Dublin’s "Culture Connects" Programme Announced

Community groups throughout Dublin City will be taking centre stage at national theatres, galleries, museums and performance venues across the capital over the coming weeks to perform and display artworks developed with artists through "Dublin’s Culture Connects: The National Neighbourhood programme."

A city-wide project, Dublin’s Culture Connects is an initiative of Dublin City Council. It aims to connect communities through culture, recognising the role it plays in all aspects of city life - from the economy, to education, to tourism and community.

In all, 60 community groups from 22 villages across Dublin city worked on 32 separate cultural projects. Fifty artists and creative entrepreneurs were involved in the initiative.

For the first time, Dublin’s Culture Connects brings together Dublin City Council’s Arts, Cultural and Community resources in partnership with all eight National Cultural Institutions located in Dublin - the Abbey Theatre, the National Museum of Ireland, the National Library of Ireland, the National Gallery of Ireland, the National Concert Hall, the Chester Beatty Library, The National Archives of Ireland and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

For the project, each of the Council’s five administrative areas, through the Area Offices, has partnered with specific national cultural institutions, supported by Dublin Public Libraries, Dublin City Arts Office, and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. Since September 2016, choreographers, writers, song-writers, photographers and filmmakers, historians and performers have been working collaboratively with local community groups to develop a range of projects of relevance to the communities’ interests. Each project came about as a result of a series of conversations with local community groups and their ideas about cultural engagement.

The National Neighbourhood scheme has six projects:

· The North West Area: Press Play, in partnership with the Abbey Theatre and the National Museum of Ireland.

· The North Central Area: It Takes a Village, in partnership with the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

· The Central Area: Around the Table, in partnership with the National Library of Ireland.

· South Central Area: (Y)our Story, in partnership with the National Concert Hall and the Chester Beatty Library.

· South East Area: ALIGHT!, in partnership with CoisCéim BROADREACH, and Ships Passing in the Night, both in partnership with Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and the National Gallery of Ireland.

· A Cross City project: Out of the Box, which takes place in partnership with the National Archives of Ireland.

Commenting on the National Neighbourhood, Chief Executive of Dublin City Council, Owen Keegan said: “Dublin's Culture Connects and its projects began the implementation of Dublin City Council's Cultural Strategy. Its spirit of partnership and connections across the city highlights Dublin's enormous cultural strength, ambition and energy, and helps us to see the aspects of our work where culture can make a significant contribution.

“The National Neighbourhood projects in particular have allowed the Council to work directly with communities, ringing the assets of Dublin City Council and the National Cultural Institutions together, in partnership with artists and creative entrepreneurs. We're looking forward to continuing to further test this model of using culture to drive real change in Dublin as we continue to deliver the cultural strategy.”

Community events held as part of the initiative were widespread and included guided tours, visits and workshops with the eight national cultural institutions, a visit by members of the Dockworkers Preservation Society to Dublin Port, their former workplace; a personal and social research project utilising the services of The National Archives, and a maritime communication project between Dodder Sea Scouts and children from the Dublin Sikh Community, in which they learned Morse code to send messages to each other.

"There is now an opportunity for the public to come along and witness the fruits of these collaborations as they culminate in events taking place over the coming weeks," said a spokesperson for Dublin City Council.

Admission to all events is free, and all are welcome, however, a ticket is required for some of the events, so booking is essential. Upcoming public performances include:

· Chapter 1…(Y)our Story, The National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, Monday 20th February at 6.30pm-8pm. A night of song and story to celebrate the achievements of communities in South Central Dublin. There will be spoken word performance from Stephen James Smith and the women’s group from Labre Park, Ballyfermot; a mini musical from Sam Kavanagh (Lalala Choir) and youth from Drimnagh; Story Time with Xanthe Gresham, and a host of other treats, including visual arts, music and film. Booking essential from http://www.nch.ie/Online/DCC-Chapter-1-20Feb17.

The (Y)Our Story project saw members of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland’s Amal Group and F2 Centre, South Circular Road; Labre Park Women’s Group, Ballyfermot, and Bosco Youth Centre, Drimnagh work with a range of artists, including poet Stephen James Smith, singer-songwriter Glen Hansard, performance storyteller Xanthe Gresham-Knight; film-makers Myles O’Reilly and Hanan Dirya, visual artist Helen Barry, musician Sam Kavanagh and drama facilitator Dave Kelly, to tell their stories, exchange culture and skills, and to transform ‘your’ story into ‘our’ story.

Mini-projects included storytelling and singing sessions with the Labre Park Women’s Group and a documentary about life at the Ballyfermot halting site; a skills-exchange programme between members of the F2 Centre’s women’s group in Rialto and the Amal Women’s Group and a mini-musical and film piece with the members of the Bosco Youth Centre.

The National Concert Hall event will comprise a final showcase of the films and performances created. This event is part of the (Y)our Story project.

· When and Now, Abbey Theatre, 26/27 Abbey Street, Dublin 1, Wednesday 22nd February, 2pm-3.30pm. Members of the north-west Dublin city community will perform a series of monologues written by Dermot Bolger about the extraordinary lives of supposedly ‘ordinary’ people from Cabra.

The monologues will explore how the events of history touch significantly, tragically and sometimes inspirationally upon those lives and how rich all our lives are when we stop to examine the moments of choice and determination that shape us. There will also be a performance of an Irish Haka and a new culture and sports anthem, created with local community groups and the artists George Higgs and Sean Millar. This event is part of the Press Play project. Booking essential. Email [email protected] to book.

· Mystery History Cabaret, St Patrick’s Church, Thorncastle Street, Ringsend, Dublin 4, Sunday 26, Monday 27, Tuesday 28 February, 8pm. This 90-minute performance takes the form of a journey from Pearse Street to Sandycove and back aboard a specially decorated orange double-decker bus.

Members of the local community, who have been working with choreographer Muirne Bloomer and actor/musician Hugh Brown, and CoisCéim BROADREACH, will bring the audience through this site-specific performance, which involves colourful tales, great songs, and imagined ghost stories.

This is a free event but booking is required as seats are limited. This event is part of the ALIGHT! project. Email [email protected] to book tickets, or call 01-878 0558.

Further events are taking place across the city throughout February, including in Drimnagh, Ballyfermot, Finglas, Cabra, Sandymount, Irishtown, Coolock, Dolphins Barn, as well as at The National Library of Ireland, The Chester Beatty Library and more.

Further events will be announced for March 2017 in due course. Details of all projects, participating community groups and artists can be found on the Dublin’s Culture Connects website: http://www.dublinscultureconnects.ie/category/the-national-neighbourhood/around-the-table/


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