THESE ROOMS received unanimous critical acclaim when it was first presented in dilapidated Dublin building two years ago, as part of the centenary marking the Easter Rising. An intense, immersive blend of theatre, dance and visual art, it took as its starting point the testimonies of the 38 female witnesses to Dublin’s North King Street Massacre in April 1916 – when 15 civilian men were killed in house-to-house raids by British soldiers.
In this reimagined version co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, THESE ROOMS shares its focus between the civilians of North King Street and the men of the South Staffordshire Regiment who committed the massacre – their identities largely anonymous, their actions controversially exonerated at a military enquiry. Created by two of Ireland’s most original companies, this fearless and embodied physical performance will shed new light on a long-forgotten but pivotal moment in British-Irish relations.
This production of THESE ROOMS is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, LIFT and Shoreditch Town Hall. Supported by Culture Ireland as part of GB18: Promoting Irish Arts in Britain. It began as an Open Call National Project in ART: 2016: The Arts Council of Ireland’s programme as part of Ireland 2016.
THESE ROOMS (2016 Production)
★★★★★ “…thrillingly immersive… intricately detailed and stimulating co-production – a haunting experience… heightens the skills of both companies, bringing unresolved history back to life”
Peter Crawley, IRISH TIMES
★★★★★ “spellbinding…truly transformative”
SUNDAY BUSINESS POST
★★★★ “…one of the stand out shows of this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival… superb… multilayered response to the 1916 Easter Rising… fusion of dance and drama to exquisite and eloquent effect… Brilliantly evokes the way grief lingers in the body and that gets you to feel, rather than think, how commemoration can be complex”
Sarah Hemming, FINANCIAL TIMES
THE ARTS REVIEW
Lyn Gardner, THE GUARDIAN
Cast: Justine Cooper, Damian Gildea, Úna Kavanagh, Niamh McCann, Jonathan Mitchell, Robbie O’Connor, Emma O’Kane, Matthew Williamson
Direction: David Bolger and Louise Lowe
Art Installation/Set Design: Owen Boss
Lighting Design: Ciaran Bagnall
Costume Design: Niamh Lunny
Sound Design: Denis Clohessy and Carl Kennedy
Hair and Make-up Design: Lucy Browne and Chloe Bourke
Producers: Lynnette Moran, Matthew Smyth and Bridget Webster
Stage Manager: Barbara Hughes
Assistant Stage Manager/Design Assistant: Dylan Farrell
Production Manager: Adam Fitzsimons
Assistant Production Manager: Cat Compson
Venue Production Manager: Nick Mumford and Alex Hicks
Wardrobe/Costume Supervisor: Jessica Hughes
Set Construction: Ian Thompson
Scenic Artists: Ciara Cramer and Holly Cameron
Vocal Coach: Jamie Matthewman
Company Class Teacher (Dublin): Laura Macken
Transport: Trevor Price and Oddie Sherwin
Photography (London): Hugo Glendinning
Video Editor: Kilian Waters
Publicist: Conleth Teevan
Production Assistant: Derbhla Connaughton
Company Manager: Jonathan Pearson
General Manager, CoisCéim: Sarah Latty
Producer for 14-18NOW: Emma Dunton
Producer for LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre): Jon Davis
Producer for Shoreditch Town Hall: James Pidgeon
Originally from New Zealand, Justine has been based in Ireland as a freelance dance artist, teacher and choreographer since 2008. Most recently working with CoisCéim Dance Theatre (BODY LANGUAGE, RHA Gallery 2017, AGNES, DANCE TALKING); United Fall (GIRL SONG, Dublin Theatre Festival 2017, TUNDRA, DOGS, LISTOWEL SYNDROME); Maria Nilsson Waller (MERRY.GO.ROUND, Dublin Dance Festival 2016); AN
U / CoisCéim Dance Theatre (THESE ROOMS, Dublin Theatre Festival 2016); Liz Roche Company (WRONGHEADED, BASTARD AMBER, BODY AND FORGETTING, FAST PORTRAITS, SECONDARY SOURCES); Junk Ensemble (DUSK AHEAD, BIRD WITH BOY, SOMETIMES WE BREAK); Louise White (WAY BACK HOME); Liv O’Donoghue (PROMPTED BREATHLESS, THE WAY WE MET); and Meryl Tankard Australian Dance Theatre (1998-2000). Justine’s own work FOLDS OF THE CRANE was part of Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival 2015, Dublin Dance Festival 2016 and What’s Next Festival, Limerick 2018.
Damian is a 2017 graduate of The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Dublin. His recent credits include F.A.T.D.A.D in The Complex directed by Vanessa Fielding, JUDGING SHAW in The Royal Irish Academy with ANU Productions, and END OF directed by Conor Hanratty as part of Dublin Fringe Festival. During his time at The Lir he worked on productions such as ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE and MOJO by Jez Butterworth. Previously he studied Mathematics at Trinity College, but soon logically worked out that acting was the much safer career path to pursue for sustainable income and happiness, Q.E.D.
Úna Kavanagh has a B.A. & M.A. from the National College Of Art & Design, Ireland. She has worked extensively across disciplines for over 25 years in her native Ireland, UK, America, France and the Middle East. Úna is a figurative artist whose work includes sculpture, text, painting, drawing, performance, film, installation, animation, script writing and Live Art durational performances. Her practice extends to work in theatre, film, television and radio. Úna has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions for the last 20 years. Her work is held in private collections across the world. She is an award- winning actress and has received International nominations for her work, most notably alongside Julie Walters and Isabella Adjani for Outstanding Actress in Film at The Golden Nymph Awards, Monaco 2009. Úna has been a company member with multi-award winning ANU Productions since 2010, collaborating on 3 Performance art works, 12 LiveArt Theatre-works & Film.
Niamh trained as an actor at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London (2003-06). She began her career at the prestigious Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, returning for several seasons thereafter, and has worked consistently with some of the leading theatre companies in the U.K and Ireland including the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Lyceum Edinburgh, Gate Theatre Dublin, Rough Magic, The Abbey Theatre and ANU Productions’ LAUNDRY (2011); ANGEL MEADOW (2014); SUNDER (2016); ON CORPORATION STREET (2016); THESE ROOMS (2016); and THE SIN EATERS (2017). Niamh collaborates across disciplines and has been part of a number of significant works with prestigious international artists.Television credits include THE CLINIC (RTÉ); HOLBY CITY (BBC); RIVER CITY (BBC); and LITTLE ROY (CBBC). Film credits include John Crowley’s Bafta and Oscar nominated BROOKLYN; and THE CURED Directed by David Freyne which was recently premiered at TIFF and Audi Dublin Film Festival.
Jonathan graduated from the Rambert School, London in 1992. Since then he has been fortunate to work with a host of choreographers and companies, performing on four continents and in both hemispheres, all the while indulging in his other passions of writing and photography. He has performed with CoisCéim Dance Theatre since 2000, including RITE OF SPRING, WHEN ONCE IS NEVER ENOUGH, MERMAIDS, PAGEANT, AGNES, THE WOLF AND PETER, BODY LANGUAGE and ANU/CoisCéim’s THESE ROOMS, (Dublin Theatre Festival 2016).
Robbie graduated with B.A (Hons) Degree from The Lir Academy, Trinity College Dublin in 2015. His theatre credits include THE LOST O’CASEY (Abbey Theatre / ANU); THE RED SHOES (Gate Theatre); HENTOWN, ZERO HOUR, PALS, BOYS OF FOLEY STREET, LAUNDRY, WORLD’S END LANE, BASIN & DOWN THE VALLEY (ANU); NORTHERN STAR (Rough Magic / UK tour); REBEL REBEL (Fringe / Show in a Bag); HAMLET (Second Age); END OF THE ROAD (Fishamble) and ALL THAT FALL (Pan Pan). TV & Film credits include TINDERFACE; (The Lir); ALL IS BY MY SIDE (Watchtower Productions); LEISURE CENTRE (Desperate Optimists); HIDDEN (BBC) and FAIR CITY (RTÉ).
Emma is a freelance dance artist and choreographer. She trained at the Perm State Choreographic Academy, Russia. Emma has been a member of CoisCéim Dance Theatre since 2001 and recently performed BODY LANGUAGE at the RHA and toured Australia with THE WOLF AND PETER. Dance Europe voted Emma Outstanding Dancer Of The Year for her performance in CoisCéim’s production of FAUN. She is a regular collaborator with ANU Productions and recently worked on THE SIN EATERS, Dublin Theatre Festival. Other performance/ choreographic credits include The Abbey Theatre, Fishamble, Prime Cut Productions. She has an MA in Dance from the University of Limerick.
Matthew is a dancer and choreographer from Dublin with over 14 years’ experience in performance and competitive dance. He has worked with ANU and CoisCéim Dance Theatre on THESE ROOMS for ART:2016 in the Dublin Theatre Festival 2016 and with CoisCéim has toured extensively, from Sligo to the Sydney Opera House, in THE WOLF AND PETER by David Bolger. Matthew’s speciality is acrobatic, musical and energetic Hip-Hop (Breakdance). He has over ten championship titles under his belt and has showcased his skills in front of some of the biggest companies in the world; in 2014 he received a life time achievement award for outstanding contribution to Irish Hip-Hop dance. He is also a member of dance group Raw Edge Crew who have performed and competed as Irish representatives in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, the UK and Germany. Raw Edge featured on Sky One’s GOT TO DANCE where they reached the live semi finals. Matthew has featured on a number of television shows/adverts and most recently on PENNY DREADFUL as a dancer/movement artist.
Ciaran trained at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Recent work includes set and lighting design for THE MAN WHO FELL TO PIECES; HARD TO BE SOFT (The MAC, Belfast); THE GREAT GATSBY (Gate Theatre, Dublin – Winner Best Design The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards); RED (Lyric Theatre, Belfast – Winner Best Design The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards); THE TRAIN; OBSERVE THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME (Abbey Theatre, Dublin); ASHES; EDUCATING RITA; TWO; TWO 2; A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE; LOVE STORY; TWELFTH NIGHT; PIAF; OF MICE AND ME; TULL; THE GLASS MENAGERIE; HABEAS CORPUS; SECRET THOUGHTS; OLEANNA (Octagon Theatre, Bolton); A CHRISTMAS TREASURE ISLAND; SLEEPING BEAUTY; CINDERELLA (Hull Truck); MACBETH (Shakespeare’s Globe, London); SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (UK Tour); OTHELLO (RSC, Stratford upon Avon); LALLY THE SCUT; THE GOD OF CARNAGE; VILLA; DISCURSO; TEJAS VERDES (MAC, Belfast); CONQUEST OF HAPPINESS (Olympic Stadium, Sarajevo); SHOOT THE CROW (Opera House, Belfast); SNOOKERED (Bush Theatre, London); THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE (Arts Theatre, London); A SLIGHT ACHE AND LANDSCAPE (Lyttelton Theatre, National Theatre London).
Niamh designs costumes, sets and visual art. She has worked for ANU Productions, CoisCéim Dance Theatre, The Abbey Theatre, Peacock Theatre, The Performance Corporation, Rough Magic, Fishamble, The Ark and NAYD to name a few. She has also worked collaboratively and independently on a diverse range of commissions from events to merchandise. Niamh is a graduate of Limerick College of Art and Design.
Denis has worked with many Irish dance and theatre companies including The Abbey Theatre, The Gate Theatre, Rough Magic, Fishamble, Junk Ensemble, Fabulous Beast and Corn Exchange. He won The Irish Times Irish Theatre Award for Best Design Sound in 2011 for Rough Magic’s SODOME, MY LOVE; he was a nominee in 2015 (for Junk Ensemble and Brokentalkers IT FOLDS); an associate artist with The Abbey Theatre in 2008 and was a participant on Rough Magic’s ADVANCE programme in 2012. Last year Pat Kinevane’s play SILENT (Fishamble) won an Olivier Award for which Denis composed the music. His work in film and television includes music for the feature films OLDER THAN IRELAND (Snackbox Films); THE IRISH PUB (Atom Films); HIS AND HERS (Venom Films); THE LAND OF THE ENLIGHTENED (Savage Productions); IN VIEW (Underground Cinema); THE RELUCTANT REVOLUTIONARY (Underground Films); and the television series LIMITS OF LIBERTY (South Wind Blows) performed by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
The Battle for North King Street, 28 to 29th April 1916.
Throughout the 20th Century wars killed more civilians than soldiers as the impact of machine guns, artillery and aerial bombardment levelled whole cities. The 1916 Rising in Dublin is no different and 54% of the 500 deaths were civilians who found themselves suddenly in the wrong place. Their story has long been overlooked and it is essential 100 years later to reflect on what happened to them, how they died and the impact on those who survived.
The events of North King Street are still 100 years later not agreed upon as you would expect from a 6 Day Rising that destroyed most of the North inner city and hard facts are difficult to find. By the third day of the Rising on 26th April, the British Army had figured out that the rebel headquarters was in the GPO. They now focused all there energy on attacking that building and the surrounding area forcing the rebels to evacuate the GPO on Friday 28th April to go Moore Street. Other parts of the city became quieter as the British Army stopped attacking rebel positions. However they did carry out attacks along North King Street on the last 2 days of the Rising causing the deaths of many civilians.
With the exception of Mount Street where the Sherwood Foresters were so successfully ambushed by the rebels this was the most violent fighting of the Rising and the one with the most civilian casualties. Most of the British Army Regiments fighting in the Dublin were Irish but like the Battle of Mount Street the soldiers involved at North King Street were English, sent to Dun Laoghaire to suppress the Rising on Wednesday 26th April. The regiment involved was the South Staffordshire Regiment, consisting of men living near Birmingham led by a Lieutenant Colonel Taylor. In attacking the rebel buildings and barricades at the back of the Four Courts they had 5 officers wounded, 11 non-commissioned officers and men killed and 28 wounded. However unlike the Sherwood Foresters these soldiers in response to this casualties are believed to have killed 15 civilians in the area over the last 2 days of the Rising.
There was an investigation after the Rising but it was argued due to the ‘fog of war’ it was impossible to figure out what had happened and rebels or soldiers might have killed the civilians. General Sir John Maxwell went further and defended the soldiers but blamed the civilians in the area for the deaths as they had been told to leave the area and many he believed were Sinn Fein sympathisers. Unlike the Royal Commission investigation into the shooting of 3 journalists in Portobello Barracks in Rathmines, there was no public enquiry into these deaths and 100 years later THESE ROOMS looks at the events bringing alive the horror of the fighting during the 1916 Rising and its impact on the civilians on North King Street.
LAR JOYE, Curator, National Museum of Ireland, September 2016
THESE ROOMS was a commemoration event of a one hundred year old incident through the refracted lens of a fifty year-commemoration. The architecture of the building that housed and supported the work is evocative of all of these eras. Dividing the building up into five sections to accommodate the five separate group killings of the North King Street Massacre enabled the artist to engage with each of these witness accounts whilst also embodying a row of ten houses within the structure of one.
The spaces encountered on the journey through the building ranged from the hyper-real to the hyper-surreal. As the audience entered they gathered in a 1960s style Dublin bar, realistically designed to enable them to acclimatise to the seismic shifts that would be witnessed within the house. As they journeyed through, they encountered spaces distorted and made surreal by the artist’s intervention with the space and his placement of object and the artworks material culture.
Cast: Craig Connolly, Justine Cooper, Una Kavanagh, Niamh McCann, Daniel Monaghan, Robbie O’Connor, Emma O’Kane, Matthew Williamson
Direction: David Bolger and Louise Lowe
Art Installation: Owen Boss
Lighting Design: Ciaran Bagnall
Costume Design: Niamh Lunny
Sound Design: Carl Kennedy
Hair & Makeup Design: Val Sherlock
Production Manager: Adam Fitzsimons
Chief LX: Richard Lambert
Stage Manager: Fiona Keller
Assistant Stage Manager: Dylan Farrell
Wardrobe/Costume Supervisor: Sorcha Ni Fhlionn
Photography: Ros Kavanagh/Pat Redmond
Graphic & Website Design: Sha Griffin
Website Development: Digital Revolutionaries
Publicist: Sabrina Sheehan, Mission PR
Box Office Supervisor: Emma Gleeson
Creative Development Placements:
Assistant Director: Emily Foran
Lighting Design: Colm McNally
Costume Design: Mary Sheehan
Choreography: Roisin Whelan
Participation & Engagement
Broadreach Director: Phlippa Donnellan
ANU Enrichment Co-ordinator: Leanne Cuttle
Producers: Lynnette Moran, Matthew Smyth, Bridget Webster
VERY SPECIAL THANKS to Peter Ward and Catherine Hickey at FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) for all their help and support over recent months.
Jonathan Mitchell, Alexandra Conlon, Debbie Boss, Clive Welsh, Karen Downey, Liz Meaney and all at Arts Council Ireland; Willie, Stephen and all at Dublin Theatre Festival, Jenny Waldham, Emma Dunton and 14-18NOW; Lar Joye, Seamus Lynam, Brenda Malone and the National Museum of Ireland; Catriona Crowe and The National Archives; All at Project Arts Centre, Charles Duggan, Dublin City Council, Elaine Leader, Liam Heslin, Sarah Latty; Maeve Hegarty; Clare Creely; Amanda Coogan; Lianne Quigley