Tag Archives: Danielle DeStefano

Volition 2014 #4: For Their Own Good

12 May

From now until the Volition performance event on Saturday 17th May we will feature regular pieces about each of the works in progress you will see on the night. These are presented in no particular order so embrace the randomness.

 

For Their Own Good dramatises teachings from the book To Train Up a Child in hopes of illuminating the disconnect between the intellectual rationalisation and the physical reality of corporal child training. It began nine months ago as an idea for a piece about connection, which is still at the heart of what you’ll see on Saturday. This project explores how we choose to connect with those we love and the consequences of those choices.

Volition artist: Danielle DeStefano

 

#JOLTVOL

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Volition Eight

10 Sep

We’re delighted to present the eight theatre practitioners selected for Volition. They will be partaking in a nine month programme based in Galway that explores theatre performance and practice. This programme is made possible thanks to funding from the Arts Council of Ireland‘s Theatre Development Fund. We don’t believe in discriminating against people alphabetically so we have listed names in no particular order at all.

Martin Maguire

Siobhán Donnellan

Evan Lordan

Emma O’Grady

Cathal Leonard

Caroline Lynch

Danielle DeStefano

Eve Vaughan

Martin Maguire

Martin Maguire

Martin has been involved with theatre & film in Galway in various guises for many years and has worked with most of the theatre companies in Galway city. He has roots in theatre & education, film production and also as an “on set” stills photographer for the TV / Film industry.

He strongly believes there is real synergy between art forms, specifically for him theatrical performance and photography. All his work to date has been underpinned by a visually creative intent.

Recent work includes:

Closer by Patrick Marber for Anam Theatre. Almost A Fantasy by Caroline Lynch for Mephisto Theatre Company. Various roles in The Honey Spike again for Mephisto. Chasing Butterflies by Siobhan Donnellan for Bluepatch / Drangonfly. Onegin by Sarah O’Toole as part of the Galway Theatre Festival. Dmitri Gurov in Anam Theatres’ production of The Yalta Game by Brian Friel.

Volition Ambition

‘I have always found “dual role” performance thoroughly engaging. I started to imagine the character as a physical / non-physical entity potentially existing simultaneously, a form of movement and voice created singularly but experienced in multiplicity.

With this modus operandi for presenting characters I began exploration work with writer Kieran O’Connell. The performance criteria was set out as follows:

–       2 actors would perform the piece.

–       1 male and 1 female to play every character presented on stage.

While the work could have a relatively straight narrative construct the very act of limiting the number and gender of the performers would require a stylistically inventive delivery. Clout & Ocean a new work arising from this initial exploration is currently being produced.’

“Have you ever heard your name being called but when you look there’s no one there. Well I think that is where my poetry comes from.” –  Laurient (deckhand- Clout & Ocean)

‘One of the most interesting and exciting aspects of the Volition process for me is its determination to bring theatrical practitioners together in a coordinated well organized manner through an environment of shared learning.
 I feel it is this opportunity of being involved with a multi disciplined group over a 9 month period that’s one the most attractive elements of the whole initiative – the chance to make some real, potentially long lasting creative connections.’

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siobhanheadshot (2 of 4)Siobhán Donnellan

A native of Clare, Siobhán graduated from the Masters Drama & Theatre NUIG 2006 and became a founding member of Dragonfly Theatre. She received the Outstanding Actor Award (New York Fringe 2007) for her role in Married to the Sea (Edinburgh Fringe, Dublin Fringe and the Galway Arts Festival 2008). In 2009 she undertook a Postgraduate Diploma Performance Training Course, Queens University, Belfast and subsequently co-wrote and performed in her debut play, For the Birds (New York Fringe 2010). Her first one-act, Chasing Butterflies, was shortlisted for Cork Arts Theatre Writers Week Award 2010 where it won three awards including Best Female Actor. Her second one-act In the Garden premiered at Galway Theatre Festival 2011 and both have been developed into radio plays under the BAI Sound & Vision Scheme. In 2012 she was commissioned to write The Mire (Environmental Play Festival 2012). Her most recent one-act Made the Measure is one of four plays selected by Eugene O Brien for Scripts Ireland Playwrights Festival taking place September 2013. Other acting roles include Sis in Reptilian (Dublin Fringe 2008, Galway Arts Festival 2009), Vanessa in The Lost Weekend (The Axis, Ballymun), Aunt Fidget in How Tom Beat Captain Najork (Belfast Children’s Festival 2009), Connie in The Mai (Mephisto Theatre, Town Hall Galway 2012) Mandy in Eclipsed (Mephisto Theatre, Town Hall Galway 2013).

Volition Ambition

‘I am intrigued by psychics and people who allegedly have insight into the future. I am open to the idea that it’s possible but I wonder how much their success can be attributed to an individual’s desire for information rather than the reader’s accuracy. The work I’ve done to date both as actor and playwright has been primarily script driven work with a clear narrative. With this in mind I aim to explore aspects of performance I haven’t previously had the opportunity to venture into, namely interactive non-script based work with (hopefully) room for a little comedy, exploring the world of psychics and predictions. I hope Volition will provide an opportunity to learn about different performance techniques and new approaches to theatre making through both workshops and the other participants.’

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Evan LordanEvan Lordan

Evan Lordan is a graduate of UCC Drama and Theatre Studies and a founding member of Conflicted Theatre. Evan wrote Conflicted Theatre’s first show, After Jekyll, and since then has been involved in the writing and devising of each subsequent Conflicted show, iTouch, 18-35, Mi Daza Mondays, Ups & Downs. Earlier this year he was part of the team that adapted The Scarlet Letter, which was performed as part of the Cork Midsummer festival.

Volition Ambition

”We make gods and do battle with them and they bless us.’ This encapsulates the power and vulnerability we possess in relation to our imaginations. If we believe strongly enough in something then we can manifest any sort of god or demon in very tangible ways: in the shrines we erect and in how we treat each other.

‘I want to create a piece about a character who lives in a world where Hollywood can CGI any possible image, google answers every question and apps solve each and every conceivable problem. As a result the imagination comes under attack and is used less and less. This character is then compelled to create their own gods and myths to make sense of their existence in the contemporary world. What aspects of mythology influence our stories now: ancient greek, catholicism, mindful meditation, exercise regimes, advertisements, organic farming, Hollywood, technology, social media?’

‘I hope to use this time to develop the most fruitful balance, for me as a maker, between the spontaneous inventiveness of devising and the true craft of play writing. I hope to move toward this goal by being surrounded by peers who are willing to share and receive and challenge ideas about theatre and who then put them to practice.

‘I am excited to get to spend time with theatre makers based in Galway. It seems strange to me that on an island this small that there is so little inter-city communication, especially between aspiring professional theatre companies and makers. I am be eager to make to most of this opportunity to create connections between Cork and Galway.’

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Emma O'Grady Head Shot

Emma O’Grady

Emma holds an MA in Drama & Theatre Studies (NUI, Galway 2007). She is a founding member of Galway-based Mephisto Theatre Company and has appeared in many of their productions since 2006 including Grenades, The World’s Wife, The Morning After Optimism, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Honey Spike and Eclipsed. She has performed with Macnas in This Thunderous Heart (Galway), This Fierce Beauty (Galway) and Chaosmos (Beijing and Moscow). She also works as a theatre technician and freelance producer/production manager and teaches acting with Performing Arts School Galway.

Volition Ambition
‘I have around 20 cassette tapes recorded on a dictaphone by my grandfather, Paddy O’Grady, one month before he died in 1997. In these tapes he tells dozens of seanachaí-like stories and provides other musings on life that are brilliantly entertaining. I will use these tapes to develop a theatre piece that looks at these stories, the man who is telling them and at the contradictions between the man his wife and family knew and the man he presents himself as on the tapes. Why did he record them? Who are they for? Why did he need to do it then? I’m also interested in the broader questions the tapes provoke: the reasons creativity surfaces in a person, has it to do with mortality? Does the art we make have to reflect who we are?’

‘Through Volition I hope that my idea is nurtured and challenged and I can start to make something solid and worthwhile from this material. I hope that the people I meet and the experiences I have will unlock an exciting new way of working for myself as an actor and theatre maker.’

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Cathal LeonardCathal Leonard

Cathal holds a BA from NUIG and an MA from Queens University Belfast. He made his acting debut at Limerick Unfringed and subsequently went on to train at Bull Alley, Dublin. In January 2010, Cathal joined Truman Town Theatre Company and toured extensively around Ireland, performing in the New Theatre in Dublin, Writers Week in Listowel, Galway Fringe Festival and Galway Theatre Festival. Cathal’s work with Truman Town included four original productions written by Mick Donnellan: Sunday Morning Coming Down, Shortcut to Hallelujah, Velvet Revolution and Gun Metal Grey.

Volition Ambition
‘I want to explore the themes of identity, belonging and loss as they present themselves throughout the human experience. In particular I have an interest in exploring these themes as part of the story of Irish emigration, both now and in generations past.
One of the greatest challenges for any theatre maker is to make their work relevant as well as engaging and the Volition programme provides me with an opportunity to work with practitioners who are very accomplished in this regard. So with a bit of luck and a lot of learning, I’ll produce a compelling and emotive piece of original theatre under the Volition banner.’

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Caroline Lynch Caroline Lynch

Caroline Lynch is from Cork and has been living in Galway since 2006. She has been working in theatre since 1999, starting with The Playboy of the Western World (Pegeen Mike) at the Everyman Palace, Cork. She worked in Sligo with Blue Raincoat Theatre Company. Productions there included Macbeth (Lady Macbeth) by Shakespeare and Play (Woman 1) by Beckett. In Dublin she played Lady Olivia in a Natural Shocks production of Twelfth Night and she worked at the Peacock in Sons and Daughters, two short plays for children by Jim Nolan and Marina Carr. In 2007 she co-founded Mephisto Theatre Company in Galway and with them she has acted in, among others: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (Miss Prism); The Morning After Optimism by Tom Murphy (Rosie); The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy;  The Mai by Marina Carr (The Mai); and Eclipsed by Patricia Burke Brogan (Mother Victoria). She has also directed a number of productions – Grenades by Tara McKevitt, The Honey Spike by Bryan MacMahon both for Mephisto and The Bear by Chekhov for Painted Bird Productions. She has an MA in Writing from NUIG and a book of poems, Lost in the Gaeltacht, published by Salmon Poetry. She has written two plays, the most recent of which, Almost a Fantasy, was produced by Mephisto for the Galway Theatre Festival 2011.

Volition Ambition

‘I want to explore the issues of crisis and help. When people and institutions intervene in people‘s lives, why does the help given often cause more harm than good? This harmful help confuses those who receive it. Shouldn’t they be grateful? This idea is informed by the experience of living at a time when so much historic wrongs are having to be dealt with, and wondering: what will the historic wrongs of the future be?

I’m delighted to be part of JOLT:Volition. I expect to be challenged and overwhelmed with ideas and new approaches to theatre, to play alongside the other participants and to be influenced by their work as well as that of the workshop facilitators.’

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Danielle DeStefano_HeadshotDanielle DeStefano

Danielle recently moved to Galway from the US and is still quite new to the area and the theatre scene. She is very excited for this amazing opportunity to work with JOLT:Volition and to dive into the theatre community and get involved! Danielle has a BA (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and an MA (Villanova University) in Theatre and has held numerous positions, both practical and administrative, in theatres in the States.

Volition Ambition

‘My idea for Volition is to consider connection and connectivity as a theme both as a basis for a creative story and as a vehicle for practical theatrical exploration. The way in which human beings connect to one another and to the places and things around them is vastly different today than twenty years ago. Looking to how and why we connect and which connections are most meaningful in our globalised, digital age is something fascinating to consider. It also leads to a deeper consideration as a theatre artist about the nature of how we can better connect with one another, our set, our props, our audience to create a richer theatrical experience. What does it mean to make more meaningful connections with the people, places and things around us – in our art and in our lives? Sussing that out is my Volition Ambition.

Being new to both the Galway theatre community and the Irish theatre community, I am in a unique position going into the Volition programme. I know this will be an incredible opportunity for me to meet and interact with others in the local and national theatre community. It will also be a great opportunity for me to see and explore new approaches, ideas, and viewpoints about theatre that I would have otherwise never been exposed to in the States. I hope that Volition will not only allow me to begin to find my place in this new theatrical community, but also will help me grow and become a better theatre artist.’

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Eve Vaughan Head ShotEve Vaughan

Eve has been involved in performance productions since 2001, performing, devising, writing, and in more recent times directing. She has shown work in a wide variety of scenes: From the traditional settings of theatres and art spaces to off-site and informal events.

She has been producing original pieces of work since 2003, collaborating on studio based devised shows. Then in 2006 she started to work off site and endeavoured to develop her own take on site responsive theatre and performance specifically for public spaces.

The more prominent but not necessarily the most important of these performances include; The Limerick City Gallery of Art 2013, Dancing Outside. The Tintype Gallery, London 2013, Open. Galway Arts Festival in conjunction with 126 Gallery 2012, Lay of the Land. Shunt, London 2010, In and Out. Project Arts Centre, Dublin 2009, Cappuccino Culture. New Moves International, Glasgow 2009, Cusp. Liverpool Biennale 2008, Assistant to Geraldine Pilgrim on Traces. Chashama, New York 2008, Turf. The Bimhuis, Amsterdam 2007, Escape from Summer. TULCA Festival of Visual Art, Galway Arts Centre 2002, Alienation.

Volition Ambition

‘Why are there non art audiences?

Why are the majority of art and performance works in black and white boxes?

Why not perform  in unexpected places and at unexpected times?

Why does one person feel more confident to tap into and express their imagination than another?

Where did we learn that formal training, and a place and time in which to be creative were necessary?

Who allows public spaces to be hijacked for profit by corporate interests?

How can we reclaim public spaces?

What does creative anarchy in public spaces look like? And what does it threaten?

Instead of answers I am looking for options.

I want to be part of a vibrant and progressive performance scene that stems out of the west of Ireland and I want to do something about it. I feel strongly about being part of a community as I garner much energy and courage from the support of other performance makers and people in the field. I hope to develop relationships with people who I can turn to for critique, advice, and to challenge and at times to direct me.

Seeing new work and participating in workshops not only fills up my artistic tank but having this journey as part of a group whilst creating a work in progress is a delight.’

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Volition Participants Announced

6 Sep

Thank you to everyone who took the time to apply to Volition. We were overwhelmed with the response. It has been a long few weeks of assessing, shortlisting and interviewing but we can finally announce our Volition participants. . .

but before we do, we would like to say that JOLT events happening outside of Volition in 2014 will respond to the ideas and needs of all those who applied and we look forward to working with all of you in the coming year.

So, then, the Volition Eight are: Evan Lordan, Siobhán Donnellan, Emma O’Grady, Eve Vaughan, Cathal Leonard, Martin Maguire, Caroline Lynch and Danielle DeStefano.

Next week we will post bios on each of the artists so keep an eye out for more information.

Here we go!