New Creative Counties Network Set to Inspire Collaboration and Enhance Profile of Arts In Local Communities

Ahead of Culture Night, an ambitious new creative network is set to launch this week across counties Leitrim, Longford, Roscommon and Sligo.

Spearheaded by The Dock Arts Centre in Carrick-on-Shannon, Creative Counties brings together six of Ireland’s leading cultural venues across four counties. Collectively, the network will initially focus on shared projects, enhanced communication and audience development, harnessing synergies and communities across the four counties.

The programme was awarded a Creative Ireland National Award and is supported by Local Authorities in Leitrim, Longford, Sligo and Roscommon.  As well as The Dock Arts Centre in Carrick-on-Shannon, the network includes Sligo’s Hawks Well Theatre, Backstage Theatre in Longford, Roscommon Arts Centre, and The Glens Centre and Leitrim Sculpture Centre in Leitrim.

Commenting on the launch of the network, Sarah Searson, Project Director, and Director of The Dock, said: “We are delighted to present the work of the Creative Counties network to the public following a busy few months for our participating venues and artists. The opportunity here is to really drive home that the social and community value and the great work undertaken by arts centres in the region. This year is about breaking ground, and we really look forward to progressing it further in 2020.”

This network brings together venues, audiences and creative communities through sharing projects which focus on the performing arts, music and theatre.

The first three projects presented by the network this autumn are shared between two cultural centres, Backstage Theatre and Roscommon Arts Centre, The Dock and the Hawk’s Well Theatre, and the Glens Centre and Leitrim Sculpture Centre.

Creative Counties will showcase the network’s projects to date on Culture Night, this Friday 20th September, in participating venues. For further details, see creativecounties.ie and follow online @creativecounti1 #CreativeCounties

OVERVIEW OF PROJECTS

Both Sides of the Lough at The Dock Arts Centre(Leitrim) and Hawks Well Theatre (Sligo)

The Dock and Hawk’s Well Theatre will commission and produce a music project across Sligo and Leitrim. This project harnesses the wealth of creativity and talent available across the two counties and is being produced in conjunction with a number of highly skilled creative leaders including: Michael Rooney, Niamh Crowley and Kellie Hughes.

The project links master and apprentice musicians and brings together different segments of our artistic community including young traditional musicians, amateur and professional classical and traditional adult musicians and also involves a number of professional theatre practitioners.

Through a series of workshops in both Sligo and Leitrim, two groups of young traditional musicians will meet with master musicians; attaining skills, broadening their musical horizons and working on a body of newly commissioned pieces of music written by renowned composer Michael Rooney.

Separately, a community orchestra in Sligo will expand to include interested musicians from Leitrim and 2 chamber music groups are being formed in each county will rehearse the newly commissioned music also.  The project will culminate in two performances (one in each county) which will showcase the development of creativity which the project has enabled and nurtured.

**Culture Night performance Trad After Work, 5pm at the Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo, The Dock will host a showcase of the Creative Counties project from 4 – 11pm.

Performing North Leitrim at Leitrim Sculpture Centre and The Glens Centre (Manorhamilton, Leitrim)

A cross-disciplinary performance based collaboration, this project sets out to develop and establish new performing and performance art opportunities jointly at the two Centres and and realise new site-specific performance based methodologies working with local communities.

The project began in May 2019 with the commissioning of two artists in residence, Little John Nee and Sandra Corrigan Breathnach. Both artists have spent time researching and developing projects in collaboration with community members and in relation to the historical contexts and material environments of Manorhamilton and the North Leitrim area.

Residency artists will develop projects with local communities through a series of workshops that will take place both at the two Centres and at a number of sites and outdoor locations around the town. The work undertaken within the workshops will evolve and give shape to an ensemble of related performance works to be presented to the public at the end of October 2019.

**Culture Night performance: Little John Nee’s Rain Shed, inspired by his love of Leitrim rust, is a short sound & light sculpture where it may be raining but it smells like Summer. From 4pm – 6pm in the Glens Centre. 

Luminaria & Playmaking at Backstage Theatre (Longford) and Roscommon Arts Centre

Maisie Lee has been engaged as Artist in Residence at Backstage Theatre Longford. Backstage are funding the residency under their Arts Council Strategic Venue Funding for 2019. During the Residency the Artist will work on the development of new professional theatre for children ‘Luminaria’ and will deliver a playwriting project for children.  On foot of the Creative Ireland Network funding, Backstage agreed to share both elements of the residency with Roscommon Arts Centre to broaden the reach and deepen the impact of the artist’s work and Roscommon Arts Centre agreed to invest additional money into the project to cover the cost of the delivery of the project in Roscommon.

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