Jan 30 2024
Town Hall Theatre, Galway this week unveiled the WAKE Collection - a series of drawings by Brian Bourke of NoRopes Theatre Company in rehearsals for the company’s 2019 World Premiere of WAKE, by Deirdre Sullivan and directed by Mairead Folan at the Town Hall Theatre. The drawings will be on permanent display in the foyer of the theatre. Artist Brian Bourke, former City Arts Officer James C Harold, Town Hall Theatre Director Fergal Mc Grath and director of NoRopes Theatre Company Mairead Folan all spoke at the event.
In February 2019, NoRopes Theatre Company presented the world premiere of Wake by award-winning author Deirdre Sullivan at the Town Hall Theatre. Directed by Mairead Folan, this was a very special project produced by No Ropes Theatre Company in partnership with the Town Hall Theatre and funded by the Arts Council under its Arts and Disability CONNECT Scheme (a funding scheme for artists with disabilities) managed by Arts and Disability Ireland, Town Hall Theatre and Galway City Council Arts Office. The production was originally developed as part of Druid's FUEL programme in 2017-2018.
Town Hall Theatre invited artist Brian Bourke to create a series of drawings of the director and performers involved in the production of WAKE at the Town Hall Studio. The company and performers readily agreed to, and truly enjoyed, Brian sitting in on rehearsals for the purpose of this work.
Town Hall Theatre was delighted to commission an artist of the stature of Brian Bourke to create 5 beautiful pieces of public art - now on permanent display in the foyer of the theatre - under the Per Cent for Arts Scheme, whilst recording for posterity those involved in the world premiere of a very special production. The initiative followed a Town Hall Theatre 2018 capital project consisting of a series of lighting, improved access and enhancement works which were co-funded by Galway City Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
About NoRopes Theatre Company
NoRopes is a Galway based theatre company, founded in 2015, whose aim is to make good theatre, to challenge accepted understandings in society and the boundaries they can impose through the production of original, innovative, and little-known dramatic works. In addition to their desire to entertain and challenge audiences, their work is designed to invite people to think outside the box in relation to specific issues that, though they surround us, aren’t as visible or as audible on a day-to-day basis such as isolation, voicelessness, domestic abuse, or tension. Each project foregrounds experiences of disempowerment or struggle, and the desire for creative solutions, improved understanding, and capacity-building through shared experience. NoRopes are interested in lesser told stories, in what is left unsaid as much as what is said. Though not due to any company policy, most of their work since founding has been female artist led or authored. NoRopes has a very collaborative approach in staging productions, in that in that the end vision is a combination of cast and crew’s visions. The company feel very fortunate to be chosen to partake in Per Cent for Arts which allowed the artist Brian Bourke to capture the essence of NoRopes at work and create pieces which ensures the company’s place in Town Hall Theatre’s history.
About Mairéad Folan
Mairéad Folan is the Artistic Director of Galway-based NoRopes Theatre Company which was founded in 2015. She has directed the majority of NoRopes’ repertoire including THE OPEN COUPLE (Irish premiere), WASTED (Irish premiere) and WAKE (World premiere). LUKE is her debut as a playwright. Mairéad’s been a bilingual freelance theatre practitioner since 2005 working with companies such as The Abbey, Fíbín and An Taibhdhearc. Her background in performance has influenced her directing style. Education: MA in Drama and Theatre Studies from National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland (2005), Acting Diploma from London College of Music (2009).
Recent achievements include: Arts Council’s Arts & Disability Connect Scheme Mentoring Award managed by ADI (2017 &2020), Arts Council’s Arts & Disability Connect Scheme New Work Award and Druid FUEL Artist (2018), Arts Council’s Project Award (2021) and PUSH+ EU Lab participant with The Ark and Creative Europe (2022) and Arts Council’s Artist Bursary Award (2023). Membership: Galway Community Circus Board of Directors, Theatre for Young Audiences, Ireland and Theatre57.
About Brian Bourke
Brian Bourke is considered one of the most significant artists working in Ireland today. In a career spanning over fifty years, his output has been enormous. He has worked on a wide range of subject matter, mostly in painting and drawing. His works display a great affinity and sympathy for his subject matter, and above all, a wonderful sense of humour. Brian has become associated with Connemara where he lives. A place as he puts it, "of small rough fields and windblown trees, very rural, with more horses than people". He has also produced sculpture, working in bronze and in wood. He has had one-man exhibitions in many different locations in Ireland, on the continent, and in Manhattan. He lives and works in Galway with his wife, the painter Jay Murphy. Brian Bourke was born in Dublin in 1936. He studied at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin and St. Martin's School of Art in London. He represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale and the Lugano Exhibition of Graphics, both in 1965. He won the Arts Council portrait competition in 1965, the Munster and Leinster Bank competition in 1966, and first prize in the Irish Exhibition of Living Art competition in 1967. In 1985, he was named Sunday Independent Artist of the Year, and he received the O'Malley Award from the Irish-American Cultural Institute in 1993. He is known for his series of mocking self-portraits comparing the artist to Don Quixote. In 1991, he was artist-in-residence at the Gate Theatre's Beckett Festival in Dublin, with accompanying works appearing at the Douglas Hyde Gallery. Brian has also sketched many Druid Theatre productions including Waiting For Godot 1987,The Loves of Cass Maguire 1996 and most recently DruidO'Casey 2023. His work hangs in many important collections and galleries throughout Europe.
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