LED BY PHILIPPA DONNELLAN
CREATIVE ASSISTANT AOIFE MOORE
A CLASS AND PERFORMANCE PROJECT FOR WOMEN AGED 18+
19 SEPTEMBER – 4 DECEMBER
We live by the stories we have about our lives; they shape our lives.
(Bearing Witness; Katherine Ley, 2010)
Your turn, your move – your word. What experiences have shaped your life? How have they changed you?
38 WOMEN was a class and performance project developed as part of the public engagement programme of CoisCéim /ANU co-production THESE ROOMS (for more information click here). In keeping with the themes of THESE ROOMS, and drawing on the notion of bearing witness, and the idea that our stories shape our lives, 38 WOMEN set out to interrogate what this means for women – and to explore the physical, social and emotional impact of this on women’s lives and identities today.
38 WOMEN drew together over thirty women of different ages from across Dublin and beyond, and took place at CoisCéim studio and at Collins Barracks, the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History. A rich interdisciplinary process, it involved the women in technical dance practice, thematic research and artistic collaboration to create a series of highly personal choreographic and dramatic narratives. Giving further weight to these narratives, the women were invited to situate their stories in the former army barracks rooms at Collins Barracks, and to respond to this historically male space, as part of the immersive process and final performance.
38 WOMEN | THE CREATIVE PROCESS
“In September we met for the first time. Thirty four women signed up to take part. Some people knew each other well; a few are related – mother and daughter, and sisters. It is a diverse group – half the people are Irish whilst others are from different countries and cultures world-wide. We are aged from 20 to 70 or thereabouts and speak many languages. We have varied jobs, work, and careers – and a range of skills in theatre, movement and performance.
Over the Autumn we began to get to know each other. Together we talk, play, laugh, improvise – and dance. We recount themes we have in common and memories that are uniquely individual, and share experiences we have witnessed as women. Some of the practice sessions take place in ANU’s rehearsal space at Collins Barracks. Since 1997 the barracks have been home to collections of the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History. With such a history of purpose and as an archive and repository of the nation’s stories, it is perhaps fitting that this is the setting for the performance of 38 WOMEN. Slowly we begin to find ways to tell our stories through movement; to embody them and give them life. New stories emerge, choreography is created, and the stories begin to take shape.” – Philippa Donnellan
38 WOMEN | THE PERFORMANCE
38 WOMEN culminated in three site-specific performances by the participants on 3 and 4 December 2016 at National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks.