Actors Emma O’Leary, Esther Byrne and Mary O’Hanlon who perform in Filling the Silence with Song written by Christine O’Connor and They Don’t Want Us To Mix written by Mawie Barrett
The third volume in a series of seven new radio dramas inspired by the stories of nursing home residents in county Tipperary will be broadcast on YouTube at 7pm on Thursday, December 30.
The plays Filling the Silence with Song by Christine O’Connor and They Don’t Want Us to Mix by Mawie Barrett, were written in response to interviews with nursing home residents that were recorded remotely over mobile phones and tablets during lockdown at the beginning of 2021.
The two dramas form part of The Making of Radio Dramas in a Virtual Realm series.
When asked to talk about a time in their lives when the world was turned on its head, the nursing home residents told diverse, inspiring, and often very personal stories of resilience and challenges overcome.
Now these last two plays in the series are ready to be released at the end of December.
They Don’t Want Us to Mix by Mawie Barrett is directed by Peg Power and acted by Mary O’Hanlon.
In this play, a nursing home resident finds herself cocooned in an upstairs room as the care staff endeavour to protect the residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.
She ruminates on the highs and lows of life, moving from the pandemic to the social constraints of an earlier time and the joy of music.
The second play, Filling the Silence with Song, is written by Christine O’Connor, directed by Enda O’Driscoll, and acted by Esther Byrne and Emma O’Leary.
The play is a conversation between a nursing home resident aged in her 90s and a Catholic nun aged in her 60s from a nearby abbey.
Starting as a light conversation over a pot of tea, the story soon turns to the challenges of life, wisdom stemming from experience; the meaning of dreams and a crisis of faith, ultimately resolving in meaning and consolation found in music and human kindness.
The Making Radio Dramas in a Virtual Realm dramas were created by a team of more than 40 people ranging from 22 to 99-years-old.
They included nursing home residents and staff, writers, directors, voice actors, musicians, drama consultants and technical specialists.
This ambitious arts project was initiated and produced by Linda Fahy at the Tudor Artisan Hub Arts Collective in Carrick-on-Suir in association with Margaret O’Brien of the Writing Changes Lives Writers’ Collective Carrick-on-Suir and many members of the town’s Brewery Lane Drama Group.
Seven nursing home residents from three county Tipperary residential care homes: Greenhill, Carrick-on-Suir; Melview, Clonmel and St Anthony’s, Clonmel, were interviewed resulting in 12 original scripts being created by members of Writing Changes Lives.
Seven of the scripts were selected to be recorded for broadcast, representing each of the nursing home residents who shared their stories.
All the radio plays were recorded, sound engineered and edited by Pete Smith of the Tudor Artisan Hub.
The first three plays were broadcast in March as part of the Healthy Ireland Keep Well Campaign.
Two more were broadcast in September as part of Culture Night.
Now the final two plays are ready to broadcast thanks to funding from the Local Live Performance Scheme Part 2 through the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaelteacht, Sport and Media.
All the plays were supported by the Tipperary County Council Arts Office.
Filling the Silence with Song and They Don’t Want Us To Mix will premiere on YouTube from 7pm on Thursday, December 30.
The YouTube links will be posted on the Tudor Artisan Hub Facebook page
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