Axis, Ballymun and the National Association for Youth Drama (NAYD) are delighted to announce that Ciarán Gray has been awarded the commission to write a new play in the Irish language for young ensembles following a call for expressions of interest earlier this year. Both organisations are delighted to be collaborating with Gray and young people from across the NAYD network towards developing this piece, particularly as there is very little new work available for young ensembles in Irish.
Ciarán Gray is a primary school teacher who has been working with young people in both dance and drama for thirty years. In that time he has delivered workshops all over Ireland and directed a wide range of productions for young performers. He won prizes in RTE’s PJ O’Connor radio drama competition in 2006 and 2013. Ciarán has three plays currently in the NAYD Playshare resource, a curated collection of plays suitable for performance by young ensembles. In 2008 he established Company B, a contemporary dance company for boys. He has been a tutor on a number of National Youth Drama Festivals and has been involved in Dublin Youth Theatre for the last twenty years in a number of roles.
Speaking on the new commission Michelle Carew, director of NAYD said: “Ciarán Gray’s vast experience of working with and writing for young people makes him the ideal playwright for this commission. The marriage of this experience with Ciarán’s love of the language should make for a play that young people will identify with and want to perform.”
The development process of this unique commission includes a three day residential in Axis Ballymun with fourteen young people who are members of the NAYD network, commencing today and running until Friday 31st October. Young people aged 16+ plus from youth theatres in Kilkenny, Letterkenny, Dublin, Cork and beyond applied to take part in the residential demonstrating great energy and enthusiasm for the initiative.
Gray will work with the selected young people with the support of both organisations to explore themes and ideas that are of interest to young people as well as to explore how young people use the Irish language.
Niamh Ní Chonchubhair, programme manager of Axis Ballymun added: “Tá daoine óga agus forbairt cruthaíochta lárnach ó thaobh clár Axis agus tá ríméad orainn bheith ag obair le NAYD, Ciarán agus na daoine óga chun deiseanna a chur ar fáil do dhaoine óga atá ag iarraidh sult a bhaint as a gcuid ealaín féin i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla.
Young people and creative development are at the heart of what we do at Axis, and we are thrilled to be working with NAYD, Ciarán and the young people involved to further opportunities for young people to enjoy and express their creativity in Irish as well as in English”.
This commission is a joint initiative from Axis Ballymun and NAYD with funding from Foras na Gaeilge.
axis: Ballymun is a dynamic hub on Dublin’s cultural map, embracing its community and providing an infrastructure which nurtures talent across all ages, abilities and art forms. From presenting major new theatre productions and the best in live entertainment, to offering expert advice on how to make a hip hop record, axis celebrates creativity on its stage, galleries, and behind the scenes in its workshop spaces and recording studio. In the past decade, axis has discovered and nurtured some of the most exciting new voices across the arts – whilst establishing Ballymun as a destination for the best theatre, music and visual art the city has to offer.
The National Association for Youth Drama was established in 1980 to support the development of youth theatre in Ireland. Since then, NAYD has been supporting youth drama in practice and policy by advocating the benefits of young people’s participation, promoting quality youth theatre practice and providing leadership for the sector. Now representing a membership of 60 affiliated youth theatres, the organisation has seen thousands of young lives enhanced and transformed by the experience of youth drama. Today, NAYD continues to work towards the sustained development of youth theatres in partnership with local authorities, youth services, theatres, arts centres, organisations and individuals.
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