, who plays one of the standout characters of the hit comedy, Sister Michael.
Despite the barriers faced by the Irish theatre makers in the pandemic, the choir of voices in Dear Ireland has made an immense contribution to Ireland’s national conversation and captured a unique moment in history.
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