ON SATURDAY May 17 at the Town Hall Theatre, eight short new theatre pieces will be presented by eight individual artists, as part of the theatre development project, Volition.
Each performance will last no more than 15 minutes and all are extracts from longer pieces currently in development.
JOLT launched Volition in September, and it attracted 40 applications from across the country, before the final eight - six Galway, one Clare, and one Cork artist - were selected to participate in the Galway-based programme which focuses on theatre making.
Throughout the past nine months, participants have attended weekend workshops, performances, post-show discussions, and meetings with mentors. The aim of the programme is to allow theatre makers the space and support to develop their own methods and ideas for creating original new theatre.
Performances on the night will delve into themes of lost recordings, the modern emigrant experience, a search for help, the consequences of extreme parenting methods, and a trip to the ‘other side’. JOLT producer and Volition mentor Róisín Stack refers to the evening as ‘a sort of selection box of ideas from eight brilliant artists.’
Among the participants are Mephisto Theatre’s Caroline Lynch and Emma O’Grady; Siobhán Donnellan, Cathal Leonard, Eve Vaughan, Danielle DeStefano, Martin Maguire, and Cork’s Evan Lordan. Although experienced and acclaimed in their own right, with a string of performances to their names, the Volition artists are now putting their own original solo projects on the line, on the stage, under the lights for the first time.
JOLT was founded by Roisin Stack and Craig Flaherty in 2011 to provide support and development opportunities for theatre makers in the west.
“It initially grew out of an Open Space Theatre Forum meeting in 2010,” Flaherty explains. “There were a lot of young Galway companies coming out of NUIG and the discussion started about the difficulties of getting funding and support to make work and develop an audience and tour.
“Myself and Roisin started out to programme a season in the Town Hall studio that would be curated and endorsed by the Town Hall and JOLT. We maintain constant contact with the artists we work with on how we can address artists’ needs.
“Last year we held a producing strand so we’ve focused on different facets of theatre making each year. With Volition we had the idea to do a long term programme of theatre development for both established and non-established artists who wanted to develop a piece of work over a period of time with a support network around them.”
Flaherty admits to being surprised at how JOLT has developed so far.
“It’s grown into a much bigger entity than we ever imagined,” he said. “We wouldn’t have thought of running a nine-month project like Voilition three years ago. We’ve got a really great bunch of artists this year who are making very interesting work. The works featuring in the Town Hall will go on to full scale production in due course.”
The group dynamic of eight artists working together has been a key component of the process, Flaherty reveals.
“We wanted to have people from different theatrical backgrounds,” he says. “We felt it would be good for people who had different practices to discuss and share them with each other which would then maybe give them a different viewpoint on their own work. That’s worked out fantastically over the process, both in the room and in the workshops. We’re very pleased about how it has all gone.”