New Galway theatre company kicks off with play on woman burned as a witchJune 1, 2012 - 7:00am
Galway’s newest theatre company, Thereisbear! is planning to bring play exploring witchcraft to Nuns Island Theatre in Galway City for two nights during August as part of a national tour.
The play the group has chosen for their first national tour is The Last Burning, based on the true story of Tipperary woman Bridget Cleary who was burned alive in 1895 because her husband suspected she was a witch. It was first staged in 1974 . Its author Patrick Galvin is also known for his memoir, Song for a Raggy Boy.
Thereisbear! is a young company with an average age of 21. It was formed by Hannah O’Reilly of Ballinasloe, to create “powerful, vibrant, exciting theatre and bring it to audiences around the country”, and its members are either students or graduates of NUIG and veterans of the University’s Drama Society. The show’s leads include Galway natives Darragh O’Brien as witch-doctor Blaney and Conor Burke as Bridget’s ill-fated husband, Michael.
Some of the cast were involved in the DramSoc production of The Last Burning when they represented NUI Galway at the Irish Student Drama Association (ISDA) festival last year.
“This time around we are going bigger, bolder, and better, and bringing the show to venues all around the country,” says Hannah.
Patrick Galvin died last year and Hannah is keen to raise awareness of one of the Ireland’s least known playwrights, in what she describes as a “culturally significant” play.
Since March, the fledgling theatre company has been raising finance for the tour through the www.fundit.ie website and, with nine days to go, is nearing their set target of €3,000.
“We are coming near the end of our fundraising project and thus far the response has been overwhelmingly wonderful,” says Hannah.
As well as staging the play at the Nun’s Island Theatre on August 5 and 6, the youthful actors intend to bring it to audiences in Cork, Listowel, Ballinasloe, Dublin, and Inishbofin during the month of August.
Further details about the show and tour are available at www.fundit.ie/project/the-last-burning-national-tour.