The production committee
Lockdown may restrict where we go, but it has not stopped Barnstorm Theatre Company and Barn Owl Players from producing their latest collaboration.
Following the success of last September’s virtual production, Zoom BOP: Confinement, Love in Lockdown takes virtual theatre to a new level.
The producers called on local writers to write short plays on the multifaceted theme of love in lockdown. The results far exceeded expectations and the producers received 20 submissions.
The submissions were selected by a team of panellists, Philip Hardy artistic director of Barnstorm Theatre Company, renowned playwright Maeve Ingoldsby, and professional critic and Barn Owl Player committee member Cara O’Doherty.
With so many excellent plays in the pot, Barnstorm and Barn Owls are delighted to present two productions, the first of which will debut online on March 18 at 730pm. The first outing, Love in Lockdown I will showcase work by the first five writers.
Rehearsed online but filmed live following Covid-19 protocols, the five plays are diverse, exciting and innovative - the five writers are as diverse as their work.
Rosey Hayes has written her second play, Legacy. She began her professional actor training in 2012, earning her BA Hons degree in 2016, before going on to study with David Scott and graduating from his Applied Art of Acting course in 2017.
Since then, Rosey has worked with various companies, including Barnstorm, Barn Owl Players, Devious, Dreamstuff and KATS. Following some encouragement from her peers in the Barn Owl Players, she recently discovered a love for writing. She had her first work produced as part of their Confinement Monologues programme in September 2020.
Legacy is directed by Ger Cody, who is synonymous with theatre in Kilkenny. Legacy stars Barn Owl Players stalwarts Jim Carroll and Mags Whitely.
“Legacy is an allegory of betrayal, shame and loss,” said Hayes. “It proposes the question; even if we can conceal our past from those around us, can we ever truly bury it from ourselves?”
Niall O’Riordan brings Flat White to Love in Lockdown. The play revolves around two young men who meet in a café.
“Matthew is still coming to terms with the breakup,” O’Riordan explains. “Peader wants to move on and leave their relationship where he believes it belongs, in the past.”
Of course, a breakup is never straightforward, and this former couple has a lot to discuss.
O’Riordan has acted in numerous productions in Kilkenny such as The Playboy of the Western World with Barnstorm and Dracula, A Clockwork Orange and The Elephant Man with Kats Theatre Group.
While studying at Maynooth University, he was active in both the Drama and Musical societies. He directed several productions, including his original play The Rarest Thing in the World and the 2017 full-scale musical Spring Awakening. He currently teaches English in Coláiste Pobail Osraí.
The play is directed by James Power, founder and Artistic Director of Stagemad Theatre Company, Waterford. Flat White stars Sean Hackett, a familiar face to Kilkenny audiences and Robert Holmes, a Kilkenny actor trained in London.
Former Kilkenny Youth Theatre member Anna Doyle has written To Be Adored. Doyle is a student of drama and English at NUI Galway. She enjoys absurdist and post-modern theatre and likes to write expressionistic pieces. Her plays have premiered around the world, from Galway to Manchester to New York City.
“To Be Adored sees two young women reunited,” she said, “proving that the time apart has changed them irrevocably.”
Directed by Rosey Hayes, To Be Adored stars Adrienne Walsh and Aisling McDonagh.
Denise Dowling is excited to present her first play, Undying. The Kilkenny native, who spent some time living in Barcelona before returning in 2018, is now studying for a MA in Creative Writing at DCU.
“When Alfie reunites with an old flame, he is forced to face some harsh truths,” she said of Undying. “His heart is being pulled in two directions, but will he be able to bury past hurts or will his obsession to find meaning in the madness continue to consume him?”
The play is directed by well-known actor John Prendergast and stars Kilkenny-based actors Paul McManus, president of Carlow Little Theatre Society, and Niamh Hennessy.
Eithne Reilly has been performing and writing for as long as she can remember. Eithne holds a Degree in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College Dublin and has also studied at Central School of Speech and Drama London and Maynooth University. She worked in Youth and Community Arts for many years and is also a qualified Adult Career Guidance Counsellor. She is primarily interested in writing about women and disability.
Reilly brings us Self-Improvement, a play that has more to it than meets the eye.
“Katie and Audrey reunite nearly 20 years after leaving school,” said Reilly. “Katie is preparing to get married. Has the wild child grown-up or in Covid times has she been restricted?”
Delia Lowrey wears many hats when it comes to theatre. She takes this director’s role for Self-Improvement, which stars Kilkenny native Caitriona Bambrick and Corkwoman Emer Peet who now lives in Kilkenny.
Love In Lockdown premieres at 7.30pm on March 18 - the producers, writers, cast and crew cannot wait for people to join them on the night. For updates and viewing details, check the Barn Owl Players and Barnstorm Theatre Company Facebook pages.