Latest News from the Alley Theatre
Call for Visual Artists/Dancers/Musicians
“Let the Dance Begin Arts Project”
Are you a passionate, visionary artist/musician/dancer/environmentalist from Strabane town looking to enhance your facilitation and professional skills to deliver vital arts work in different areas of community life? This may be a unique opportunity for you.
“Let the Dance Begin” Project is a six-week innovative large-Scale community Health & Well-being pilot project currently being delivered from 20th January- 10th March 2014 in Strabane District.
Aim-to locate creativity at the heart of Strabane’s Education, Health, Business and Community groups. The project is designed and delivered by Pushkin Trust (Arts in Education/Community/Environment) and Arts Care (Health and Social Care and Community Health).
Arts Care and the Pushkin Trust are inviting professional artists/dancers/musicians/environmentalists/ living in Strabane District to take part in an Arts & Well-being artist/environmentalist two-day arts mentoring scheme as part of the project programme. The two-day programme is specifically targeted at artists from Strabane District who would like to develop and learn enhanced arts facilitation and professional management skills as well as new techniques in their art form of music/dance/visual art and environment.
Who is this Mentoring aimed at?
Creative artists/environmentalists who currently work, or wish to work, in a range of community or outreach settings in Strabane Town and surrounding area including:
This Mentoring programme aims to provide professional artists and environmentalists with the support, resources and confidence to develop their outreach skills and to encourage them to apply their skills in a wide range of outreach settings.
Criteria for Selection
Ability to engage with a group
Demonstrated artistic ability
Demonstrated commitment to outreach work
Demonstrate commitment to this Mentoring Scheme
Inter-personal and communication skills
There will be no mentoring costs involved for the artists/environmentalists and selection will be by recruitment. No remuneration for participating in the mentoring programme will be offered.
CV’s from interested artists/environmentalists will be required. Please send with an accompanying letter with a brief outline of why you would like to be considered for the mentoring programme. (Citing qualifications and experience of working in participative settings)
Closing date for application submission Friday 7th March 2014
Please forward submissions to: The Pushkin Office , Baronscourt, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone BT78 4EZ
Date: Saturday 29th March/Sunday 30th March
Place: Pushkin Trust, Baronscourt Estate, Netwownstewart, Co. Tyrone
The Master Mentoring Team will include:
Elaine Agnew-Composer/Music Facilitator
Carmel Garvey-Dance Facilitator/Choreographer
Helen Shields-Visual Artist
Sacha Abercorn-Director of Pushkin Trust
Jenny Elliott-Chief Executive of Arts Care
Participants must attend all sessions provided by the weekend mentoring programme.
For more information please contact:
Dr Jenny Elliott, Arts Care 02895622122
Alley Theatre and Caffé Fresco Awarded
Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards 2014
The Alley Theatre is delighted to announce that their partnership project with Caffé Fresco has been awarded the ‘Employee Engagement Award’ at last week’s Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards held in the Ulster Hall. Hosted by Wendy Austin, over 22 businesses and arts organisations came together to celebrate excellence in five award categories.
Last year, in partnership with The Alley Theatre and along with the help of world class children’s theatre company Cahoots NI the employees of Caffé Fresco took part in a unique drama themed project. Over a number of week’s waiters/waitresses, chefs and even the management of Caffé Fresco took part in workshops in the Alley Theatre to create a fun filled cabaret evening which they would then perform to customers in the restaurant. Under the facilitation of Cahoots NI the staff wrote, produced and performed in their own show to a full restaurant. It was a superb evening of music, dance, illusion and magic.
Proprietor of Caffe Fresco Trevor Mealiff commented ‘We are delighted to have won the ‘Employee Engagement Award’ in partnership with The Alley Theatre for this project. We wanted to be involved in a project that benefited not only our staff but also our customers and we felt this project fitted the brief perfectly. We were facilitated by Cahoots NI who were fantastic to work with as they guided us through all the magic and illusion elements of the evening. However it was the staff who really got involved by writing their own songs and choreographed their own dances. The workshops at the Alley acted as excellent team building exercises and also gave the staff an opportunity to work on stage for the very first time. The whole organization loved being involved in this project and the customers really enjoyed it. This project not only increased our brand awareness and sponsorship links with the Alley Theatre but also highlighted the great projects which can be achieved through Arts & Business partnerships. Thank you to Arts & Business NI for making this project happen, we are delighted to have won this award.’
Chairman of Strabane District Council, Councillor Ruairí McHugh commented ‘I would like to congratulate The Alley Theatre and Caffé Fresco on winning the ‘Employee Engagement Award’ at the Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards 2014’. Arts & Business NI are an excellent organisation as they inspire and celebrate inspiring partnership between commerce and culture. This award represents a partnership that involves employees in the arts and incorporates creativity and innovation into the workplace and this project certainly symbolised this. Thank you to Caffé Fresco for their continued support and to Arts & Business NI. Well done to everyone involved’.
To view a video clip of the cabaret evening visit the Alley Theatre Youtube page on http://bit.ly/1iFYbAk
From 14th until 16th February Strabane will be holding its first ever Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Festival!
This is a historical occasion and one that will become an annual event in Strabane. Choosing February may seem like an odd month as most LGBT and Pride festivals are held over the summer months but as its International LGBT history month Strabane LGBT Group feel that it’s a good way of highlighting the progress made by the LGBT community but also it’s something to look forward to in the dreary cold season.
Gina Gallagher Project Officer at Strabane LBGT said “The festival kicks off on the 14th February with a health awareness open day at the local LGBT centre on Railway Street from 11am – 1pm. Later that evening the Festival will be officially launched before the premiere of a locally written LGBT themed play at the Alley Theatre.
The play ‘So Here We Are’ was written by local playwright Jennifer Patton who was engaged by the group as part of its LGBT history project which was funded by Culture for All. Jennifer met with many LGBT in the area gathering their experiences of “coming out” to family, friends, neighbours and colleagues and produced a warm, inspiring and funny script. The play will be performed by local Black Air Theatre Group led by Ryan Quinn. This will be a FREE event and we urge as many as possible to attend but booking is advised. “
The festival which is being supported by Strabane District Council continues throughout the weekend in various venues. See below
Councillor Ruairi McHugh Chairman of Strabane District commented “I am delighted to welcome Strabane’s first ever LBGT Festival. This festival will help to increase the visibility and awareness of LGBT in Strabane thus contributing to creating an inclusive society for all to enjoy. I hope to see this as a yearly event that will grow over the years and go from strength to strength and that a fun time is had by all.”
Gina Gallagher concluded “The Festival is a great way of increasing visibility of LGBT in the area many of whom are still not “Out” as they fear homophobia and discrimination. We would urge as many LGBT and LGBT friends to support the Festival and encourage people, organisations and businesses to get involved yearly
The festival brochure is available throughout the Strabane area, in the local library, The Alley Theatre, retail outlets throughout the district and on the groups Facebook Page. We hope that there is something for everyone during the festival.”
Tinnies Launch Let the Dance Begin Project
The Let the Dance Begin project is a six-week innovative health and well-being pilot project in Strabane Town that was launched on Thursday 16th January at the Let the Dance Begin sculpture on the outskirts of the town. The project aims to locate creativity at the heart of Strabane’s Education, Health and Business Community, improving the health and well-being of the citizens of the town. Two of Northern Ireland’s leading Arts in Education and Health Charities, The Pushkin Trust and Arts Care designed and are facilitating this very special interagency Arts delivery.
The projects aims to inspire, give voice to and contribute to a new vision for the people, youth and children of Strabane. A key element of the project is that Master Artists/Musicians/Creative Writers/Storytellers/Dancers will be invited to facilitate workshops in schools, older people’s residential services, early year’s programmes, community groups and local business. The Master artists from Arts Care and the Pushkin Trust will creatively skill-build local Strabane artists as part of the project.
The project is supported by the Public Health Agency, Strabane District Council and the Western Health and Social Care Trust and will reach deep into everyday community life in Strabane over the lifetime of the project.
Over the six weeks from January 20th, the artists and environmentalists will be immersing their practice in the town, setting up art tables in unusual places, hosting art exhibitions, facilitating music, dance, creative writing and film-making workshops. One of the key strands to the project is the large-scale dance and disability project that involves local school children and adults with and without disability. The final dance performance/exhibition with around 100 dancers will be held at the Alley Theatre, Strabane on 10th March 2014. Arts Care and the Pushkin Trust wish to encourage the people of Strabane to become involved in this unique project.
There is an expectation that the project will provide a model of Arts, Health and Well-being that can be translated into any small town or community setting both locally and internationally.
At the core of the project, the artists will teach the creative skills to school children, teachers, healthcare staff, service users and community groups, carefully unfolding the creativity of the different aspects of living in Strabane and hopefully opening new visions for the future health and well-being of the town and it citizens.
“We all know that we are creative here in Strabane but we just don’t have the community self-confidence to share that. I wish we did.“ (Comment by participant in Let the Dance Begin visioning day).
At the launch The Duchess of Abercorn said;
“The Pushkin Trust exists to promote the creative voice and the creative spirit in children and adults. It will be exciting to witness the unfolding of a creative community over the next number of weeks in Strabane as we leave behind the dark days of winter to herald the fresh growth of spring.”
Brendan Bonner, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement in the western area at the Public Health Agency, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this new and innovative project, which is delivering arts in the community of Strabane with an aim of improving health and wellbeing.
“The role of arts and culture in health and wellbeing is well documented and further supported through the Public Health Agency’s commissioning of a range of programmes associated with the UK City of Culture 2013 initiative.
“This is an exciting partnership and the PHA is delighted to build on the learning and experience of work with the Pushkin Trust and Artscare, including to develop new models of healthcare intervention that will contribute to better health and social wellbeing outcomes for local communities.”
Judy Houlahan, Head of Secondary Care, Western Health & Social Care Trust and Chairperson of the Arts Care Committe, Western Health and Social Care Services said;
"The Western Health and Social Care Trust is keen to support the Let the Dance Begin Project in Strabane integrating creativity and the arts into the heart of Health and Social Care Services and programmes of positive health and well-being in the town. The key to the success of this project is the development of positive creative partnerships that involve the Western Health and Social Care Trust, the Public Health Agency and Strabane District Council supporting Arts Care and the Pushkin Trust to deliver a dynamic programme of Arts and Well-being at the core of community life. We are very much looking forward to exploring the outcomes of this innovative, large-scale project and the impact it has on the health and well-being of the people of Strabane."
Councillor Ruairi McHugh Chairman of Strabane District Council concluded;
Strabane District Council is delighted to be supporting this project.
‘Let the Dance Begin’ is a wonderful unique initiative for Strabane. The next
six weeks will explore arts and creativity in improving well being – the well being of the individual and of our community. It will build trust, enhance co-operation and develop new partnerships through a selection of workshops aimed at all ages. Along with Arts Care, The Pushkin Trust and The Western Health and Social Care Trust we cannot wait to see the results of this initiative.’
Dr Jenny Elliott, Chief Executive Officer of Arts Care states, Research demonstrates the many health and educational benefits that the arts can bring into our lives and the lives of those participants who work alongside the Pushkin Trust and Arts Care artists.
Participating in the arts and re-imaging the community often brings a sense of community cohesion and pride. The arts assist us to see things from a different perspective. They present solutions to community living and challenges by offering articulation through self expression and a voice to the people of the town.
Spring Programme Out Now!!!
To downlaod your copy click here
The Alley Theatre Spring Programme is out now packed full of exhibitions, entertainment and workshops suitable for all ages. Supported by Caffé Fresco, Gary Gamble aka Dame Formaldehyde’s from Januarys Panto ‘There Was An Old Lady’ was in town last week with Trevor Mealiff and Chairman of Strabane District Council Ruairi McHugh promoting the programme.
Fun for all the family as Strabane’s biggest community panto hits the stage from 9th January. Dame Formaldehyde’s orphanage is in peril. She has been unable to pay the rent for ten years, so the cruel Squire wants to make her - and all the orphans - homeless. Just when the situation seems at its lowest, it gets worse, for a Giant treads on the orphanage and smashes it to smithereens! The Fairy Queen makes the shoe into a home for the orphans and all looks fine - but then the Giant comes back for his shoe and accidentally carries off Princess Primrose, girlfriend to the Dame’s son Finn. Full of comic adventures and hilarious characters, this lively new pantomime combines tradition, originality and, in the typical PuddleAlley Theatre Group style, huge dollops of comedy. Book Before 24th December to receive special offers.
January and February are full of Country Legends including Dominic Kirwan, Robert Mizzell supported by Grainne Gavigan, Michael English and Al Grant with Jim Reeves 50th Anniversary Concert. As 2014 is the 50th Anniversary of the death of the great Jim Reeves, Al presents a unique insight into the Life and Times of Jim Reeves with a wonderful concert of Jim Reeves classic ‘Hit’ songs. With narration and video screen footage it will be an evening of Song and Story. Al will be joined by the wonderful Isla Grant. At the end of February get ready to sing along to some Dolly Parton classics as we welcome ‘The Dolly Parton Story’. The Dolly Parton Story is a two hour journey through the sensational career of one of country music’s most successful ladies.
Dolly Parton’s career has spanned over 50 years and her most celebrated material features in this show, With an all live band providing the sound and an array of amazing
rhinestone encrusted costumes, this is a real treat for any Dolly Parton fan.
Claire Ziritt has been a stage Medium for many years and with her easy going manner and warmth she is without doubt one of the finest exponents of her art in Ireland today.
She never fails to captivate and amaze her audience with the messages of love and inspiration she brings forward from the spirit world.
As always the Alley welcomes today’s funniest comedians. Jason Byrne will be entertaining audiences in February. Jason Byrne was cooped up in the BBC for months this year writing and recording his brand new sitcom ‘Father Figure’.
He is bursting for a chat. Jason is the biggest ever selling act at the Edinburgh fringe festival for a very good reason. He is one of the most exciting live performers you will ever see. Nothing can compare to seeing Jason in full flow on the live stage. His live shows are part of comedy folklore. Join Jason and become part of that folklore.
Bernard O’Shea - resident roving reporter and Georgia Salpa’s love interest on RTÉ’s hugely popular Republic of Telly, Bernard makes his highly anticipated debut performance at the Alley Theatre where he returns to his first love, stand up.
Bernard was chosen to perform at the Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in 2005 and is a regular at numerous comedy festivals including The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny and The Vodafone Comedy Festival in Dublin. His Edinburgh Fringe debut received a 5 star review from the Scotsman
Brendan Grace: The Genial Family Comedian is back.
Amazing Grace is a catch phrase often applied to Brendan Grace and indeed very true in many respects. The genial and much loved Family Comedian is celebrating 42 Years in the Comedy Business. Brendan’s latest show features some brand new material and some ‘Old Favourites’ from the last 42 years. His sense of timing and ability to read an audience is without equal.
As well as Country music the Alley will be hosting a range of live music including Jacqui Sharkey & Justin McGurk in concert, Declan Sinnott and the wonderful Brass Band League Championships.
Award Winning Drama
If you are a lover of drama the Alley has a superb range of productions in the Spring months including Brian Friel’s ‘Molly Sweeney’ by the Lyric Theatre. Blind since infancy, Molly Sweeney is persuaded to have an operation to restore her sight. Her husband Frank is convinced she has nothing to lose; her ophthalmologist Mr Rice is not so sure. The play charts their expectations and fantasies of how the operation will change everything, not just for Molly, but for all three of them.
The Strabane Drama Festival is back for nine nights of superb drama including Wexford Drama Group with ‘Other Desert’ by Jon Robin Baitz. Ballyshannon Drama Circle with ‘The Gingerbread Lady’ by Neil Simon and Bradán Players with ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ by Edward Albee plus lots more... Smashing Times Theatre Company brings ‘Uprising’ to the stage at the end of March. A fusion of text, movement and dance, Uprising explores memories and experiences of war and peace in Northern Ireland and internationally and asks why do we kill for a cause, why do we die for a cause? Uprising is drawn from interviews, research, speeches, poems, archive video material and new writing. Strabane LGBT Group & Black Air Theatre Group are proud to present a new original script based on true experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual people living, working or socialising in Strabane.
At Easter time Much Ado Stage School brings ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ to the Alley featuring both the Junior and Senior pupils of Much Ado Stage School. This Musical tells the tale of Joseph- his father’s favourite son, and a boy blessed with prophetic dreams. When he is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and
taken to Egypt, Joseph endures a series of adventures in which his spirit and humanity are continually challenged. Set to an engaging abundance of musical styles, from Country- Western and Calypso to Bubblegum Pop and Rock ‘n’ Roll with Elvis thrown in for good measure, this Old Testament tale emerges both timely and timeless.
Joseph is the ultimate family show - the perfect outing during the Easter Break!
As well as award winning performances the Alley Art Gallery will be hosting prestigious exhibitions including Strabane History Society presents: ’Our Built Heritage Project’
‘Voluma Wearable Sculpture’ where tradition and technique merge in this solo exhibition by artist / jeweller Elin Johnston, ‘VAGABOND’ by Catalyst Arts and ‘Our Possession is Loss’ by Leslie McNicholl
Arts Development Programme
Arts Development workshops this season includes something for all ages with sketching, sculpture, pottery, drumming and art workshops plus lots more.
For more information or to receive your copy of the latest programme contact the Alley Theatre Box Office on 028 71 384444 or visit www.alley-theatre.com
Alley Theatre Awarded Arts and Disability Equality Plaque
Last week The Alley Theatre received a coveted Arts and Disability Equality Plaque in recognition of the venue's work and commitment to offer access to everyone.
The Arts and Disability Equality Charter provides a framework for continuous development in accessibility. The Arts and Disability Equality Charter is operated by a partnership of the Arts and Disability Forum, Adapt NI and Open Arts with funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The framework focuses on key assessment areas such as accessibility, employment, policy, participation and audience development.
The Alley Theatre received this award in recognition of their commitment to making the arts accessible to all people.
Receiving the award on behalf of the Alley Theatre venue administrator Jacqui Doherty commented ‘We are delighted to receive such a prestigious award. We are continually seeking to improve our services in improving accessibility for all our customers. We actively seek to provide equal opportunity for all who visit the Centre. Engaging in The Arts and Disability Charter ensured continuous improvement in providing that service. We also achieved the Prestige William Keown Accessibility Award and the gold award in the Change a Little, Change a Little campaign. We will continue to develop a standard of good practice in relation to building equality and inclusion into all our services and activities on offer to people with disabilities. In the past we have signed performances and we now have a captioned performance coming up at the end of November as Bruiser Theatre Company presents: The Caucasian Chalk Circle. An accessibility guide is available on the Alley website and at our box office.’
Speaking at the presentation, Bob Collins, Chair of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:
“Part of the signature of being human is self expression. Everybody has a cultural life, everybody has an inner life, and everybody has the capacity to enjoy themselves and the arts.
We all contribute to publicly funded arts and it is very important that everybody is able to use and enjoy them.
The venues here today have made a commitment to long term engagement in addressing this issue of access and participation for all members of our community.”
For more information on the Alley Theatre Accessibility Guidelines contact The Alley Theatre Box Office 028 71 384444 or online www.alley-theatre.com