Thursday 17 October 2019

Entertaining Sligo

The Travels of Jonathan Swift at the Factory - Blue Raincoat Theatre Company are delighted to present the world première of The Travels of Jonathan Swift adapted and directed by Conall Morrison in a first-time collaboration with the company.

It is running from October 2nd-12th at The Factory.

"We are really looking forward to this show" said Niall Henry, Artistic Director. "This is the first time anyone in the company has had the opportunity to work with Conall and we are really looking forward to seeing how the Travels of Jonathan Swift turns out!"

"It has been a long held ambition to work with Blue Raincoat one of the most exceptional companies in the country, with an aesthetic reach that most companies can only dream of," said Conall Morrison.

For years after his death, the story was widespread in Ireland that Swift had ended his days in St Patrick's Psychiatric Hospital, the institution that he himself founded.

The Travels of Jonathan Swift finds Swift in a locked ward, and together with a band of fellow-inmates, he embarks on a free-wheeling ride through vivid episodes from his life and intense loves, and highlights from the works - the Lilliputians, the giant Brobdingnagians, the flying islands, the land of horses.

Drawn from Gulliver's Travels, A Tale of a Tub, and the key relationships in his life, the play matches Swift's remarkable imagination and savage satire with the Blue Raincoats' trademark visual style.

Blackly comic, theatrically extravagant, and startlingly up-to-date in its satirical aim, The Travels of Jonathan Swift is a fantasia drawn from the creations of this most feverishly brilliant of minds.

The Travels of Jonathan Swift is designed by long time collaborators designer Jamie Vartan (The Last Hotel, The Walworth Farce, Ballyturk), sound designer Joe Hunt and lighting designer Barry McKinney.

The cast features acclaimed Blue Raincoat ensemble members Sandra O'Malley, John Carty, Brian Devaney, Hilary Bowen Walsh and Bob Kelly with Niall Cusack making his Blue Raincoat debut. 

 Ireland's longest running theatre ensemble Blue Raincoat are synonymous with a range of theatre styles from the absurd worlds of Lewis Carroll and Flann O'Brien to the more expressionistic worlds of their devised work Shackleton and The School Days of Thaddeus K.

The company have engaged thousands of people over the years having founded and co-founded an arts festival, a youth theatre, a children's theatre festival, a theatre academy, along with their venue, the Factory Performance Space.   

Blue Raincoat Theatre Company would like to acknowledge the support of Creative Ireland, The Arts Council and Sligo County Council.  

Running from October 2nd-12th nightly from 8pm.

Tickets are priced at €18/15 and you can book them through

The Factory Performance Space is located on Lower Quay Street, Sligo. Telephone 071 9170431.

Between Your Love and Mine at the Hawk's Well

Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen had a great love of Sligo and his concerts at Lissadell were special to him, given his love of Yeats and Yeats' connection with Sligo.

Writer and director of Between Your Love and Mine, John MacKenna, is equally fond of Sligo - his mother was born here and that side of his family - the Brays - all hailed from the area so that he spent most summers in and around the town.

In 2016 MacKenna and Leonard Cohen, his friend of thirty five years, worked together on creating a Mass for theatre as a response to the deaths by suicide of three young friends of MacKenna's family. The result was Between Your Love and Mine.

The work was completed in October 2016 and three weeks later Leonard Cohen died.

In 2017 the requiem was staged and toured.

President Michael D Higgins attended the première at VISUAL Carlow and invited the cast to perform in Áras an Uachtaráin on Culture Night 2017.

Late last year Robert Kory, Leonard Cohen's manager, suggested the piece be restaged to honour Leonard's 85th birthday and the National Concert Hall was chosen as the venue - that performance sold out some months ago. Five other venues were chosen for performances, among them the Hawk's Well Theatre.

"It's wonderful to be playing Sligo," MacKenna says.

"Leonard had a great love for this area and, for me, it's a bit like coming home."

Between Your Love and Mine, The Hawk's Well, Saturday, September 28th.

Sligo Champion