Story Commission

Mermaid Arts Centre is delighted to be working with storytellers Masako Carey, Máirín Mhic Lochlainn, Seosamh Ó Maolalaí, Colin Urwin & Órla Mc Govern on a collaborative story commission project.

This project is kindly supported by The Arts Council.

Colin Urwin

Described as '..keeping alive the tradition of the Seanchaí', Colin Urwin is a folk singer, songwriter and storyteller from Co. Antrim. He is well known locally and performs at venues and festivals all over Ireland, the UK and further afield. As well as his beautifully woven stories drawn from the local legend and folklore of his beloved Glens of Antrim, Colin tells many traditional Irish and Scottish folk tales.

In March 2021 he released his first collection of original songs, A Kind of Love Song, and in July two albums of magical stories entitled The Madman's Window and The Swan Maiden. He has written a book of folk tales which is due for publication in 2022 with Orkneyology Press.

"Colin can do something the rest of us cannot do: he can write an original story and make it sound like it's an ancient tale. His talent for interweaving story and song ensures his work is authentic and original."

Liz Weir MBE, Master Storyteller, Children's Librarian, Author and Director of the Glens Storytelling Festival.

Masako Carey

Masako Carey was born in Tokyo, Japan. She is trained as a kindergarten teacher, interpreter, and cultural trainer. She met her Irish born husband through business and came to Northern Ireland 20 years ago. She always loved reading but also watching animated Japanese folktale stories on TV as a child. The combination of her experience as kindergarten teacher and the influence of the world of animation gives Masako an expressive telling style. Her increasing repertoire of traditional Japanese tales, some comical, some serious, is now expanding to include tales from around the world. She recently completed a National Open College Network Level 2 qualification in oral storytelling, a course supported by funding from Libraries NI.

Máirín Mhic Lochlainn

Tóigeadh Máirín i Ros a’ Mhíl i gCo. Na Gaillimhe, agus tá cónaigh anois uirthi i mBaile na mBrabhach. Siad na scéalta Fiannaíochta a rogha scéil, ach insíonn sí scéalta beaga agus móra eile an traidisiúin Ghaelaí chomh maith, agus cumann sí corr cheann freisin. As she herself, she often went to bed listening the sound (in her imagination) of the Seolta Móra pucóideacha pacóideacha been hoisted. Is aisteoir í Máirín chomh maith, agus tá sí páirteach le Aisteoirí Chois Fharraige. She also does drama with schools – national and 2nd level, mostly adapting old stories for the stage. Tells stories in schools, libraries and festivals (Internalional Storytelling in Farmleigh, Three Rivers International Storytelling). Tugann sí léachtanna ó am go chéile faoi na cuid scéalta – in áiteacha ar nós Acadamh na hOllscoilíochta Gaeilge agus Ollscoil Aberystwyth.

Seosamh Ó Maolalaí

Seosamh is a real Dub – his mother is a Coughlan from Cork and his father was a Lally from Roscommon! Seosamh spent 17 years, from 1983 to 2000, telling stories in Dublin’s public libraries – in Coolock, Donaghmede and Ballymun. Since leaving the wonderful public libraries for pastures new, he has worked part-time as a storyteller, telling tales to the young and young-at-heart in schools, libraries, community centres and all kinds of spaces, indoor and outdoor.

Seosamh has experience telling to pre-school children, primary and secondary school children and to adults. He has also told stories to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Insíonn Seosamh scéalta i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge. Seosamh tells in English and in Irish. Insíonn sé gach saghas scéal – scéalta grinn, scéalta béaloidis na hÉireann agus na cruinne, eachtraí, rannta agus amhráin. He tells all kinds of tales – funny stories, Irish and international folk tales, anecdotes, rhymes and song stories.

Bhí fear ann fadó agus fadó a bhí agus beidh go deo agus tá Seosamh pósta ar Elma, Corcaíoch Iartharach, agus tá triúr clainne acu. ‘Sé sin a leithscéal agus má tá bréag ann bíodh.

Órla Mc Govern

Órla Mc Govern is a performer, maker, teller and writer based in the West of Ireland. She is Artistic Director of The Spontaneous Theatre People & The Sky Babies, Galway, a trustee of Theatre 57 and a member of the artist collective Interface Inagh. As a performer she has worked extensively in scripted and improvised theatre around the world, as well as acting and improvising for film, tv and radio. Most recent screen appearance was as Patricia Kelly in Len Collin's multi-award winning 'Sanctuary'. As an actor she lived, trained and worked extensively in the US for many years and was an original member of Improv groups: Seattle goga, Seattle Neutrino Project, and Spolin Players Seattle. She also had the pleasure of performing with Edge Bainbridge, Jet City Improv, Unexpected Productions, and many others in the US. In scripted theatre she has worked at the likes of The Abbey Theatre, Red Kettle, Punchbag, Glasshouse and numerous others in Ireland.