Green Room Interview with Ríonach Ní Néill, creator of upcoming Dublin Dance Festival show Amú & Cótaí Dearga

ImageWhen or how did you catch the dance bug? Tell us about your teachers and training.
I started Irish dancing aged 3 or 4, but it was when I got a book called ‘Mary learns to dance’ aged 5 that I got smitten with the ballet bug. My teacher was Ann Tighe, who is principal of Killester School of Dance, and I owe my career to her.

Who was/is your inspiration in the dance world?
Finola Cronin, who danced for Pina Bausch for years and is lecturer in dance in UCD, is a big inspiration. The dancers I’ve worked with over the years have always inspired and excited me.

If you had not become a dancer, what might you be doing?
I did a PhD in Geography and was lecturing and researching at Leicester University when I got the chance to go back to dance. So I might have been still an academic, or a documentary maker.

What is your favourite dance act/artist and why?
I have too many favourites, but perennials are Trish Brown, Merce Cunningham, Pina Bausch, works by German choreographers Helena Waldmann, Reinhild Hoffmann and there are a lot of great performances coming out of Ireland too.

How do you unwind after a long day rehearsing/performing?
After rehearsal, its then on to 3 or 4 hours of administration, so unwinding has to be speedy! Kicking a ball around the garden with my kids does it for me.

What do you keep in your dance bag?
Spare gear, knee pads, shower gel, toasty socks and thermals.

What kind of music do you listen to?
Everything mostly, as long as its good. I’m always on the lookout for music for dance works.

Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about?
I hand-sewed the Cótaí Dearga costumes myself?

What gives you the most pleasure in terms of dance?
I am grateful every day for that I can bring to life the ideas I have in my head, and share them with other people. I love working in the studio with the dancers, literally creating something out of thin air, and giving form to ideas.

What inspired you to create these dance pieces?
Amú was inspired by the people living with dementia to whom I teach dance. There is a lot of fear about the illness, and a lot of negative assumptions about it, that somehow a person with it is no longer one of us. I’ve found that, faced with the challenges of memory loss, people retain their curiosity, kindness and humour, and are still learning, still exploring, and open to new ideas and new things. Words may start to fail us with dementia, but dance never needed words anyway, and through it we find a common expression. Amú explores some of those ideas, and how we use whatever resources are available to us, even as they wane, to express ourselves and make an impression on the world.

Cótaí Dearga developed form a residency on Áras Éanna, the arts centre on Inis Oírr. There was an exhibition of the traditional dress donated by the islanders, and I was particularly struck by the red skirts (cótaí dearga), and the habit of wearing them over you head as a cloak. The images look very alien now, but they were worn in living memory. The red skirts are everywhere in the iconic paintings of the west by Paul Henry, Grace Henry, Sean Keating and others, and I decided to give these silent femal subjects a fictitious and fantastical history. It’s light-hearted and surreal, with beautiful imagery.

Why should people come to see contemporary dance?
Contemporary dance is so varied, each company is different, but what they have in common is that they will give you a different view, make you see things differently to before. Contemporary dance can be exciting, breath-taking, poignant, shocking and beautiful, and that’s an amazing ride to go on.

Amú & Cótaí Dearga premieres on Wednesday, 28th May at 8pm in the Civic Theatre, Tallaght.
Tickets are €10 and can be booked by phone on 01 4627477 or online (book here).

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The Green Room : with Ger Gallagher


Ger GFollowing on from a sell-out run in the Mill Theatre, Dundrum Weighing-In comes to the Civic Theatre 20 -31 May

Tell us a little bit about yourself…  After working on my first novel for several years I submitted it to Poolbeg Publishers and was delighted when they offered me a three book contract. I worked in film and theatre during the 1980’s and had always wanted to write a play, so, when I completed my three novels I turned to playwriting.

What is your new play ‘Weighing-In about?    It is about two women from very different walks of life who strike up an unlikely relationship when they meet at their local diet clinic. Pam, who has lost four stone, is brimming with confidence and brags endlessly about what a fantastic life she has. Breda can’t shift another pound and is thinking of throwing in the towel when Pam takes her under her wing and power walks her into a new way of life. It takes a comic look at how some women can take dieting and body image far too seriously.

What inspired you to write this play?   I think dieting has become a national obsession and every woman I know has been on a diet at some stage of their life. Some diets are sensible and some diets are downright nuts, but it appears that we’re always ready to try the next fad. Anyone remember the cabbage soup diet? Yuck.

How much of your own life ends up in your characters? It’s hard to avoid bringing some life experiences into my characters and stories but my work is mainly fictional.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?  The writing is easy, the hardest part is making the time to sit and work without interruptions. I am very easily distracted. I work from home and it can sometimes be very difficult to ignore the fact that there’s washing to be hung out and dinner to be made!

Why should people come and see Weighing-In?   In times like these, it’s important to have a good laugh, and I promise, Weighing-In will bring a smile to your face.

Weighing-In, Find out more Here…..


‘No flab on this weighty drama’ – Evening Herald

Civic Theatre Tallaght

Tuesday, 20th May – Saturday, 31st May 2014 @ 8.15pm
Admission: all tickets €12 

Booking & Info. 01 4627477

Special Bealtaine offer on Wed 21st May & Wednesday, 28th May @ 3pm
all tickets €10

More About Ger Gallagher

In addition to many short stories Ger Gallagher is the author of three novels;  A Life Left Untold, Broken Passions, Shadow Play, (Poolbeg Publishers).  ‘Weighing-In’, was broadcast by RTE radio drama in January 2014. ‘Redemption Song’ a play commissioned by The Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, was performed in January 2014.   Her second play, ‘Worth’ will go into production later this year.

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Donal O’Kelly, Fishamble and the Civic Theatre – Celebrating 15 Years of New Writing!

Just before the Civic Theatre opened it’s doors in March 1999, the Artistic Director Bríd Dukes was joined by amongst others Donal O’Kelly and Mark O’Rowe for the RTE Radio 1 programme The Arts Show with Mike Murphy (‘probably the most important single outlet for coverage of the Arts in Ireland’ – Irish Times). See picture below.


That April the Civic Theatre presented Catalpa written and performed by Donal O’Kelly and so began a new and exciting era for the development of the arts in the South Dublin area.

One of our most enduring relationships has been with Fishamble: The New Play Company. Their commitment to new writing and touring has resulted in over 15 productions (see list below) touring to the Civic Theatre and the development of a strong appetite for new writing and work in the area.

Little Thing, Big Thing by Donal O’Kelly
Guaranteed! by Colin Murphy
The Bruising of Clouds by Sean McLoughlin
The Wheelchair On My Face by Sonya Kelly
Noah and the Tower Flower by Sean McLoughlin
Forgotten by Pat Kinevane
The Pride of Parnell Street by Sebastian Barry
Big Ole Piece of Cake by Sean McLoughlin
Rank by Robert Massey
The Gist of It by Rodney Lee
Wired to the Moon by Maeve Binchy
Pilgrims In The Park by Jim O’ Hanlon
The Buddhist of Castleknock by Jim O’Hanlon
Fishamble’s Y2K Festival
True Belivers by Joe ‘O Connor

We are delighted to welcome back writer Donal O’Kelly 15 years after his first production at the Civic, with his brand new play Little Thing, Big Thing – a thriller about the power of the oil companies.

BOOKING for Little Thing, Big Thing by Donal O’Kelly, presented by Fishamble: The New Play Company
Phone 01 4627477

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Green Room Interview with Shane Cradock, writer of ‘The Waiting Room’. Opens @ Civic Theatre, Tallaght on Thurs 13 February.


The Civic Theatre talks to Shane Cradock about his upcoming play ‘The Waiting Room ‘ which opens at the Civic Theatre on Thursday, 13th February and runs until Saturday, 15th February.

Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’m married to Judy and am father to two live-wires, Jane(6) and Sam(4).  I’m from Kilkenny, live in Wicklow and do most of my work in Dublin.  I guess you could say I’m a business person with a strong creative side.   This is my second play, the other was a comedy also.  That one was called ‘In Two Minds’, and won an award with the Irish Screenwriting and Playwrights Guild. My parallel universe job is as a coach and mentor to entrepreneurs and busy executives but this play isn’t about business – it’s informed more by some of the life lessons and insights I’ve learned over the years, albeit in a humorous way.

What is your new play The Waiting Room about?
The Waiting Room is a feel good comedy with a strong positive life message at it’s core.  It centres around Mick, a regular guy living an uneventful life with his fiancé Marie, when something incredible happens that turns his life upside down.  The play juggles themes of life, love and second chances and puts a magnifying glass on the way we an often live our lives on ‘automatic pilot’, while it just passes us by.

What inspired you to write this play?
At the core of my work as a coach/mentor is the word inspire.  To help inspire people to a better situation, whatever that may be.   And inspiration has been lacking for many over the past few years in Ireland.   I was trying to think of a creative way of doing this through theatre when the first half of the The Waiting Room popped in one day.  Having said that, I sat on the idea for a few years.  That only changed when a great friend challenged me to ‘just write it’.  Thanks to her, I did.

How much of your own life ends up in your characters?

I think it has to – even unconsciously.  In the case of The Waiting Room, the central character Mick and I aren’t really alike – but in a previous version of me, we probably shared some of the questions he has about life.

Whats the hardest part of writing for you?
Sitting down to write.  As a well known writer said to me, ‘there’s nothing scarier than a blank page’.  As mentioned above, a friend challenged me to write this play and very importantly she kept checking in on me, holding me accountable.  That’s one aspect of what I do as a coach/mentor, and she did it to me!  So I ended up writing The Waiting Room at what was the busiest time of my life and learned a hugely valuable lesson – there never is a right time to write something, be it a book, play, song, movie or whatever’s inside you.  You just have to start it and keep going.

What do you want people to leave thinking about?
Number one, I’d love people to leave The Civic having had a great laugh and feeling that they got a great’s night entertainment.  And maybe, just maybe, they’ll have a little spring in their step.


The Waiting Room by Shane Cradock
Thursday, 13th February – Saturday, 15th February 2014 @ 8pm
Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Dublin 24
Tel: 01 4627477

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Speed Date with Peter Daly, star of JEZEBEL by Rough Magic Theatre Company

Peter Daly plays Alan in Jezebel 418 x 640

The Civic Theatre chats to Peter Daly who stars in JEZBEL, written by Mark Cantan and presented by Rough Magic Theatre Company. The revival of this production is directed by Lynne Parker.

Here we go on a speed date with Peter to find out a little more about him…and to see if we are a match made in heaven!

Civic: Are you a cat or dog person?
Peter: I am most definitely a dog person. I had many dogs as a kid and would love to get one now. But it wouldn’t be fair as I live on my own and am often on tour with plays and it just wouldn’t be fair to leave the little guy (or girl) on his (or her) own in a small cottage in Dublin 8. I am not saying I don’t like cats. I just wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them.

Civic: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Peter: I ate crocodile (or alligator, I can’t remember which)  in a restaurant in Kenya. It tasted fishy. I won’t be ordering it again.

Civic: Have you ever broken a bone and if so how?
Peter: I broke my arm when I was about 9. It was very embarrassing…a girl from my street (who I fancied) pushed me off a wall I was sitting on and when I hit the ground on the other side, my arm hit a cinder block. It never worked out between me and her….

Civic: Which T.V. program would you never miss?
Peter: I am more of a box set/Netflix type of guy. But I did find myself refusing all Sunday evening invitations when the last season of Love|Hate was on.  

Civic: What do you think about chick flicks and which was the last one you saw?
Peter: There is a place in this world for chick flicks. In saying that, it has been a long time since I saw one. Emmm….is Mean Girls a chick flick? I watched it for the first time recently.

Civic: If you ruled the world, what would you change?
Peter: Its a very boring answer but the gap between the rich and the poor is getting exponentially bigger each year. I would do something to address that. I am not sure what that thing would be but if you give me the job of ruling the world I will make it my top priority.

Civic: Do you believe in love at first sight?
Peter: I certainly believe in very strong attractions at first sight. But I think there has to be a deeper connection made before love makes its way into the picture.

Civic: Will you marry me?
Peter: Of course I will.


JEZEBEL opens at Civic Theatre, Tallaght on Tuesday, 4th February and runs until Thursday, 6th February.

Tickets are €10 for the preview night on Tues 4 Feb and €18 & €14 concession.

Booking: 01 4627477 or here!

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Green Room Interview with Aidan Dooley. Star of ‘Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer’ at Civic Theatre, Tallaght. Opens Mon 27 Jan.

ImageThe Civic Theatre chats to Aidan Dooley, the star of one man show ‘Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer’ about the show and what he loves about it!

How has the tour being going?
I have been doing the show on and off for 11 years now

When did you first perform ‘Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer’?
I did it at the maritime museum in Greenwich London as an education project.

What places has the show toured to?
New York, Boston, Vermont and Florida in the USA – Australia – Dubai – all over the UK and of course Ireland

Do you still get excited about performing this character and telling his story?
Of Course – it is a wonderful experience to have the audience so engrossed in what you are telling them.

What was the most challenging thing about becoming your character? Why?
I think the hardest part of the character is he was a real person and so I am entrusted by his memory not to be disrespectful. Getting the balance of the humour with the tragedy right in the performance is very importance.

Do you feel any connection between yourself and your character?
Very much so – I feel I am his friend and he mine. He has allowed me this honour and I am so grateful.

What was the hardest part of putting on the show?
Getting theatres in the first place interested in this unknown man. A decade ago no one knew him apart from the people of his home town.

Why do you think audiences love this show so much?
It shows them an ordinary man ( like them ) enduring terrible hardship with a humility and a sense of humour. It shows that man winning out over the awful circumstances and overcoming them. This encourages us all to strive ourselves in our own lives and we find inspiration to that end in Tom Crean’s story.

What can audiences expect from the show?
A really good enjoyable night out in which you will laugh and cry but most importantly you will come away with a ‘feel good’ for yourself and those you love.


‘Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer’ opens tonight – Monday, 27th January 2014.
Runs until Saturday 1st February @ 8pm
Booking: / 01 4627477

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Green Room Interview with TV Chef Donal Skehan. Comes to Civic Theatre, Tallaght on Mon, 25th November!

ImageWhen did you first realize that you wanted to become a food writer and television presenter?
I was always interested in food growing up.  My parents have been in the food business for the last 30 years so I grew up with it.  I don’t think I realised I would make a career out of it until my blog took off in 2007.  From the world of food blogging, I got a book deal and then a TV series on RTÉ and it’s been a bit of a whirlwind ever since!

What makes you different from other colleagues that have their own TV shows?
I think the success of the books and the TV show has been the fact that all the recipes are easy and doable.  Their is a lot of food on TV these days which can look quite intimidating for the every day home cook and I always try and keep my ingredient lists as simple as possible while still being inspirational.

What is that one ingredient you consider basic in any kitchen — the one thing that can transform a bland meal into a banquet?
That’s a tough question because I think any good home cook will have a collection of staple ingredients which together can make a meal out of just a few ingredients.  It’s a true skill to be able to take cupboard ingredients and transform them into delicious meals day in day out!  For me standard ingredients like rice, pasta, noodles, oils, vinegars, soy sauce etc are a good starting point and then you just need to add fresh meat, fish or vegetables.  The one ingredient I can’t get enough of right now though is sriracha, a korean hot sauce.

What is your guilty pleasure? What do you snack on when no one else is around because you don’t want anyone to know?
I love hot buttery salty popcorn! I can’t get enough it! I even went as far as buying a mini popcorn making machine, which was a complete waste of money.  Just a big pot with butter does the job! 🙂

If you hadn’t become a food writer and television presenter, what would you be doing right now?
I would probably be working full time in the job I do part time right now as a food photographer.  I love the creativity it allows and I get a great sense of enjoyment from shooting food images for my books and for others too.

What can the audience expect from the Kitchen Hero: Homecooked tour when it comes to the Civic Theatre in Tallaght this November?
Lots of cooking and lots of fun! I will be cooking 5 delicious recipes live on stage and the smells will have your mouth watering!  We have a big screen up on stage so you won’t miss a minute of action.  I’ll also be out in the audience and grabbing people to cook with me on stage for our cookery competitions.  After the show I’ll be doing a book signing and meet and greet so I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone!  We always have great fun and theres lots of audience interaction! 🙂

Tickets for Donal Skehan: Homecooked Tour are €20 and can be booked online here or by calling our box office on 01 4627477!

Keep an eye out for the competitions running in your local Spar!

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