Niall Carmody is a playwright originally from Limerick who now lives and works in Galway. He is a recent graduate of NUIG and is currently working on a set of original plays. Here he writes about the first session of Belltable:Connect Fishamble Mentoring Programme for Playwrights and Directors:
‘The first session of our Belltable:Connect programme filled me with the same nervous excitement of the first day of school. Arriving at the Belltable in Limerick City I met the other participants. Over tea and coffee we introduced ourselves and talked about expectations and hopes for the programme. An overview of the history of the Belltable:Connect programme was given to the group by Marketa Dowling, the Belltable Programme Manager. We were introduced to Gavin Kostick and Jim Culleton of Fishamble and split into our appropriate groups; Directors with Jim, Playwrights with Gavin. We made our way to the playwrights room and immediately got down to business. Gavin explained each session would be composed of three parts. Firstly we would discuss the plays we would be given to read for each session. Secondly we would discuss our task to be submitted to Gavin for the upcoming month (covering themes surrounding the plays discussed in the class). Thirdly each week four writers would present an idea they have to the group for feedback. These ideas could come in the shape of a script or presentation or simply a brain storming session.
For our first session we discussed the plays Woman and the Scarecrow by Marina Carr and Swing by Steve Blount, Peter Daly, Gavin Kostick and Janet Moran. The two plays chosen contrast greatly as Swing is a devised piece full of movement and dance whereas Woman and the Scarecrow is a stiller play with emphasis on dialogue and conversation. The two plays highlighted contrasting styles of writing and theatre making as one play is a solo work while the other is devised by four different artists. Next we examined the opening of Antigone which highlights the epic elements of Greek Tragedy. The contrast between the opening of Antigone and Swing lead to our first task for the next session. We are each to write an opening to a play and send them to Gavin of discussion in our next session. Four members of the group also put themselves forward to present an individual idea of the next session. From the first session I can see the programme being an interesting ten months full of writing, discussion, and collaboration.’