Work Experience in the Abbey Theatre

This week we have a very unique and exciting blog post indeed as member Rachel Byrne fills us in on her wondrous week of work experience in the Abbey Theatre! 


When I first heard about this work experience, I wasn’t sure whether or not to even apply. I had only been involved in theatre for about six months, so I figured my chances of being picked against someone who had been doing drama since primary school were pretty slim… But I bit the bullet and posted off my application. A few weeks later, I got a phone call saying that I had been offered a place! I couldn’t believe it and my friends will tell you that I didn’t shut up about it for ages!

So, on Monday the 19th of May, I made my way to the theatre and met the other students and some of the mentors that would be working with us over the week. There were only ten students on the course so we all got to know each other fairly quickly.

Over the week, we got an inside scoop as to how a professional theatre is run and how everything is managed and organised in order for a show to happen. We got to work with the set designers, stage managers, costume designers, the light and sound crew just to name a few.

We got a tour around the costume department and we got to see how all of the ideas change from mood boards to pieces of pinned fabric to beautiful suits and dresses onstage. We also got to see some of the costume stores, where there were rooms that were just filled with shoes, then a room for jackets, then another room for shirts and ties and then, there was a room just filled with socks and belts. Needless to say we all had a field trip, even though we couldn’t try anything on… We got a tour of the props department too. There is a whole building, not a room, a whole building just dedicated to props. Everyone was so excited to see all the authentic old newspapers, bottles, suitcases, and even old bicycles. We got to play with some leftover sugar glass and I got to smash a whole pane over one of the girls heads. There was also a tub of fake blood and we all got a good laugh out of that. It’s made of a type of sugar syrup so that it’s okay to eat it if it gets in your mouth, so one of the guys started drinking it!! We had pains in our sides laughing at him!

We got to have Q&A sessions with people from lots of the different departments. We got to talk to Ruth from the literary department, Kelly from casting, Maeve from communications and even Faich Mac Conghail who is the artistic director of the Abbey. These were all really interesting and I learned so much from just having a bit of a chat.

Apart from tours and seeing backstage, we took part in some workshops. We had an acting workshop with Phil Kingston, where we had to go out into the streets of Dublin, and follow people. Sounds like stalking I know, but it was actually really interesting. We simply had to pick a person and walk in their rhythm and their posture. One of the weirdest, but most fun exercises I done. When we got back to the theatre, we had to work in pairs on an excerpt from Romeo and Juliet… We spent quite a long time on reading the lines in different tones and as we were working in our pairs we had to read them with our eyes closed, reading it like the person we were speaking to didn’t speak English, or even with our backs to each other to again name a few. I really liked this workshop because it showed how differently the script can be interpreted by each person. By the end of it we all knew the lines so well that we probably could’ve quoted them to anyone, word perfect, within a seconds notice.

We also took part in a brilliant workshop from Andrea Ainsworth, the voice director. We spent this time working our voices and opening up the different registers and learning to use our breath properly. We did a lot of exercises to loosen out the muscles around our ribs and we could all feel how much deeper we could breath and how easier it was to fill the space with our voices. I really enjoyed this workshop because whatever way Andrea used the exercises, we didn’t even notice how much we were working so it was so much fun. I think we noticed how much we worked the next day, because everyone’s sides and ribs were sore!

I really enjoyed my week at the Abbey and I learned so much in such a short space of time. When we were all finishing up on the Friday, we were saying how we were going to miss it. I got some really valuable experience and met some really great people, I only wish I could do it all again. I think anyone who has any sort of interest in working in a theatre should give this a go, even just apply on a whim like I did, because there is so much more to a theatre than acting on stage and there are so many departments that there has to be an area of interest for anyone.


DYT presents Around the World in 80 Days

Happy Thursday folks! As the more astute Facebook watchers among you may have noticed, Droichead Youth Theatre is back with another fantastic production! Coming May 24th for one night only, see Droichead Youth Theatre present Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, adapted for stage by Philip Brennan and Stephen Colfer. With the show a mere week away, we took a trip to rehearsals to get some cast members to tell us a little more about the production:


“Well the play is about an English fellow who is oh so proper! His name is Mr.Phileas Fogg. He makes a bet with the reform club that he will get the other half of the orphanage if he *dramatic pause*…. makes it around the world in 80 days! In a race against time, Fogg sets off on his journey but is stopped constantly by unsuspecting events. I really like the play. The script has a very good story line and I think it’s great for our very first play. With everyone we have involved in this I think it’ll be very good and a great play to come see for some laughs with family and friends. And for the minor characters it’s going to be fun with all the costume changes! Yay for theatre!!” -Alix Magilton


“If you imagine a Monty Python wrote a blockbuster about a man with OCD, a superiority complex, and mild to unacceptable xenophobia who goes around the world fighting crime with his motley crew of damsels, detectives, and moustache twirling villains. Then you imagine that blockbuster was filled with exotic locations, action sequences and beautiful costumes. Then you remember that we have a budget of about €200. That’s our play” -Andy McLoughlin


“A plethora of varied, somewhat racist and potentially quite attractive characters, go on an adventure Hobbit-style throughout many of the world’s exotic holiday destinations and Cork. Fun for all the family especially if you’re all racists and enjoy casual insults towards silly Englishmen” – Niall Gibbons


Around the World in 80 Days plays at 3pm and 8pm on May 24th in the Droichead Arts Centre, for more information check out our event page

A trip to Bruiser’s “The Nose!”

This week we look back on our recent trip to the theatre as Lorna Kettle tells us about Bruiser Theatre Company’s production of “The Nose!”

When I first heard that Brusier Theatre Company would be returning to Drogheda I couldn’t help but feel excited! They were touring their new show ‘The Nose’, based on the short story by Nikolai Gogal. I first sampled Bruiser’s work back in November when I went to see their adaption of ‘Caucasian Chalk Circle’ by Bertolt Brecht and I was impressed by their energetic movement pieces and their imaginative and creative sound scapes to bring the text of Brecht to life. After seeing this show my expectations were elevated. I hoped that ‘The Nose’ would be of the same standard as ‘Caucasian Chalk Circle’. Thankfully, Bruiser did not disappoint as they had set the bar quite high.

The play was centred on Alexey, a hard-nosed mayor who wakes up one morning to find that his most distinguishing feature, his nose, has vanished. We follow Alexey through his frantic search for his nose, going to great lengths to try and get it back. The methods that Alexey took to get his nose back did not fail to have the whole audience in stitches. From driving in a high speed car chase with his nose, to hiring a crazy doctor who will use unorthodox ways to attach a nose back to his face, this humorous and comedic style will put a smile on your face.

This adaptation of Nikolai Gogal’s short story preserves his whimsical writing style and makes fun of those who hold all the power and who are seen as being above everyone else. In comparison to the ‘Caucasian Chalk Circle’ who had a cast of nine actors, ‘The Nose’ had a smaller cast of only two actors. At first, I was doubtful that two actors could not pull off the same flawless movement pieces, and bring the story to life as a larger cast had done. However, I was proved wrong. The actors succeeded in creating a multitude of different and diverse characters including a Russian doctor, a pleasant and charming elderly woman, two energetic journalists looking for a scoop and a frantic and desperate mayor searching for the centre piece of his face, in order to bring the text to life. Their ability to create a sound scape using random objects also fascinated me. Even though the actors did use props throughout the piece, they also used sound scapes to make the setting more realistic. Their original and artistic style captured the audience’s attention right from the start, and kept hold of it right until the end of the show.

I was lucky enough to see two of Bruiser’s productions. I certainly enjoyed both productions and would not hesitate, if offered the chance, to see a third production. I would recommend anyone to go see the hilarious show ‘The Nose’, you will not be disappointed!