On September 24th, 2016, we welcomed Jim Culleton and Gavin Kostick of Fishamble: The New Play Company to Belltable:Connect. Jim and Gavin lead the 10-month Mentoring Programme for Playwrights and Directors. Limerick-based director Ann Blake here shares her experience of the first session:
‘At the early time of 10am on Saturday September 24th, the Belltable foyer was unusually abuzz. Mentee directors and playwrights gathered, were furnished with coffee and pastries – quite welcome to those who had to be up early to travel I’d imagine – and got ready to start the mentorship venture, Belltable:Connect in association with Fishamble Theatre Company. Having been welcomed by Marketa Dowling of the Belltable, we split into our respective disciplines, directors with Jim Culleton and playwrights with Gavin Kostick and headed upstairs to the Arts Hub.
In the directors’ room I saw faces I recognised amongst the many I didn’t. It became clear, as each person was introduced, that this was a diverse group of directors of varying ages, backgrounds and hometowns. We got to know each other, explored ideas of what a play actually was and soon found ourselves at our coffee break. That funny ‘first day at school’ feeling where you want to get to know the people you don’t know took hold. Being Ireland and the very small community that is Irish theatre, it wasn’t surprising to find I had friends in common with a quite a few of the participants.
By the end of the day some of us had had an opportunity to share concerns about projects we were working on and tap into the hive mind available to us as well as offer our thoughts on work others were looking for ideas and/or support around. As I’m starting directing a show this week, this was good timing for me and particularly helpful.
In a lovely turn of events I went online yesterday and saw that one of the projects discussed, Halflight, won the First Fortnight Award in The Tiger Dublin Fringe – congrats Molly!’
Ann is a theatre director and lives and works in Limerick. Her most recent work is The Crucible with BA in Contemporary Applied Theatre in Mary Immaculate College, she is currently working on Cars Production with UL Drama Society.