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Founding members of Wayword Theatre, Siobhan Donnellan, Eavan Brennan and Ruth Smith who have produced a radio play entitled “To Myself: Before” a Collection of Individual Reflections on 2020, A Year Like No Other. Photograph by John Kelly

Dramatists explore impact of pandemic in new radio play

A RADIO play which prompts people to look at their lives before the Covid-19 pandemic will be broadcast this Saturday, June 5, with the support of Mountshannon Arts.
To Myself; Before, will air on Scariff Bay Community Radio, and is a production of WayWord Theatre, founded by Clare-based artists Eavan Brennan, Siobhán Donnellan and Ruth Smith.
As inspiration for the production, WayWord put out a call to members of the public inviting submissions in the form of letters asking what they would have told themselves had they known a global pandemic was on the horizon.
According to the trio, the responses were as varied as they were surprising and encompassed a huge emotional spectrum.
The radio play comprises pieces of text from the submissions and will air on Scariff Bay Community Radio on Saturday at 8pm. The special broadcast will include a live pre- and post-show discussion with the WayWord three.
The work of WayWord Theatre is inspired by the personal and the political. Their debut production, Get the Boat, which was written by Eavan Brennan, debuted at the Limerick Fringe Festival in 2018 and featured Brennan and Donnellan in the roles of Bridget  and Gráinne. Ruth Smith directed.
The play was subsequently invited to the prestigious Off-Broadway venue SoHo Playhouse in New York City for a five-week run which garnered critical acclaim.
WayWord subsequently featured as part of Mountshannon Arts 2019 with a rehearsed reading of John Pielmeier’s Agnes of God, directed by Clare-based theatre practitioner, Paul Brennan.
Eavan Brennan is a writer and performer from East Clare. Having studied with Jacques LeCoq in Paris she became a company member with Footsbarn Travelling Theatre and toured with them throughout Europe with their productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare, “L’Homme Qui Rit” by Victor Hugo and “Sorry!” by Pierre Byland as well as various parades and cabaret performances including A Shakespeare Party and Christmas Cracker for Shakespeare’s Globe in London. Her film and TV credits include Ros na Rún, Adharca Fada and The Clinic.
Siobhán Donnellan, also hails from East Clare and is a writer, actor and producer. She won the Outstanding Actor Award at the New York International Fringe in 2007 for her role as Jo in Shona McCarthy’s Married to the Sea.
Her plays include For the Birds (Cherry Lane Theatre, New York Fringe 2010), Chasing Butterflies, (Winner of three production awards Cork Arts Theatre 2010), In the Garden (Galway Theatre Festival 2011), The Mire commissioned by Birr Arts Theatre 2012, Made to Measure (Winner of Scripts 2013) and Going Spare (Theatre Upstairs, Dublin) development funded by the Arts Council of Ireland 2015.
Four of her plays have been adapted for radio funded by the BAI Sound & Vision Scheme. In 2017 her short film, Deflated, was shortlisted for the RTÉ/Galway Film Centre Short Film Commission. Siobhán is also a story writer with RTE soap Fair City.
Ruth Smith is a performer, radio and TV broadcaster and musician based in East Clare. She presents Simply Folk on RTÉ Radio 1 every Sunday evening. A multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter, Ruth has performed at Doolin Folk Festival, Temple Bar TradFest and Body & Soul along with the folk trio The Evertides.
Ruth’s onstage performances include the role of ex-girlfriend with Landmark Productions 2017 run of Once, the musical, at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin.
She was a member of the original cast for THISISPOPBABY’s sell out show RIOT as part of The Dublin Fringe Festival 2016.
More details of To Myself; Before are available on Mountshannonarts.ie. To hear the play, tune in to Scariff Bay Community Radio or log on to Scariffbayradio.com

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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