Sunday 25 September 2016

Students' play gives a distinct voice to the women of 1916

Published 16/03/2016 | 02:30

Shannon Sheridan as Padraig Pearse with the Proclamation and (from left) Sara Mebtouche, Kirsten Lee, Megan Rothbaccer,
Brianna Nutley, Hannah Crowley, Megan Reilly and Karen Lorla at St Mary’s in Glasnevin. Photo: Colin O’Riordan
Shannon Sheridan as Padraig Pearse with the Proclamation and (from left) Sara Mebtouche, Kirsten Lee, Megan Rothbaccer, Brianna Nutley, Hannah Crowley, Megan Reilly and Karen Lorla at St Mary’s in Glasnevin. Photo: Colin O’Riordan

The pupils at St Mary's Secondary School in Glasnevin paid special attention to the women of 1916 in their commemorative events.

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Among their unique contributions to Proclamation Day was Rising Voices, a theatrical production created, written and performed by the students, giving voice to many who were involved in the Rising, particularly the women.

Students recreated moments from history on stage, showing the women's political efforts, as well as the life of ordinary families in the tenements, the wedding scene of Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett, the executions of the signatories and a soliloquy from Countess Markievicz.

Even before yesterday, the show was a success, with matinee performances last week for nearly 300 fifth and sixth class students in local primary schools and two sell-out evening shows.

Meanwhile, Transition Year students marked the day by unveiling their 1916-themed porcelain display, designed with artist-in-residence Isobel Egan, which also honoured the women on 1916.

A busy Proclamation Day at the 770-pupil St Mary's started with a Proclamation Day quiz for all classes while after the flag-raising ceremony at noon, sixth-year student Shannon Sheridan, dressed as Padraig Pearse, recreated the scene outside the GPO when she read the 1916 Proclamation on the school steps, while Aisling Byrne and Lauren McCausland read the school's own Proclamation for a New Generation.

The singing of the national anthem had a special significance for principal Bernadette Bourke, who is a relation of its composer, Peadar Kearney.

"We wanted to make the day truly memorable and historically significant," said English and drama teacher Donna Callan.

Irish Independent

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