Cultural Companions Pairings during lockdown creates new pieces and new friendships:
With 2020 keeping everyone locked down for extended periods, Hawk’s Well Theatre’s popular Cultural Companions initiative has come into its own, blossoming to bring together four artists with four older people to create four exciting new works.
Cultural Companions was an initiative set up in 2019 with the aim of providing increased opportunities for older people to engage with Sligo’s vibrant cultural and arts scene by setting up a network of people who would accompany each other to cultural events at the theatre.
With the 2020 pandemic closing the theatre for most of the year, and the fact that older people cocooned alone during lockdown, the Hawk’s Well was inspired to revisit the project, acutely aware that connecting with and supporting each other in new ways became more important than ever before in 2020.
Over August and September 2020, Hawk’s Well Theatre paired four artists with four older people who had been cocooning alone in Sligo. The artists and hosts got to know each other through a series of conversations, after which the artists wrote an original piece of work inspired by the host and their conversations together. These new pieces of work will be performed in the host’s own home to an invited audience in due course when such an interaction is allowable.
Cultural Companions – The Diary Entries documents the journey these four duos took together and publicly premieres the new works created in an online format. The streamed programme will premiere these new pieces of work and also includes interviews with the four pairings about the process involved and their experiences as well as their reactions to the new pieces written for them.
The Cultural Companions involved are local musician Kieran Quinn and Máire Dufficy; Traditional musician Mossie Martin and Maura Hever; Theatre Artist Seamus O’Rourke and Ann Murray, and well-known local musician Seamie O’Dowd and Patricia Feeney. Offering a unique perspective, this project is supported by The Community Foundation for Ireland and is part of the First Fortnight; Ireland’s Mental Health Arts & Culture Festival 2021.