Meeting House

Artist Name(s) Tom Lane, Maeve Stone & Rory Grubb
Artwork title Meeting House
Context/Background Commissioned as part of the Secrets of Offaly public art programme. A site-specific performance accompanied by an installation which transformed the Friend’s meeting house in Clara, Co Offaly into a playable instrument.

The story of the 'Goodbody Family Legacy' in Clara was illustrated with a unique approach as members of the Clara Musical Society performed a specifically composed choral piece of music by Tom Lane. Friend’s Meeting House, their rehearsal space, was transformed with an elaborate yet functional installation.

Collaborating alongside Clara Musical Society on the project was Tom Lane; a composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist, who’s most recent work includes composition and scoring of Oedipus by Wayne Jordan in the Abbey Theatre. Director Maeve Stone researched and wrote a documentary script, working closely with the group to devise an intimate site-specific performance. Dublin-based sound artist and composer Rory Grubb used his expertise to design and construct the large-scale sound installation, transforming the space into a playable building for the musical society.

The audiences was initially heard spoken extracts from Robert Goodbody’s memoirs, before being seated in the main room. Upon entering the room the scale of the installation was revealed. The interior of the room was strung like a giant jute harp, behind which the singers performed. With the setting beautifully lit to create a rich atmosphere, the performance reflected echoes of the Goodbody family’s establishment of industrial and architectural heritage of Clara.

The installation was in place for a month at the Meeting House and visitors could try their hand at playing the giant, jute harp strings during that time. 

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Tom Lane, an award-winning sound designer and composer with a specialism in site-specific performance and installation. He studied composition at Balliol College Oxford, the London Royal Academy of Music and the Berlin University of Arts and is currently a PhD candidate in Composition for Theatre at University College Cork. In September 2014 his piece “Harp, A River Cantata” transformed the Samuel Beckett Bridge into a giant harp using over 150 performers. Most recently his score for “Oedipus” premiered at the Abbey Theatre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. In July 2014 he collaborated with Maeve Stone, Rory Grubb and the Australian company Chamber Made Opera to create “WAKE”, an intimate chamber opera performance in a domestic house commissioned by of Limerick City of Culture. 

Maeve Stone, originally from Limerick, graduated from Trinity College Dublin with an honours degree in English and Theatre. She founded and ran Spilt Gin Theatre Company with playwright James Hickson from 2009 – 2011. She left to take a position as resident assistant director at The Abbey Theatre. Following this she became associate director with Pan Pan Theatre and tours internationally with the company. She is a literary reader for the Abbey and has a keen interest in dramatic adaptation of literary and historical texts. Maeve has created a narrative that leads the audience on a journey through an installation of playable, interactive jute, and a central performance that takes its cues from the structure of Quaker meetings. 

Rory Grubb is an experimental musician who builds his own instruments, tapping sound from the most unexpected of sources. Having studied architecture, he has an innovative approach to both design and music; he has developed a unique spatial approach to sound that pushes the boundaries of conventional performance. His experience in these fields has been key in transforming the Clara Meeting House into a sound world. Having produced music to critical acclaim, Sketches From The Big Sleep (2009), Grubb has toured his music extensively in Ireland, Canada, the UK and Spain. He is currently touring Ireland with his custom-built ‘Electric Ceramophone’ - a unique, large-scale instrument made solely from tuned clay pots.

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Offaly County Council
Commissioning process Open Submission
Project commission dates January 26, 2015 - November 28, 2015
Partners Clara Musical Society
Artform Music,Other
Art Practice Arts Participation
Funded By Offaly County Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 0 - 10000 euro
Project commission start date 26/01/2015
Project commission end date 28/11/2015
Location Clara
County Offaly
Town Clara
Content contributor(s) Editor and Offaly County Council Arts Office



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