A performance to remember from Scoil Iosagain

Tieran Devlin as Padraig Pearse.
Tieran Devlin as Padraig Pearse.

A stunning performance depicting events surrounding the 1916 rising is to be performed on stage at the Abbey Theatre by a talented group of Inishowen children.

Scoil Íosagáin Pàistì le Chéile Drama Group will perform ‘Cuimhniú’ a play written and directed by Patricia Doherty Tinney at the iconic theatre after being chosen from hundreds of hopefuls across the country.

Andrea Radeu and Clodagh Grant as Maire and Sorcha.

Andrea Radeu and Clodagh Grant as Maire and Sorcha.

The ‘Journal’ was invited to one of their dress rehearsals earlier this week and got treated to a fantastic performance that will ‘evoke every emotion.’

The “huge production” features a strong cast, choir and crew excellently portray the key events of 1916 in a professional and emotive manner, honouring those who sacrificed their lives while staying true to what occurred at that time.

Speaking afterwards, the young cast members told how they have been ‘inspired’ by what they are depicting and have felt both ‘proud’ and ‘sad’ in equal measure.

They said they are hugely excited to perform at the Abbey Theatre. They were chosen to do by RTE’s ‘Swipe TV’ after the school submitted footage to them.

Gemma Davis as 'Mathair'

Gemma Davis as 'Mathair'

Andrea Radeu, a sixth class pupil, told the ‘Journal’ she was delighted to be involved.

She said: “It makes me feel proud. I’m Romanian but have lived here for eight years. So, singing the National Anthem is making me prouder than to even hold the Romanian Flag.’

Heidi Gill said learning about the events of 1916 made her feel “sad” but proud of those who “knew they were going to die, but went out and did it.”

Sinead McLaughlin, principal, said the school had wanted to undertake a project to remember the centenary year and those who were involved. She added that they were “very conscious” of the role of children and in events and wanted that to be heard.

Laura Symanzka, Clara Sheridan and Orla Grant as the street children.

Laura Symanzka, Clara Sheridan and Orla Grant as the street children.

Children have a central role in the play, which also depicts scenes from the marriage of Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett and the reading of the Proclamation by Padraig Pearse outside the GPO. It is based on true events and the performers even have the accents right down to a ‘t’

The drama also served as a history lesson to the children, who collaborated in its formation.

“There was a lot of discussion with the children throughout the process, which was very important,” said Ms McLaughlin,

She added: “They had a say in how it developed and the dialogue, which was central to the end product. They have just been so engrossed in the whole process. This play is making 1916 ‘real’ for them. As the characters develop they become more realistic. You can see the empathy the children have for them.”

Ms McLaughlin described the chance to perform at the Abbey Theatre as an “absolute privilege.”

She said: “It’s also a privilege to watch the children working through this dramatic process. We are absolutely delighted they have been rewarded for their hard work.”

Patricia Doherty said while she wrote the play, she worked alongside the children and was inspired by their dialogue.

She said: “While I put it all together, it’s their work from start to finish.”

The impressive set was created by Philip Quigley. Billy McDaid and Terry Tedstone. The cast are now working hard and undertaking a lot of rehearsals ahead of their performance. However, local audiences will be able to see the play in full before it reaches the Abbey Theatre with two special performances at the school next Tuesday, March 15th and Wednesday, March 16th.

Doors open at 7.30pm and the show begins at 8pm. The school hopes that everyone will not only go along to support the children and their performance but also to remember and show their appreciation to those who ‘founded the nation.’ Admission is five euro. Tickets are available at Macs Newsagents, Buncrana or pay at the door.