Kilkenny Youth Theatre creates a hellish Downton Abbey

Kilkenny Youth Theatre would like to tell you a story, a story of family responsibility and tradition versus personal freedom and choice, a story about a very different place: Gormenghast.

Kilkenny Youth Theatre would like to tell you a story, a story of family responsibility and tradition versus personal freedom and choice, a story about a very different place: Gormenghast.

Where age-old rituals and traditions govern the lives of every person, where nothing has changed for thousands of years. In this forbidding landscape the old order is being confronted by two young men – Steerpike, the renegade kitchen boy who murders and seduces his way up the social ladder; and Titus, the seventy-seventh Earl, a child who comes to embody the change that threatens the very existence of his home – Gormenghast.

Based on the legendary trilogy of books by Mervyn Peake, John Constable’s stage adaptation is not what you would usually expect from a group of teenagers. But as Kilkenny Youth Theatre has proved previously in productions like ‘Burying Your Brother in the Pavement’ and ‘A Vampire Story’, they are not afraid to be a bit different to everyone else. After their most recent production ‘Paving Paradise’ in May 2011, they have chosen to tread a very different path with Gormenghast.

Eleanor Walsh, aged 16 from Bennettsbridge, plays the Countess of Groan. ‘She’s the mother of Titus, the heir of Gormenghast, but it seems like she loves her cats and birds more than her family. She talks to animals as if they were people, and people as if they were animals! Playing someone like that is really fun, as their motivations are not laid out for you in the script, and you get to make up your own mind.’

Anna Galligan, Barnstorm’s Outreach Officer and Director of the play says, ‘It has been a blast working on this production and I am sure that that will show itself on the stage. The members of KYT have worked really hard but seem also to have had an enjoyable journey dealing with such a dark and humorous play.’

Gormenghast features a cast of 16 young people from Kilkenny city and county who vividly bring to life a world of murder, seduction, rebellion and gore, and is directed by Anna Galligan. Gormenghast contains some mild language, and is suitable for anyone who likes black humour, the macabre, blood and owls.

Gormenghast is running from April at 19-21 (Thursday to Saturday) at 8pm, with a matinee on April 21 at 3pm, at The Barn, Church Lane, Kilkenny (behind St. Canice’s Cathedral). Tickets are €10/€8 concession and can be booked at 056 7751266 or by emailing anna@barnstorm.ie.

This press release was written by Eleanor Walsh, a sixteen year old member of Kilkenny Youth Theatre who takes the role of ‘Countess’ in Gormenghast.