Three live performances @ Waterford Museum of Treasures, Choristers’ Hall.
The Possession Project will be performed in the Chorister’s Hall, Waterford Museum of Treasures as part of the Imagine Festival on Thursday 27th October at 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock.
Please note that the production involves moving and flashing lights. Admission is free but tickets must be booked in advance HERE.
For more information on Amanda Coogan and the Imagine Festival click the links!
Theatre Studies is part of the Joint Honours BA Arts degree, Department of Arts, School of Humanities. For information on Theatre Studies at SETU contact either Dr Úna Kealy or Dr Kate McCarthy.
For further information on the Joint Honours BA Arts degree contact Dr Erin McNamara.
Staff and students from South East Technological University (SETU) join performance artist Amanda Coogan, and artists and theatre makers Alvean Jones and Lianne Quigley, to share their interpretation of Waterford playwright Teresa Deevy’s little-known ballet, Possession, during the Imagine Festival on the 27th of October this year.
The Possession Project in Waterford creates a hybrid production containing durational, site responsive and immersive aspects. Audiences are guided through the production beginning at the reception of Waterford Museum of Treasures when they are brought down to the atmospheric Choristers’ Hall, the performance space, for the 50-minute-long production.
Deevy’s script Possession presents an outline of the story of the Táin. The play dramatises the Cattle Raid of Cooley but, unusually, Deevy focuses on Queen Maeve’s perspective throughout. Coogan calls her current exploration of Deevy’s work The Possession Project, which she has developed into a production for the Imagine Festival in collaboration with theatre makers Alvean Jones, Lianne Quigley and SETU staff and students.
Led by Dr Úna Kealy, lecturer in Theatre Studies and English at SETU Waterford’s Department of Arts, staff created a satellite project around Coogan’s Possession Project entitled Lyrical Bodies. Funded by the SETU Equality, Diversity and Inclusion fund and the SETU Research Connexions fund, Lyrical Bodies supports Coogan, Quigley, and Jones in their creative and research work and contributes to increasing awareness, inclusion, and respect for those whose experience of the world is sensorially different. Irish Sign Language/English interpreters Caoimhe Coburn Gray and Ela Cichocka work alongside the Lyrical Bodies team to facilitate the artistic process. Funding for Lyrical Bodies comes from the National Forum for Teaching and Learning SPARC fund, from the SETU Equality, Diversity and Inclusion fund and from SETU Research Connexions.
Unique insights into Deaf culture and Deaf experience
Deevy was deafened as a young woman and Coogan, Quigley and Jones have unique insights into Deaf culture and Deaf experience as Coogan, an internationally renowned performance artist, is also a hearing CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) and Jones and Quigley are Deaf. Their consideration of Deevy’s work offers a uniquely interesting interpretation opportunity because Deevy created characters not simply through her use of dialogue, but through inscribing action, reaction, and intention on and through actors’ bodies and through her use of costume and stage properties.
An inclusive process of learning and exploration
Speaking of the project, artist Alvean Jones argued that
“It is important to give people from different communities and skill-sets opportunities to work together. The SETU students are amazing—they show so much promise as performers and have so much to give to the project. The Deaf community, with its background in community drama, likewise, have so much to give to the project.”
“The progress we have made since last February, when we first visited SETU to start the project, has been amazing. We come from different backgrounds, we have different skills and ways of reading the world, but our journey working together has been an inclusive process of learning and exploration for everyone.”
Enhancing the teaching and learning environment of SETU
Lecturers in SETU, and researchers within the Lyrical Bodies project, Dr Kate McCarthy and Dr Jenny O’Connor are also joined by Garter Lane Dance-Artist-in-Residence, Deirdre Grant, lecturer in Theatre Studies on the SETU Waterford Bachelor of Arts (Hons) programme.
Dr McCarthy describes the project as
“modelling how it is possible to include and respect everyone in the creative process” arguing that “the results are a much more interesting and richly textured interpretation.”
Dr O’Connor adds,
“One of the goals of Lyrical Bodies is to enhance the teaching and learning environment of SETU by introducing collaborative and experiential learning opportunities for staff and students. This project gives our graduates a unique set of tools and the confidence to use these upon graduation.”
When hearing and Deaf people work together
Alvean Jones and Dr Kealy conclude by agreeing that, as a deafened woman, Deevy confounded what society expected of her. Jones argues that
“Deevy’s life is a brilliant example of the success possible when hearing and Deaf people work together collaboratively.”
Dr Kealy adds,
“Deevy’s way of working models excellent collaborative skills, creative innovation, and persistence. Her text, Possession, explores the hollow and self-defeating impact of possession by force and our collaboration, by embracing ideals of access, collaboration, and equal participation, is enriched as a consequence.”