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.
‘Winner, Irish Times Theatre Awards, 2017 (Audience Choice Award)’
★★★★★ “…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
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Venue: Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London, EC1V 9LT
020 7739 6176 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Performance dates: June 2018, Schedule to be announced
Duration: Approx. 75 mins. No interval.
Accessibility: Capacity limited. Participatory in nature.
Audience Warning: Strong language and adult themes.
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
Casting for THESE ROOMS spanned almost nine months as David Bolger and Louise Lowe conducted a series of development workshops with actors and dancers in late 2015. Casting was completed in June 2016 and the premiere production of THESE ROOMS will feature the talents of:
Craig graduated from the Lir with a BA in acting in 2015. He has just finished working with ANU on ON CORPORATION STREET, a collaboration with HOME in Manchester. Before that Craig was a core member of the cast of SUNDER, a 1916 state commemoration, also with ANU. Before entering the Lir Craig had been in productions such as THE SILVER TASSIE (Druid Theatre Company) OLIVER (Festival Productions) I,KEANO (Long Road Productions). Craig appeared in his first performance after graduating in THE AULD FELLA (Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival, 2015). Screen credits include: THE CABIN (Hallmark TV) THE HIDEAWAYS (Feature Film) ROY (BBC/RTÉ). While at the Lir, Craig worked with directors such as Wayne Jordan, Louise Lowe, Annabelle Comyn, and Tom Creed. Aside from acting Craig has a great love for music. He plays various instruments such as piano, guitar, drums and ukulele.
Originally from New Zealand, based in Ireland since 2008, Justine has had the pleasure of working with the Meryl Tankard Australian Dance Theatre, (FURIOSO, INUK, SONGS WITH MARA, POSESSED, 1998, SUELLE), Liz Roche Company (BASTARD AMBER, BODY AND FORGETTING, FAST PORTRAITS, SECONDARY SOURCES) Junk Ensemble (DUSK AHEAD, BIRD WITH BOY, SOMETIMES WE BREAK), CoisCéim Dance Theatre (INVITATION TO A JOURNEY, BODY LANGUAGE 101, AGNES, DANCE TALKING) United Fall/Formally Emma Martin Dance (TUNDRA, DOGS, LISTOWEL SYNDROME), Louise White (WAY BACK HOME) Liv O’Donoghue (PROMPTED BREATHLESS, THE WAY WE MET ). Justine’s own work FOLDS OF THE CRANE was part of Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival 2015 and Dublin Dance Festival 2016.
Úna has been a company member and collaborator with ANU since 2010 and has worked on all three parts of ANU’s triptych 2016 including SUNDER and ON CORPORARTION STREET at HOME Manchester. Previously she has co–created, devised and performed in THE MONTO CYCLE (WORLD’S END LANE, LAUNDRY, THE BOYS OF FOLEY STREET and VARDO); BEAUTIFUL DREAMERS; ANGEL MEADOW with HOME Manchester; CUMANN NA MBÁN; 13 WOMEN (Amanda Coogan); TAKING TO THE BED; AS IF (Prime Cut & The Mac). As a visual artist Úna’s work has most recently been exhibited in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Dublin. She was awarded the prestigious Art By Country residency in The Middle East, representing Ireland at The Art Hub, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Úna’s practice over 25 years ranges from extensive work in theatre, film, television and radio to her artistic collaborations. She won Best Actress at The Underground Cinema Awards 2011 and 2015, and has been internationally nominated for Best Actress at The Golden Nymph Awards and The Rose d’Or Awards for her work on screen.
Niamh has been a collaborator with ANU since 2011 and has worked on all three parts of ANU’s triptych in 2016 including the first and second parts – SUNDER and ON CORPORATION STREET. Previous work with ANU includes INTO THE SUN (2016), REFLECTING THE RISING (RTÉ), GLORIOUS MADNESS (2015), ANGEL MEADOW (2014) and LAUNDRY (2011). Niamh trained as an actor at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London (2003-06), beginning 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 UK and Ireland. Theatre credits include roles at the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Lyceum Edinburgh, Gate Theatre, Rough Magic, and the Abbey Theatre. 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 Scotland), and LITTLE ROY (CBBC). Film credits include John Crowley’s BAFTA and Oscar-nominated BROOKLYN.
Daniel Monaghan has just completed his final year of training, graduating with a three-year Bachelor in Acting at the RADA accredited Lír Academy at Trinity College, Dublin. His work with the Lír includes I AM A CAMERA directed by Hilary Wood, THE PROVOKED WIFE directed by Lynn Parker, THE CRADLE WILL ROCK and AGAMEMNON both directed by Wayne Jordan, GIVEN THE DAY, which he also co-devised with director Louise Lowe, BY THE BOG OF CATS directed by Selina Cartmel, AS YOU LIKE IT directed by Hilary Wood and Ruth Meehan’s short film ON THE ROCKS, in which he plays the role of Vinny.
Robbie is delighted to be working with ANU again and for the first time with CoisCéim. He is a graduate of The Lir Academy, Trinity College Dublin. Previous work for ANU includes: PALS, BOYS OF FOLEY STREET, LAUNDRY, WORLD’S END LANE, DOWN THE VALLEY and REBEL REBEL. Other theatre includes: NORTHERN STAR (Rough Magic); HAMLET (Second Age); ALL THAT FALL (Pan Pan); END OF THE ROAD (Fishamble); COME FORWARD TO MEET YOU (Upstate Theatre) and TUMBLEDOWNTOWN. His film, TV and radio credits include: ALL GOD’S CHILDREN (Mike Lindley), TINDERFACE (The Lir), ALL IS BY MY SIDE (Watchtower Productions), LEISURE CENTRE (Desperate Optimists), HOMECOMING (RTÉ Radio), HIDDEN (BBC) and FAIR CITY (RTÉ).
Emma O’Kane trained at the Perm State Choreographic Academy, Russia. Emma has been a member of CoisCéim Dance Theatre since 2001. Dance Europe voted Emma Outstanding Dancer Of The Year for her performance in CoisCéim’s production of FAUN. Recent work includes 160 VOICES for EMBODIED produced by Dublin Dance Festival as a new commission by An Post/GPO Witness History, CENTENARY RTÉ and THE WAKE directed by Oonagh Kearney. Previous work with Anu Productions includes VARDO, ANGEL MEADOW, LAUNDRY, BASIN. Emma has created choreography for dance, theatre and opera companies alike: UNDERNEATH (Fishamble), JOCKEY, FARM and CARE (Willfredd Theatre), SILENT MOVES (Ignite! Mayo), THE SLEEPING QUEEN (Wexford Festival Opera), THE CHILEAN TRILOGY (Prime Cut Productions) ANGEL MEADOW, LAUNDRY, BASIN (ANU Productions), and THE BALLET RUSE (co-created with Muirne Bloomer).
Matthew is a dancer/choreographer from Dublin with over ten years experience in performance and competitive dance. His speciality is Hip-Hop & B-boying (Breakdance). His style is described as acrobatic, musical and energetic. Not just a Hip-Hop dancer, Matthew is always looking to step outside the box. His first step outside his Hip-Hop comfort zone was ballet, where he featured on Rte’s BALLET CHANCERS in 2008 and since then has been grasping every opportunity to try something new. 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, Uk and Germany. Raw Edge also featured on Sky Ones GOT TO DANCE where they reached the live semi finals. Matthew has also featured on a number of Tv shows/adverts and most recently on PENNY DREADFUL as a dancer/movement artist. “Always learning, always teaching”