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Siobhán scoops top awards at Cork writers’ week

A PLAY written by Mountshannon native Siobhán Donnellan has scooped not one but three prestigious awards at Cork’s Arts Theatre Writers’ Week.
Her one-act play Chasing Butterflies won the best director award for Aoife Connolly, best female actor award for Siobhán Donnellan and best male actor award for Martin Maguire as well as a nomination for best male actor for Fiachra Ó Dubhghaill.
The awards were announced on Saturday on the final night of writers’ week. The play debuted at the festival but Siobhán is hopeful that they will be able to stage Chasing Butterflies in Clare as well as other parts of the country.
“I’m absolutely thrilled, I didn’t have a clue we would win, I was thrilled just to get on the shortlist. I only found out during the week that there were production and performance awards as well as the writer’s award. Just to get to perform on stage was fantastic, winning the awards was an added bonus,” the 33-year-old said.
Siobhán is foremost an actor, having won an outstanding actor award at the New York Fringe festival in 2007. Although she has done some writing in the past, this was the first one-act play she has written entirely on her own. “My heart lies in acting, I just love performing but I have to say that writing this play has been a fantastic experience. Writing is very much a new departure for me but it’s great as an outlet for me to generate my own work to perform, I don’t have to wait for work to come to me.
“I did a course in Belfast three months ago and there was a module on it about creating your own work. I think that’s what really gave me the confidence to give it a go. Until then, I hadn’t realised I could just go out and take the bull by the horns. With this play, it’s been a different journey to anything else I’ve acted in and it’s been an interesting journey.”
Chasing Butterflies was performed twice during writers’ week, along with the other shortlisted plays for the awards. The play is a short performance-driven piece in interlocking monologues. It centres on Annie Caryford’s only daughter Mary, who goes missing, Big Story Hannigan has a tale to tell but will it have a happy ending? With Annie’s nephew JJ, the local garda on the search, Annie recalls the night’s events leading to Mary’s disappearance.
“We really enjoyed putting the play together and performing it. It was great to have it staged in Cork but we would definitely love to bring it home to Clare and to Galway where Aoife is from. The play was born out of the writing competition, which is why it was staged there first, but we would definitely love to perform elsewhere,” said Siobhán.

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