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Artists Take Centre Stage at Hawk’s Well Theatre New Artist Residences Announced

Artists Take Centre Stage at Hawk’s Well Theatre New Artist Residences Announced
5 April, 2021

The arts, like so many industries has suffered hugely from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with venues, theatres, and performances spaces all shut to both the public, and performers for most of the last year. However creativity has continued, and the Hawk’s Well Theatre has been proud to support our artists during what has been the most challenging of times.

Hawk’s Well Theatre are delighted to announce the recipients of the ‘Time At The Well’ Artist residencies, funded by Arts Council Ireland, to Actor and Playwright, Miriam Needham & Poet and Producer Eithne Hand.

Manorhamilton’s Miriam Needham is a Lecoq-trained actor, theatre-maker and voice-over artist. In 2021 Miriam will bring her new theatre production ‘Snapshot’ to fruition. Snapshot is a play set in the early days of the first lockdown, and is inspired by interviews with locals about their experience of that time, piecing together memories, thoughts, feelings, and stories to make a local record of a global event.

On her Hawk’s Well Theatre Residency award Miriam says “I am delighted to continue working with the Hawk's Well Theatre. I'm so glad to have the opportunity to present 'Snapshot' to the public this year, as well as working on other projects. This residency provides me with structure, stability, and support - three things that are invaluable to any artist. I am grateful to the Hawk's Well Theatre and to the Arts Council for making this happen, and excited about the possibilities it unfolds.”

Poet & Producer Eithne Hand has also been awarded a Hawk’s Well Theatre Residency. She will write and produce a project for the Hawk’s Well during her residency called ARE WE THERE YET ! – the new N4 approach road to Sligo.

July 2021 is the proposed date for the completion of the N4 from Castlebaldwin to Collooney bringing with it 14k of motorway and linking Sligo to the rest of the country in a whole new way. Running through the townlands of Mullaghnabreena, Ardcurley, Cloonamahan, Doorly, Carrowkeel, Kingsbrook, Toberbride, Carrownagark and Tawnagh – the new N4 will also cross two rivers – the Turnalaydan and Drumfin. All of these townlands are rich with traditions and folklore stretching back centuries. Led by writer Eithne Hand, an Artist, a Musician, a Folklorist and a Cartographer will walk this new road before the traffic arrives. The project will be to make a response to the landscape and stories of this new area so that when the road opens, there will already be an artistic record of this novel approach to Sligo. A new welcome to both locals and visitors to the North West. The resulting artistic work will be a mix of Installation, Online and Community based art, all co ordinated by the Hawk’s Well Theatre.

Speaking about this new residency award, Eithne says “From a narrow road with white crosses marking accident spots to a brand new dual carriageway sweeping towards one of the most picturesque views on the island – this N4 extension is something I really feel should not go undocumented. It would be the easiest thing to just rush along the new road, saying ‘are we there yet, are we there yet’ but I’d like to consider where this new road brings all of us. From the megalithic tombs of Carrowkeel to the stunning Gothic Revival church spire of Collooney – the new stretch deserves the attention of not just the engineers and the men and women who have worked on building the road all through Covid, but also the attention of the arts community. I’m so grateful to the Hawk’s Well Theatre and the Arts Council for making this project possible. As a team, we will all discover stories and make new music and art relevant to this landscape - and we will share our responses with the people of Sligo.”

The Hawk’s Well Theatre is supporting five artist residences in 2021. These residencies allow artists to focus on developing new works, or continue working on and developing projects further.

Niamh McGrath was awarded a residency to work on her ‘Bubble ’theatre show. Singer Cathy Jordan is developing her ‘Songs from Sligo’ project. Progress has already been shared on the Hawk’s Well Facebook page, and Cathy hopes to share the finished work with a live performance on the Hawk’s Well stage at some point in the future.

Roscommon Musician John Carty meanwhile, has been working on a new album during his residency. Says John; “I am thrilled to have received this residency. I have long had ambitions to explore the combination of the banjo with uilleann pipes, and this will afford me time and space to explore this partnership with accomplished piper, Mike McGoldrick; researching, reflecting and composing.”

The Hawk’s Well Theatre Artist residency programme ‘Time At The Well’ has been running successfully for several years. The pandemic has brought the programme to the fore and with the support of The Arts Council the theatre has been able to expand this programme in 2021. As well as providing financial support, the theatre has utilized its space, online presence, and team to get behind artists and keep theatre, music, and more alive during the year of the pandemic. Residencies are just one example of how the Hawk’s Well has supported the local arts scene during the pandemic. The theatre has fully embraced digital streaming to bring a host of events into the home throughout the year. To date sixty six artists have been commissioned by the Hawk’s Well Theatre to create short online shows for the public to enjoy for free.

Praising the Hawk’s Well, for their work and dedication during the pandemic, Niamh McGrath concluded; “Personally I wouldn't be writing a show or putting together sketches right now without their support - it's definitely given me the confidence to try new mediums and if the audience can't come to the theatre to be entertained of an evening, then we shall bring the entertainment to you”.

As the theatre heads towards its 40th birthday in 2022, the Hawk’s Well Theatre will continue on its mission as a theatre for the people, shaping the cultural landscape in Sligo and beyond, through extraordinary artistic experiences in a space for all.

Hawk’s Well Theatre is funded by the Arts Council, the Department of Social Protection and Sligo County Council and we gratefully acknowledge their support. To read more about artist residencies and current events please click here.

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