“And, most dear actors, eat no onions or garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath; and I do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy.” — William Shakespeare, A Midsummer’s Night's Dream.
I first meet Jess Murphy from Kai Café and Restaurant a couple of years ago at a pop-up restaurant event in Ard Bia. That the food was not great hardly mattered, I was very taken with the straight-talking Kiwi and that night I made a good friend. We have shared many meals together, both good and bad, since then. Knowing how generous she is it came as no surprise when she told me about an event she was planning for Blue Teapot.
For those of you not familiar, Blue Teapot Theatre Company is a local theatre company and performing arts school with a difference. Formed in 1996, they create quality, professional, theatre productions and provide a place where actors with an intellectual disability can achieve excellence. They are currently faced with the challenge of raising €12,000 in 21 days as part of a Fundit campaign to stage their new show, iD which is due to premiere at this year’s Galway Arts Festival. iD is an innovative and entertaining production. It means identity, identification, but is also an acronym for intellectual disability (ID). iD experiences the world as seen through the eyes of people with intellectual disability and also questions our perceptions of identity along the way.
“Blue Teapot does amazing work for people with intellectual disability, and I really wanted to support them,” said Jess. “My business thrives on the local support I receive. I truly believe that we all need to work together to build a positive community spirit and help each other.” The concept of a pop-up restaurant in the theatre was proposed. Once the idea was born, a host of chefs and suppliers all offered to donate their time and products free of charge for the event.
Enda McEvoy, whose new restaurant LOAM (not to be confused with popular 'young persons' acronym LMAO) is due to open this summer, was first to offer his services and foraging skills. Enda particularly empathises with the work Blue Teapot does, as his own older brother has Down syndrome. Both Jess and Enda have a passion for creating these temporary events, short-lived experiences that create powerful and lasting memories, and have a love of theatre and arts in common also. Together they have created a stunning five course menu with paired wines that reflects one of the theatre's past performances, the delightfully whimsical A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Petal Pilley, director of Blue Teapot, was thrilled with the idea and the support of the local community.
Also contributing is Louise Bannon of Noma (listed again recently as the best restaurant in the world), making a little detour on her way to Ballymaloe Litfest to provide the dessert course. Aran McMahon will kick the evening off with Café Rua's signature rhubarb bellinis. Taking a break from the campaign trail, cheese on the evening will be compliments of Seamus Sheridan, and wines from Enrico Fantasia from Grape Circus at Sheridan’s Cheesemongers.
Brady's butchers, Morton's of Galway, and Cuinneog are donating a host of ingredients with Lough Boora Farm donating all the fabulous greens and floral garnishes needed for this midsummer menu. You will be treated to the first of the season wild salmon from Gannet Fishmongers and sent home on a high with coffee from Urban Grind.
This event could not happen without the kindness of the long list of people all offering to donate their time, money, and produce for this once-off fabulous evening. With such a collection of talent in the kitchen the results are sure to be spectacular and hopefully profitable. Ultimately it will be the diners who reap the rewards, the only challenge is booking a table before they are all gone.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream pop-up will take place on Friday May 16 at 7.30pm. To book your place call Blue Teapot Theatre on 091 520977, places are limited and cost €75. This includes a five course meal with wine. All funds raised on the night go towards the Fundit campaign.