Commissions & Residencies

Mermaid Space

Artists and audiences are at the heart of Mermaid Arts Centre. We believe in the importance of self-expression and the importance of artists making new work in Wicklow and our residency programme is how we make this happen. We are most interested in work that relates or is relevant to our everyday lives.

In 2018 we will work with three Dance Artists in Residence (supported by The Arts Council of Ireland and Wicklow County Council Arts Office): Karen Gleeson, Aisling O’Coineen and Aoife McAtamney. We started early in the new year with Aoife and collaborators on 11th January with a showing of new work (some parts still in development) called Pink Breath And The Sung Essays. Aoife used the text of Audre Lorde's 1977 speech 'The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action' as a guide for what was an intimate evening where Aoife, through music and dance, shared short stories of reconciliation and connection.

We are also beyond pleased to be again supporting the work of two amazing artists from Wicklow; Oonagh Murphy and Camille Lucy Ross. Oonagh, has just closed a massively successful run of TRIBES in The Gate Theatre and has partnered with the wonderful composer Maeve Stone and came to Mermaid for a week to work on the development of a new piece called The Mouth of a Shark. They worked with sound artist Alma Kelleher and dance artist Liv O’Donoghue researching and developing this piece which counterpoints Irish emigration stories with the contemporary experiences of those seeking asylum here in Ireland, asking us all to bear witness to the many reasons we migrate, and question; Where do we get to call home?. The work premiered in March 2018 in Dublin as part of Where We Live, produced by THISISPOPBABY with St. Patricks Festival.

Camille Lucy Ross has also just completed a very successful run with her piece How to be Angry in The Fringe Festival in 2017. Mermaid partnered with her to get an Arts Council bursary for her to start to develop a brand-new piece. Camille has been in and around Mermaid for the first six months of the year as she writes and works with a mentor and with collaborators to structure and devise her new work – watch this space as we really want to present her work in our summer or autumn season.

Part of the way Mermaid resources artists is we ensure we partner and collaborate with other arts organisations. In 2017 and running through 2018, Junk Ensemble, Brokentalkers, Mermaid Arts Centre all led by Dance Ireland are working together on a pilot project called Shared Arts Producer. Together we have engaged an independent producer called Gwen van Spijk of Cue LLP to work towards ensuring Junk Ensemble and Brokentalkers have increased production, capacity and reach. In particular the aim is to support each company to create one new work in 2018 with plans and applications for new work in 2019 as well as targeting UK and European festival bookings for their existing repertoire. (Funded through The Arts Council’s Shared Resource Scheme)

The fabulous and ever so talented Theatre Lovett (Muireann Ahern and Louis Lovett) started as our Theatre Artists in Residence in January with two workshops. The first with Mr Sands a newly formed Youth Theatre in Bray. They joined Muireann and Louis in the workshop ‘How do Actor’s Play?’. The lucky participants were brought through the actor’s journey on stage: how to take hold of the moment, how to look forward to the moment coming next and, most importantly, how to look back – to the moments of play that children understand, and that adults can remember and learn from. In this workshop Theatre Lovett introduced participants to their own style of performance – one that embraces the mischievous spirit of play. The second workshop is currently being planned. Watch this space.

And lastly, but not least, Hugh Farrell, local Bray theatre-maker with support from the Arts Council will start working in the new year on a series of events, pieces and happenings called Made in Bray...Bré, this is part of exciting new collective of local artists and musicians led by Hugh making a little magic happen with a host of projects popping up where you least expect them. Keep your eyes peeled and expect to be surprised and charmed!

Made in Mermaid

Writer Kate Heffernan has been working in Mermaid on a part-time basis over the past year, financed by the Arts Council’s Next Generation Bursary, which supports artists at an early stage of their career. Kate has worked on three new pieces of writing. Our present focus is a piece called Peat (with previous support from The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children, Dublin). On a peatland plain on the edge of an island, a boy and girl meet to bury a cat in its preserving earth. As they sit and dig the boggy grave, they play a game of Would You Rather?, and what follows is a conversation about life, fate, extinction, migration, mortality. A slant on Hamlet’s gravediggers for young audiences, Peat is a metaphysical conversation rooted in the world and perspective of two 12 year olds. Mermaid aims to produce this new work for ages 9+ and present it around the country in Autumn 2018.

Mermaid partnered with THISISPOPBABY to commission artist Peter Daly to create Money; a brand new work, written and performed by Peter that premiered in March 2018 also as part of Where We Live, produced by THISISPOPBABY with St. Patricks Festival. On the ten year anniversary of the ‘Cheapest Bailout in the World’, acclaimed performer and Chartered Accountant Peter Daly will get to grip with what actually happened on the path to, and beyond, that fateful day in 2008. Money will chart his miscalculations along the way and the changing concept of cash in this one-man, breakneck, performance-lecture show. Jaw-dropping in its discoveries, hilarious in its presentation and infuriating in its facts, Money unearths the gob-smacking truths about the flow of cash throughout the history of our state.