Commissions & Residencies

In 2014 Mermaid SPACE a residency programme running from June to September 2014 was introduced at Mermaid Arts Centre. For the first year of summer residencies the focus is on performance – dance and theatre. The residencies vary in length of time, space and level of support and are divided into three basic types; Research and Development, Creation and Production. Four artists from Wicklow and further afield have been invited to work in residence from June to September.

Research and Development Residency – Four weeks

Aine Stapleton is a choreographer and dancer. She is in the process of creating an original dance piece called Dear Baby, based on the life and writings of Lucia Joyce, daughter of James Joyce. Lucia was a talented dancer, musician and writer whose work unfortunately was mostly destroyed after her death. Aine has permission to creatively use much of what remains of Lucia’s papers, including diary extracts and family letters. The piece will be presented as part of Wicklow Council Arts Office Programme 2014 and also supported by Dance Ireland’s Residency Support Award. Aine will work with various artists including Jose Miguel Jimenez to blend film, music, environment and dance to express Lucia’s story. Aine is of interest to Mermaid and its audience not just as a Wicklow artist or because there is a direct connection with Bray (Lucia holidayed in the town), but because she engages in contemporary themes of gender and politics. Aine will be looking at what it can mean to be ill, to be misunderstood and also what it means to be free.

Creation Residency – Four weeks

Gary Keegan and Feidlim Cannon (Brokentalkers) are developing their new work Future Forecasts, with artists Jessica Kennedy and Sean Millar. The piece will feature a group of senior citizens (from Wicklow and South County Dublin) and will explore their hopes, dreams and fears for the future; from robots taking over the world to aging, health, faith and the right to die. This piece will bear witness to the real experiences of the men and women in the cast and therefore like all of Gary and Feidlim’s work will deal with difficult issues in a real and personal way.  They, and their collaborators, will weave alternate experiences into a story in a way that helps us as an audience to look at things we normally don’t hear or see, to give us a new perspective. Future Forecasts will be developed and presented in Mermaid before it plays in Dublin Theatre Festival 2014.

Production Residency – One Week

Shaun Dunne (with Aisling Byrne and Lisa Walsh) are working as part of Talking Shop Ensemble on a new work called Advocacy. The piece explores the subject of choice and our ability to self-advocate. In his research Shaun has been largely inspired by the inner workings of a disability service, the people who work there and the conflicts of choice that is part of their daily lives. Shaun is collaborating with a special needs facilitator, Aisling Byrne of John of Gods Kildare, service for Adults with intellectual Disabilities. Her work focuses on decision making and guidance for people with varying intellectual ability – giving them the understanding of consequence and importance of speaking up and having their opinions heard. Talking Shop are interested in these issues as they believe it holds an interesting parallel for Ireland and young people today. Talking Shop are supported by Dublin Fringe Festival and Advocacy will be presented in Mermaid on 23rd August before moving to Dublin Fringe Festival in September 2014.

Past residencies and commissions have included:

John Abercrombie, Michael Buckley, Cora Venus Lunny & Redmond O’Toole, Rex Levitates, Wonderland Productions, Tarab Niwel, Tsumbu & Roger Doyle, Fiona Hallinan, Swimming Naked Prohecy, Aideen Barry, and Ciaran Taylor – Carpet Theatre Company.