Commissions & Residencies

Mermaid Space

In Mermaid we ensure we keep artists and audiences at our heart. We believe in the importance of self expression and the right of every citizen to have the opportunity to be part of and engage in cultural activity. Mermaid Space is our residency programme which helps us ensure we’re not just a centre which shows work but also a space where work is created, where it is made.

Our residencies confirm our commitment to supporting artists to make work in Wicklow and we’re particularly interested in work that is relevant to our day to day lives. We also endeavour to support the work of artists around the country because we understand the importance of connectivity and partnership in ensuring success. This season we will expand existing relationships as well as introduce ourselves and you to new artists and their work.

Laura Kelly Residency

We're delighted to have had artist Laura Kelly in residence in our gallery space in May and June.

Laura Kelly used her gallery residency to make large scale constructed drawings.

She views drawing as an experimental act that can animate a space. Her aim is to create an engagement with drawing as a physical event rather than just as a carrier of images.

Her work moves between the two and three-dimensional. During the residency, she will use assemblages of materials that evoke imaginary landscapes combining both abstract and representational imagery. She will reconfigure elements from the pictorial landscape tradition including vignettes, panoramas, interrupted horizon lines and variations in scale.

Laura Kelly will be exhibiting in Mermaid in early 2022.


Mary Coughlan Theatre Residency

Mary Coughlan and her collaborators Johnny Taylor on piano, Barry Donohue on double bass, Dominic Mullen on drums and Dermot Dunne on accordion used their time in Mermaid's theatre to rehearse 10 songs that will feature in a new upcoming theatre show MIRRORS

James Kelly, a documentarian and filmmaker spent one of the days photographing the rehearsals and conducting interviews with Mary Coughlan and Johnny Taylor who is the MD on this project.

During this time the group also scheduled in a Zoom meeting with Brokentalkers and had the opportunity to record the session with sound artist Eoin Murphy.


GROOVE - Anna Newell Theatre Adventures in association with the Network For Extraordinary Audiences

GROOVE is the first production in our Network For Extraordinary Audiences 2021 Season [www.extraordinaryaudiences.com] in collaboration with 6 other venues across Ireland and theatremaker Anna Newell [www.annanewell.ie].

GROOVE is Mermaid's offsite performance for the pupils and staff of Marino School, Bray. GROOVE is a chilled out 70’s inspired happening for audiences of children and young people with complex needs and is full of blissful harmony singing and soothing immersive video.


Jody O'Neill Commission - What the Telly Saw - Development Week

Wicklow-based playwright Jody O’Neill and team were in Mermaid In June workshopping “What the Telly Saw”.

This new play was commissioned by Mermaid through commissioning funds from Arts Council Ireland, with directorial support from Lynne Parker at Rough Magic Theatre Company and dramaturgical support from Louise Stephens at the Abbey Theatre. Workshop cast includes: Venetia Bowe, Brian Doherty, Andrea Irvine, Niamh McAllister, Aidan Moriarty and Jack Mullarkey.

The initial development of this work was supported by Irish Theatre Institute through a workshop facilitated by Javier Daulte

The play will explore family dynamics, memory, abuse and the ripple effect that abuse can have, generation to generation, parent to child, sibling to sibling. Jody drafted the play in the early part of 2021 and now, in June, Mermaid is providing space for a development week for the piece, with a view to bringing a final draft to fruition later in the Summer.

Speaking about the commission, Jody O’Neill said: 'I'm really excited about embarking on this commission with Mermaid. Particularly at this time, it means so much as a freelance artist to be supported by the Arts Council in setting out to write an ambitious new piece of work, with the hope that very soon all our theatres will be able to open their doors to audiences again.'