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Dec 16 2020

RTÉ launches Celebration of Nursing Homes’ Digital Arts Initiative

‘Bringing It All Back Home -Through the Window’ Online Promo will be aired on all RTÉ Digital Platforms from today

RTÉ today launched a celebratory compilation https://youtu.be/EmIzMXLN54k of some of the short-form films from the ‘Bringing It All Back Home -Through The Window’ series produced by Town Hall Theatre Galway, Backstage Theatre Longford and Pavilion Theatre Dún Laoghaire.

The 5 minute featurette will be shared on all RTÉ social channels and, for the duration of a full year, on both RTÉ.ie/Culture and the RTÉ Player. The promo offers a tantalising taste of the series of films created by the panel of theatre makers, musicians and writers who engaged with residents in Nursing Homes and Care Homes across Galway and in Longford and Dún Laoghaire last summer and then researched, wrote and presented digital vignettes inspired by those engagements.

At the beginning of summer 2020, Town Hall Theatre Galway, Backstage Theatre Longford (the original architects of the initiative) and Pavilion Theatre Dún Laoghaire invited a number of Nursing Homes and Care Homes in their area to nominate a resident to interact with one of a panel of local artists. The artists then connected (via phone or Zoom or in some instances, via safe visits) with the resident and with the resident’s family, listening to their stories and created a series of short-form vignettes for broadcast on social media and digital platforms. The digital stories feature a diverse range of subjects, from recent experiences to fond if distant memories of childhood and varied lifetimes. The first seven of these digital pieces were published in October 2020, with more to follow on a rolling basis.

This unique intergenerational initiative, created to shine a light on older citizens affected by the lockdown, was designed to show collective support for older citizens and the people who care for them, especially in times of crisis. The outbreak of Covid-19 early in 2020 was a source of significant stress, worry and perhaps even fear for many older people and the restrictive measures put in place to deal with the crisis - particularly in Nursing Homes - increased the social isolation experienced by many. As the project progressed, it expanded to include people living outside of care home settings and also others deeply affected by the lockdown.

‘Bringing It All Back Home -Through the Window’ was funded by Creative Ireland, Galway City Council and Longford County Council as part of the Irish Government’s campaign, Getting Through Covid-19 Together, which aims to support people through the restrictive measures that have been put in place to deal with the Covid-19 crisis. The campaign emphasises the importance of collective support and staying connected to others, and while all of us are experiencing different concerns, it highlights: “no matter what you’re going through, let’s stay connected and make it through, together”. All three theatres are proudly funded by the Arts Council.

Artists working on the project were Rena Bryson, Fionnuala Gygax, Hazel Doolan, Tom Lane, Órla Mc Govern, Leo Moran, Una McKevitt, Seamus O’Rourke, Zoe Ní Riordáin, Emma O'Grady, Oisín Robbins, James Scales, Padraig Stevens, Ruth Smith, Maria Tivnan. Musicians and singers were Niceol Blue, Paul Houlihan, Bríd Treasa Ní Ghaoithín, Jarlath Tivnan, the Screaming Orphans. Creative Co-Coordinators were Maisie Lee and Fionnuala Gygax. Videographers and Editors were Eavan Aiken, Evan Kelly, Fergal Scahill. Videos by Sarah-Jane Scott, Diarmuid de Faoite and Feilim O'hAolain and others will follow in early 2021

The Town Hall, Backstage and Pavilion Theatres are grateful to RTÈ, to the Arts Council, to the project’s funders Creative Ireland, Galway City Council and Longford County Council, to all of the participating artists and musicians, to the management and staff in each of the participating Nursing Homes and Care Homes - St Mary’s, Shantalla Rd, Galway; Teaghlach Uilinn Moycullen; Bushfield Care Centre, Oranmore; Clarinbridge Care Centre; Greenpark Nursing Home, Tuam; Ashford House Nursing Home, Dūn Laoghaire; Costello’s Nursing Home and Care Centre, Lanesborough, Aras Mhathair Phoil and Laurel Lodge Nursing Home, Longford.

The Town Hall, Backstage and Pavilion Theatres especially wish to thank the very very special participating residents – Maureen Beirne, Jimmy Caffery, Maisie Gallagher, James Hand, Bridie Higgins; Sr. Madeleine Houlihan, Mrs. Maura Howard, George Morrison, Liam Rogers, Steven Simmons - thank you so much for sharing your wonderful and wisdom-filled stories with us.

To view all videos in the series, visit https://tht.ie/bringing-it-all-back-home/