NEXT WEEK, in NUI Galway’s Bank of Ireland Theatre, the Bohermore Youth Drama Group take to the stage for two nights only with their new show, What If?
Through various scenes and snippets, both devised and adapted from well known dramas like Dancing at Lughnasa, the cast explore what it is like to be a young Irish person now, and what may help or prevent one from fulfilling their hopes and aspirations.
Built around Shakespeare’s age old idea of ‘the play’s the thing’ this group of young people use performance to play out what it would be like to be from ‘a different time, a different place with a different head space’.
Bohermore Youth Drama Group was first established six years ago and is part of Bohermore Youth Development Project. The group is run by Maria Tivnan, artistic director of Fregoli Theatre Company, and she oversees three sets of drama classes every week with the group, catering for age groups from four years old to teenagers.
What If? is the BYDG’s fourth annual production to be staged at the Bank of Ireland Theatre. Tivnan explains how the show came together.
“We were doing snippets from different plays and musicals, everything from Grease to Dancing at Lughnasa,” she begins. “I noticed the kids couldn’t understand why, in Lughnasa, it was such a big deal for someone to be an unmarried mother so we were discussing the history and context of that.
“From those discussions there emerged the idea of ‘what if’ you were from these different places and times where different conditions and rules applied. The kids came up with the initial idea and from there we did a lot of improvisation work around those ideas and also on what things affect their own daily thoughts and feelings – what teachers say and parents say for instance. The show grew naturally out of those kinds of ideas.
“The show is a combination of scenes from established scripts alongside several devised passages. We tried to get out of them what they would like to achieve with their lives and they express that in the course of the show. There’s a slide show of visual images as well which adds another dimension.
“Altogether there is a cast of 14 involved in the production which is about 40 minutes long. This is our fourth time doing a show in NUIG and we’ve had really good support from the university over the past few years which has been great for everyone involved in the group.”
What If? will be performed on Wednesday April 10 and Thursday 11 at 8pm in the Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUIG. Admission is €7/5.