Come Together - The Isolation Collective: Sligo’s theatre and music artists respond: 10 theatre artists – 10 composers - 10 new pieces of work. This exciting project came together firing the creative minds of a selection of local artists during the lockdown on 2020.
One of the things we love most about our incredible cultural community in Sligo is our artists’ love of coming together to make work. Creativity has always been a key part of Irish life and in during the lockdown we experienced so much joy from our artists sharing their creativity online. In these uncertain times, connecting with and supporting each other in new ways became more important than ever before. Our connections online have come more and more to the fore, and we wanted to embrace that while supporting our treasured artists at this difficult time.
Artists are resilient, resourceful and perfectly placed to respond and reflect on the world we find ourselves in right now, and so we invited a selection of local theatre artists to come together with local musicians of their choice and create new work collaboratively.
Details of all these exciting collaborations, along with the fruits of their labour can be viewed below.
Donal O'Kelly & Claudia Schwab
Our final collaboration 'Bulawayo' premiered on Fri 5 June at 8pm on Facebook Live. This piece is written by Donal O'Kelly with music by Claudia Schwab.
Writer and actor Donal O’Kelly’s solo shows include Edinburgh Fringe First winners Catalpa and Fionnuala, as well as Bat The Father Rabbit The Son, Jimmy Joyced! and Hairy Jaysus. He wrote The Cambria about Frederick Douglass’s 1845 voyage to Ireland as a refugee from US slavery, and Jimmy Gralton’s Dancehall inspired the Ken Loach film Jimmy’s Hall. Other plays include The Dogs, Asylum! Asylum!, Vive La, The Adventures Of The Wet Señor and The Memory Stick. The cd Running Beast about Hugh O’Neill Earl of Tyrone with music by Michael Holohan was released in 2018. Little Thing Big Thing produced by Fishamble played Edinburgh, New York and Adelaide and had award-winning productions in US and Canada. He wrote and directed the musicdrama series Francisco that won the Prix Europa for Radio Fiction and Gold Medal at the New York Radio Awards.He was elected to and resigned from Aosdána.
Sligo- based Austrian violinist/singer/yodeller and composer Claudia Schwab has performed on numerous recordings and collaborated with a range of cross-genre artists both established and emerging. She has published two CD's of original work in 2014 (“Amber Sands”) and 2017 (“Attic Mornings”), which received a variety of reviews by magazines such as FATEA (“pretty much unforgettable”), Folkworld (“she makes Yodel music modern and happening”), Songlines and Roots (“crazy and yet strangely attractive”).More recently she has been commissioned to write for the NCH- Sounding the Feminists Commissioning Scheme 2019 and has been awarded a Next Generation Bursary Award from the Irish Arts Council (2019), the Neuer Deutscher Jazzpreis 2019 with the Band “Shreefpunk + Strings” and a Hubert Von Goisern Förderpreis (2020). Claudia currently performs with jazz trumpetist Matthias Schriefl, the Claudia Schwab Quartet, accordionist/clog dancer and singer Hannah James, Cathy Jordan & Irene Buckley, the Kate in the Kettle Quintet, The Craic Addicts, and the Irish Gamelan Orchestra.
Sorcha Fox & Seamie O'Dowd
Our ninth performance, 'Ireland March 2020' premiered on Fri 29 May at 8pm on Facebook Live. This piece is written by Sorcha Fox with music by Seamie O'Dowd.
Sorcha is a poet, actor and writer. She was Artist in Residence in The Dock in Carrick on Shannon and The Glens Centre, Manorhamilton. She is currently working on a nine-month theatre project called Amplify with women in addiction recovery in Ashleigh House, Dublin in collaboration with Draíocht, Create and Arts Council Ireland. She wrote her first Spoken Word play; 2 Squirrels for Rachel as part of the Home Theatre Ireland project in Draíocht, Dublin 2018 and in 2019 wrote a play with Draíocht Youth Theatre called Trust. She is an organizer of PalFest Ireland, an arts festival in support of Palestine. Sorcha has twice been the recipient of an Irish Arts Council Bursary Award and the UNESCO New Work Award for her performance poetry. She recently performed a monologue by Rosaleen McDonagh as part of the #DearIreland series commissioned by The Abbey Theatre and is a recipient of a short artist residency at the Hawk's Well for 2020.
One of Ireland's finest, Seamie O'Dowd's musical career has seen him progress through the ranks of the Sligo traditional Irish, blues, folk and rock scenes to being an extensively travelled, experienced and much sought after musician, singer and producer. He has played with Mairtin O'Connor, Cathal Hayden, Jimmy Higgins, Dervish, The Unwanted, Tommy Emmanuel, Kieran Quinn, Christy Moore and Liam O'Flynn, to name but a few. Seamie is a frequent performer at the Hawk's Well Theatre and has recently been involved in setting up the Sligo Musicians Online Community where Sligo's musical community has consolidated itself to address the current Covid-19 crisis in a very special way by keeping us all musically connected.
Brian Leyden & Eddie Lee
Our eighth performance, 'Freewheeling Sligo and all that Jazz' premiered on Sat 23 May at 8pm. This piece is written by Brian Leyden with music by Eddie Lee.
Brian Leyden was Ireland’s Age & Opportunity Bealtaine Festival National Writer in Residence (2016) and was accompanied by Seamie O'Dowd on a reading tour of Ireland with Old Flames. He co-wrote the feature film, Black Ice (2013) which received an IFTA best actress nomination for its lead. Awards include the Norman Mailer Writers Colony Scholarship (USA), a Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, (BAI) Sound and Vision Award (2014), and most recently an Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon Covid-19 Response Award (2020). His work has appeared in Winter Papers (Vol. II) ed. Kevin Barry and Olivia Smith, and he is a regular contributor to RTÉ's Sunday Miscellany. Current publications are Sweet Old World: New & Selected Stories, a memoir The Home Place and the novel Summer of ’63. Bernard MacLaverty described his stories as “Life remembered with precision and love”.
Eddie Lee is a bassist, composer producer, event organiser and photographer based in Sligo, Ireland. With over three decades experience in the music industry, Eddie has performed on many well known recordings from Enya to Those Nervous Animals and performed and/or toured with some household names including Stocktons Wing, Frances Black and Dolores Keane. Eddie is Artistic Director of Sligo Jazz Project which hosts Ireland’s most unique jazz festival and summer school each July. In 2013 Eddie received an Arts Council commission to co-compose a site of music with Northern Irish composer David Lyttle. The Barinthus Suite,inspired by sligo’s neolithic landscape, premiered in the Hawks Well Theatre Sligo with a stellar cast of guest musicians including pianist Kenny Werner, members of Moxie and saxophonist Jean Toussaint. Eddie, a founder member of Sligo based world music band NoCrows, is the only guest musician on Enya’s Grammy nominated album “Dark Sky Island” and in 2013 was a member of Ennio Morricone’s choir for his Irish concerts
Miriam Needham & Stephanie Pawula.
Our seventh performance premiered on Friday 22nd May at 8pm. This untitled piece is written by Miriam Needham with music by Stephanie Pawula.
Miriam Needham is a Lecoq-trained actor, theatre-maker and voice-over artist. Miriam had a short residency at the Hawk's Well last year where she wrote her one woman play Compostela which went on to be performed at Dublin Fringe Festival. She also performed in our production 'The Big Wall' in 2016 at Sligo Courthouse and Sligo Gaol and has performed with the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company in a number of productions such as Alice in Wonderland and the Schooldays of Thaddeus K.
Stephanie Pawula is a French percussionist and music facilitator. Stephanie’s music style varies from Folk, Indie, Brazilian, African and Cuban. A session musician, Stephanie has recorded with several bands. Her current band The Hunter, are working on their second album and are featured in the short film “Ebb and Flow” by the Wild Atlantic Women Collective. For the past two years she is part of Resonance Project working with Echo Echo Dance Company from Derry exploring the connection between improvised music and contemporary dance.
Cuaran McCauley & Steve Wickham
Our sixth performance, 'It is What It Is' premiered on Saturday 16th May at 8pm. This piece is written by Ciaran McCauley with music by Steve Wickham.
Ciaran has been active in the Sligo theatre scene for 35 years ranging from productions with Sligo Drama Circle and Coolera Dramatic Society to being a founder member of the Blue Raincoat Theatre company. Ciaran holds an MA in Drama and Performance from University College Dublin. He delivers the Physical Theatre Module to the students of the Performing Arts BA, in Sligo Institute of Technology. Ciaran has experience as a Theatre Director working on productions with Blue Raincoat Theatre Co., Tubbercurry Youth Drama Group and the Ad Astra Students in UCD..He is an accredited member of the Association of Drama Adjudicators and has been the adjudicator for a number of Drama Festivals. Ciaran was a short residency artist at the theatre in 2019 where he wrote and presented a piece on Flann O’Brien.
Steve Wickham’s musical career spans over three decades right back to his early 80’s debut as fiddler with U2 playing on Sunday Bloody Sunday and touring with the Irish Rockers. Steve was a founder member of 80s Irish band InTuaNua, signed to the legendary Island records. As a session violinist Wickham has recorded with Elvis Costello and Sinead O’Connor and many others as well as guesting live with REM, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith etc. Steve Wickham is best known as the fiddler with The Waterboys and among Sligo residents as one of the group, NoCrows. We were delighted to present a celebration night celebrating Steve Wickham and friends in November 2016.
Niamh McGrath & Dave Flynn
Our fifth performance, 'Saving the Nation' premiered on Friday 15th May at 8pm. This piece is written by Niamh McGrath with music by Dave Flynn.
Niamh McGrath hails from Sligo. Her extensive theatre credits include The Marriage of Figaro at The Abbey Theatre, The BFG in the Civic Theatre, One Sandwich Short of a Genius with Big Telly Theatre Company and Far Away From Me, written and directed by Amy Conroy at The Ark. Niamh was an original cast member of Alone it Stands, notching up five hundred shows over a three year national and international tour. Hawk’s Well audiences may know her from her part in The Far Off Hills for Nomad directed by Mikel Murfi and her recent play Looking Deadly, which she both co-wrote and performed with Keith Singleton.
Dave Flynn is a musician, performer and music teacher from Wexford who has been living in Sligo since 2011. Dave is heavily involved in the local music scene. He was a member of Anything Goes and regularly performs on the Hawk’s Well stage. Dave is also a choir director, having begun with the Hawk’s Well Theatre’s much-loved Sligo Sings programme in 2015, where he worked with the Sligo County Council Choir (now known as Heart’s Desire, who he still conducts). He went on to work again with the Hawk’s Well on pop-up choir events Sing For The Hell Of It. From there he was asked to participate in David Brophy’s hugely popular three-part 2017 RTE series The Choir Of Ages, with whom he still works.
Nichola MacEvilly & John Joe Kelly
Our fourth performance, One Still City, premiered on Saturday 9th May at 8pm on facebook. This piece is written and performed by Nichola MacEvilly with musician John Joe Kelly.
Nichola MacEvilly is from Sligo and recently performed as Constance in our production at Lissadell Church in December 2019. Nichola has a BA in Acting from Rose Bruford College and an MA from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Nichola has performed in The Odd Couple at the Everyman Cork, in The 24 Hour Plays and The Wake at the Abbey Theatre and in various productions with Blue Raincoat Theatre Company. She is a regular perfomer on the Hawk's Well stage as an actor and singer.
John Joe Kelly is one of the most sought-after bodhrán players on the folk music scene today. A member of Flook and Mike McGoldrick bands among others, John Joe’s playing has become legendary throughout the traditional scene and he is constantly expanding the boundaries of what beats and sounds you can get from one simple drum. He has been involved in many world music collaborative projects with musicians varying from Tim O’Brien, Kate Rusby and Dan Tyminski to Zakir Hussain. John Joe regularly performs on the Hawk's Well stage and has been teaching bodhrán workshops at the theatre over the last few years.
Bob Kelly & Niamh Crowley
Our third performance premiered on Friday 8th May at 8pm on facebook. This untitled piece is written and performed by Bob Kelly who collaborated with musician Niamh Crowley.
Bob was Artist in Residence at the Hawk's Well from 2016 - 2018. During his residency Bob worked on many pieces of writing and developed, wrote and directed 'The Big Wall' at Sligo Courthouse and Sligo Gaol which we produced to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising. During this time he also taught many of our adult acting courses and developed 'Tintown' which was staged by Blue Raincoat in May 2019. Bob trained as an actor at the prestigious graduate of Ecole de Jacques Lecoq in Paris and has performed in many productions including 'Once:The Musical' and 'An Baile's Strand' and 'The Poor Mouth' (Blue Raincoat). Bob has most recently written Breakfast on Pluto for Landmark Productions which was due to be performed at Galway International Arts Festival this year.
Niamh Crowley is one of the most loved and respected musicians in Sligo. Performing since the tender age of four, she is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for her exceptional musicianship. A longstanding member of Camerata Ireland and the West Ocean String Quartet, Niamh’s music has brought her all over the world. As well as a busy freelance career performing with the likes of Michael Bublé, Andrea Bocelli and José Carerras, Niamh also runs The Sligo Academy of Music, conducts The County Sligo Golf Club Male Voice Choir and has worked as musical director for productions locally for many years. Niamh is a regular performer on the Hawk's Well stage.
Margaret Kilcoyne & Keith Mannion
Our second performance, 'Hibernation' premiered on facebook on Friday 17 April at 8pm. This piece is written and performed by Margaret Kilcoyne who collaborated with musician Keith Mannion.
Margaret is a Sligo born actor from Tubbercurry who has recently been teaching our 'Acting for Adults' course. She also performed in our production 'The Big Wall' in 2016 at Sligo Courthouse and Sligo Gaol. Margaret has an MA in Acting from East 15 drama school and has worked with immersive theatre groups such as Punchdrunk in London.
Margaret chose to collaborate with producer/musician Keith Mannion who has Sligo roots. Both parents are originally from there and he was brought up between South Donegal and Sligo. He has released a series of EPs and three critically acclaimed albums - debut ‘There go the Lights Again’ (2012) ‘Romola' (2015) and 'When I See You... Ice Cream!' (2017).
Killian Filan & Luke Devaney
Our first short piece, 'After' premiered on facebook on Friday 10th April at 8pm. This piece is written and performed by Killian Filan who collaborated with musician Luke Devaney.
Killian Filan is an actor, originally from Sligo but now based in Dublin. A graduate of D.I.T Conservatory of Music and Drama, Killian was due to perform at the Hawk's Well in May in ‘The Tide’ with Whirligig Theatre Company/The New Theatre. Killian grew up on the Hawk's Well stage performing in productions with Sligo Fun Company and as a competitor in Feis Ceoil and Feis Shligigh. Killian has most recently been filming the role of Jack in BBC/Hulu series ‘Normal People’, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Mc Donald. It is set for release this April in the UK and U.S and will be on RTE later this year.
Luke is a music producer and multi-instrumentalist from Grange in north Co. Sligo. He has performed at the theatre many times in musicals with Sligo Fun Company; at Kieran Quinn Theme Nights and at our Sligo Pops concerts. Luke and Killian performed together on stage many times in musicals and as competitors in local Feiseanna. Luke established The Blue Room Recording Studio in 2016, expanding in 2019 thanks to support from Sligo’s vibrant music scene.