Here we are again still

Artist Name(s) Christian O'Reilly
Artwork title Here we are again still
Context/Background The Walter Macken apartments are located in Mervue, one of the oldest suburbs in Galway City. The apartment blocks are some of the oldest social housing developments in Galway. In 2004 refurbishment of the 96 dwellings began. The refurbishment works included the replacement of the flat roofs, the installation of energy efficient central heating, plumbing, rewiring, internal refurbishment and the upgrading of the general environment of the estate. The remedial works were completed in 2005.

The apartments are named after one of Galway's most renowned literary figures, Walter Macken. Mungo's Mansion, written in 1947 by Walter Macken, was drawn from the stories of families who lived in the tenement buildings opposite the Taibhdhearc. Through this play Walter Macken developed a style which would be prevalent throughout his life's work, which involved the use of personal biography, elements of stories he was a told, and personal traits of the people he met and lived with: the story of ordinary people.

The aim of the commission was to reflect on this context through a new theatre commission which would encourage the development of local theatre, to engage with the local community in Walter Macken Place and to publicly disseminate a new play of lasting quality, providing a unique insight into the context of Walter Macken Place and Galway.

Description

In Spring 2008, Megs Morley, Public Arts Officer at Galway City Council, commissioned the artist to write a play as a Per Cent for Art project at Walter Macken Place, Mervue, Galway. Walter Macken Place is a social housing development of 96 apartments, the majority of which are occupied by elderly residents.

O'Reilly decided to organise a series of story-telling sessions so that the stories of the residents could inspire or form the basis of the play. This would also enable residents to participate in the process and to feel part of the project.

To promote the project and to invite residents to attend the story-telling sessions, Morley and O'Reilly called door to door, distributed flyers and also liaised with Sonas, an organisation for the care of the elderly, which is housed in Walter Macken Place.

Catherine Simon, a drama and story facilitator, was brought in to run the story-telling sessions and O'Reilly attended each one, armed with pen, paper and tape-recorder. The sessions were held at the local GAA hall. They ran during the summer of 2008 and that Autumn O'Reilly began work on a play.

When the play was ready, O'Reilly approached Andrew Flynn to direct it with a view to a co-production with Galway Arts Centre. The play, Here we are again still, was staged at Nun's Island theatre, Galway.

Biographies

Born in London and brought up in Listowel, Christian O'Reilly writes for theatre, film, television and radio. His one-act play, It Just Came Out, was staged by Druid as part of its Debut series (2001). His first full-length play, The Good Father, produced by Druid and directed by Garry Hynes (Galway Arts Festival 2002, national tour 2003), was the joint winner of the 2002 Stewart Parker Trust New Playwright Bursary. His most recent play, Is this about Sex?, was produced by Rough Magic and directed by Lynne Parker for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the 50th Dublin Theatre Festival (2007). It received the ZeBBIE for Best Theatre Script at the 2008 Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild Awards. Other plays include Problem Solvers Anonymous and It Won't Be Great When I'm Not Here (Dublin Fringe Festival 2004). For youth theatre he has written Treble, commissioned by Abbey Outreach, and Teacher for Galway Youth Theatre (Galway Arts Festival 2005).

For radio (RTÉ, Lyric FM, BBC) he has written The Play, Chapatti, My Spanish Countess Granny and an adaptation of The Good Father. His screen credits include On Home Ground (RTE), three short films (The Birthday, The Kiss of Life and The Ring) and Inside I'm Dancing, a feature film based on his original story. Inside I'm Dancing won the Audience Award for Best Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival (2004) and two Irish Film and Television Awards for Best Script (2004) and Best Irish Film (2005). Christian lives in Galway with his wife, Ailbhe Slevin.

Commission Type The Arts Council,Local Authority
Commissioner Name Galway City Council
Commissioning process Direct commission
Project commission dates March 1, 2008 - October 31, 2009
Public Presentation dates September 22, 2009 - October 31, 2009
Partners Galway Arts Centre
Artform Theatre
Art Practice Arts Participation
Funded By Galway City Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 35000 - 70000 euro
Project commission start date 01/03/2008
Project commission end date 31/10/2009
Location Walter Macken Place
County Galway
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Content contributor(s) Megs Morley
Relationship to project Public Art Officer, Galway City Council
Public engagement

The residents of Walter Macken Place, the Communtiy of Mervue, Galway, and the wider public of Galway City. The play will also tour Limerick City and Listowel, Kerry.

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Catherine Simon, Professional Drama Facillitator
Andrew Flynn, Professional Theatre Director

Opportunities

plus

Per cent for art commission | N5 Westport to Turlough Road

27 October 2022

Mayo County Council under the Per Cent for Art Scheme invite artist(s) to submit proposals for a public art commission. Proposals are welcome from...More..

more opportunities

Focus On

plus

Pathway

Nazareth Housing Association provides independent living houses for individuals and couples who are 65 and over and on the Sligo County Council housing list.  Nazareth Village is comprised of 48 houses in a garden setting.  The Village was financed as a public-private partnership between Nazareth Housing Association and Sligo County Council with funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.  

more about this article