On the 27th April we hosted a fantastic symposium event named ‘The Plough and the Rising’ at The Mill Community Centre in Celbridge in collaboration with the participants of our drama programme at Choices Day Service. The day was a wonderful success and consisted of an exhibition of memorabilia by collector Padraig O’ Brien (press photographs, machine guns and loads more!). Padraig offered a talk about his collection accompanied by short vignettes performed by the actors of Choices Day Programme. Paddy McNally enacted the role of Michael Collins and Joe Gannon the role of Harry Boland as they highlighted the interesting story behind Michael Collin’s purchase of guns and ammunition from the USA. We never realized rifles were so heavy! How did the volunteers do it!
Next up, we had a visit from lecturer Dr. Chris Collins, a specialist in early Abbey theatre who flew all the way from the University of Nottingham, to talk about Sean O’ Casey and The Plough and the Stars. We learned a lot from this talk, and even though we have been studying Plough since January we were amazed by some of the interesting facts and ideas Chris presented. Was Jack Clitheroe a domestic abusing “pig”? Was the Easter Rising a “terrible mistake or a terrible beauty?”. We are still debating it! “What did Sean O’ Casey like to eat?” Guinness mostly, as it turns out- an answer which much delighted curious interviewer Sean Squires.
The day was filled with passing traffic, interested visitors, old friends and new ( a special hello to our newly made friends from the Celbridge Mens Shed!), dress-up, tea, coffee, laughter and theatrics.
The event was run as part of our year long engagement with Sean O’ Casey’s The Plough and the Stars and the events of 1916 supported by Kildare County Council’s decade of commemorations. What started as a small grant application last year has spiraled into a wonderful educational experience for all of us at Choices Day programme and Run of the Mill theatre. We continue to rehearse Plough every Wednesday afternoon and hope to keep you updated about our journey. Would you like to see a guest blog from one of the actors? Let us know! Take a look at some pictures of the day below.
Special thanks to all the staff at Choices, Padraig O Brien for his collection, The Mill Community Centre for their support and the Kildare County Council.