Kate and Lucy Heary and Isa Phelan at Sister Act in the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny PICTURE: PAT MOORE
This month we celebrate the fact that the Watergate has been crafting theatre, nurturing talent, entertaining audiences and working hard to create beautiful memories for those on stage and off, for 25 years and we’d like to start celebrations with you by running a small competition. So, read on!
On the 4th April 1993 Mary Robinson officially opened the Watergate and relinquished it to the stewardship of the great Ger Cody who steered it capably through the waters of its ensuing 25-year journey.
To paraphrase the former President in her addresses concerning the arts she often linked creativity with community referring to how the arts hold a crucial place in community assembling otherwise disparate people in acts of co-operation, self-expression and solidarity.
She spoke of the arts as an element which should not be regarded as the cream on top of society; a dispensable extra. She advocated for the funding and support of the arts as one of the pillars which holds our communities aloft and together.
The Watergate is all about the people who go there and the people who work there. Gabby Maher, who has welcomed patrons and artists at the Watergate throughout these 25 years, recently reflected on the talent that he has been privy to and concluded that the person he was most impressed with as an actor and a person was Gabriel Byrne, a namesake as it happens!
It wasn’t an easy conclusion to reach because while Byrne was great it is the local work by the likes of Watergate Productions and the Kilkenny Musical Society that Maher enjoys most.
The Watergate is not just a place where people go to be entertained. It has been the home of rich cultural and artistic stories over the quarter century of its life. People often reflect on key life moments that took place there, ‘my parents met at a show in the Watergate!’ they might say or, ‘my daughter chose to pursue her love of theatre after a night in the Watergate.’
There is a value in reflecting on the history of this great place. Like a living thing it has moved with the community over the years. It has demanded of us to grow and change with it; it has challenged us to improve ourselves, question our standards and keep the artistic work that is performed there in line with the reputation of the wider community which is aligned with lofty standards in professional, amateur and musical theatre.
So, to celebrate this legacy which is inextricably linked with the people of Kilkenny we want to hear your stories. We’d like to hear about how the Watergate has played a part in your experience over all or part of the 25 Years of its life as a theatre. We want to hear your rich, funny, emotional and meaningful accounts because the past and present will inform the future of this great place.
The contributor of a memory which resonates most heartily, or which makes us laugh loudest will win two free tickets and two glasses of wine to a show of their choice in 2018.
Please send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
And remember, as Mary Robinson said, ‘Culture is not an abstract thing, it is a living, growing, evolving process and perhaps this is best seen at work in the arts.
Our question to you is: ‘What does the Watergate mean to you?’
Please send your answers to: email@example.com by 30 April 2018. We can’t wait to hear them!