Students who created a series of successful thought-provoking drama pieces for IT Sligo’s annual Live Art Week say the experience has made them more committed than ever to pursuing careers in creative arts.
Following in Sligo’s tradition of experimental theatre, their incisive performances cast new light on sensitive themes and challenged onlookers to think afresh.
Thanks to co-operation by Sligo’s theatre fraternity at Lower Quay Street, Live Art Week also marked an important departure for IT Sligo because it was the first time that most of the events were held in town centre venues
The 19 third year Performing Arts degree students who staged their work along with video installation artists from the Fine Arts programme used facilities in the rejuvenated dockland home of Blue Raincoats, Sligo Youth Theatre and Branching Out.
Una Mannion, Lecturer in Performing Arts, said that working in the venues’ performance spaces had been an invaluable experience for the students.
“We had interactive installations and solo performance that gave a fresh take on issues such as identity, loss, body-image, the power of words, peer pressure and politics.”
David Kelly (22), from Cavan, said that in “Terrorists?” he was questioning a perception of Palestinians as being the only terrorists in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In it, he sat at a table, clad in an orange jump-suit black and his head hooded while an anti-American audio played and an audience of just one person at a time scrutinised a folder of photos of Israeli attacks in Gaza.
“The piece was much stronger than I ever could have anticipated. People left crying, some thanked me and others left after only being there for 20 seconds. It was incredibly tough and emotionally draining.”
A vacant shop window at Lower Quay Street framed Kimberley Tanoh (20) who was dressed as a doll while an audio track babbled. It portrayed her concern about the irresponsibility of people who talk openly in front of children about adult topics such as sex and drink, crime and other dissolute behaviour, without thinking of the impact on the young listeners.
Kimberley, who describes herself as French and English, currently lives in Co Laois. She said: “Overall, I got very positive feedback from people who saw it. I’m loving my time in Performing Arts where I’m in the actor strand, and I hope to work in theatre after I leave.”
Marsha Fleming, (31) from Co Galway, sat at computer against a background of tangled netting and a projection of virtual reality activity. She “used the imagery of nets to show the entrapment of the individual in the world of the World Wide Web, illustrating how lines of communication are often distorted and lost.”
She said: “My time at IT Sligo has been an opportunity to help me grow as an individual and as a creative artist. Following my studies, I hope to be able to adapt my skills to a creative working environment preferably here in Ireland.”
Click here for more information on the BA in Performing Arts at IT Sligo
Top Right: Marsha Fleming – Caught In The Net – at the launch of Live Art Week by Performing Arts students at IT Sligo, in the Factory Performance Space, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly / PicSell8.