Irish Repertory Theatre & Fishamble: The New Play Company announce
The Transatlantic Commissions Programme
Readings of short plays by Black Irish writers and artists of colour mentored by
Pulitzer Prize Finalist & Obie Award Winner
Last year, Fishamble: The New Play Company (Jim Culleton, Artistic Director) and the Irish Repertory Theatre (Charlotte Moore, Artistic Director and Ciarán O’Reilly, Producing Director) announced their first collaboration, the 2022 Transatlantic Commissions Programme, an endeavor that aimed to address head-on the historical inequalities in representation that have existed in the theatrical canon. Together, Fishamble and Irish Rep commissioned four Black Irish artists and writers of colour to work with mentor, Obie Award-winning playwright and Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith throughout the year to create new works. These new works will be workshopped and presented in public readings by Fishamble in Project Arts Centre, Dublin, Ireland, the Irish Rep in New York City, as well as public libraries in both San Francisco and Los Angeles this March.
BENT! – Felicia Olusanya FELISPEAKS
The Black Wolfe Tone – Kwaku Fortune
89 – Jade Jordan
Corktown – CN Smith
Tickets available below.
Maureen Kennelly, Director of The Arts Council, said “The Arts Council is committed to ensuring that the arts landscape is more reflective of Ireland in all its diversity and we are delighted to support this collaborative programme. Increased diversity and equality in the arts makes a richer creative arena for everyone and we look forward to the development and performance of these new works.”
Helena Nolan, Consul General of Ireland in New York, added “We are delighted to support the Irish Repertory Theatre and this important new commissioning project in partnership with Dublin’s Fishamble: The New Play Company. Both theatres play an integral role in their communities and I am particularly proud to see them investing in the careers of under-represented playwrights from Ireland, whose voices deserve to be heard both in Ireland and in the United States.”
Sharon Barry, Director, Culture Ireland commented: “We are delighted to support Fishamble’s ambitious Transatlantic Commissions Programme at the Irish Rep in New York and other dates across the US. Culture Ireland is committed to supporting work which presents the best of contemporary Irish arts that reflects the true diversity of modern Ireland to global audiences and this programme provides an important opportunity shine a light on underrepresented voices from within Ireland’s new communities."
Fishamble and Irish Rep are proud to foster a supportive creative environment for this cohort, and to promote and celebrate under-represented voices in Irish theatre.
About Irish Repertory Theatre
IRISH REPERTORY THEATRE, co-founded by Producing Director Ciarán O'Reilly and Artistic Director Charlotte Moore, is now in its 33rd season after first opening its doors in September 1988 with Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars. Irish Rep is currently the only year-round theatre company in New York City devoted to bringing Irish and Irish American works to the stage. Recognized with the Jujamcyn Theatres Award, a special Drama Desk Award for “Excellence in Presenting Distinguished Irish Drama,” an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Achievement, and the Lucille Lortel Award for “Outstanding Body of Work,” Irish Rep celebrates the very best in Irish theatre, from the masters to the new generation of Irish and Irish American writers who are transforming the stage. Nearly 50,000 audience members annually attend productions at Irish Rep’s theatre located in the heart of New York’s Off-Broadway community. Once here, they witness Irish Rep’s engaging perspective on the Irish and their unique contributions to the world of drama.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT IrishRep.org
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT IrishRep.org
About Dael Orlandersmith
DAEL ORLANDERSMITH’s plays include Stoop Stories, Black n’ Blue Boys/Broken Men, Horsedreams, Bones, The Blue Album, Yellowman, The Gimmick, Monster, and Forever. Ms. Orlandersmith was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Drama Desk Award nominee for Yellowman and the winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Gimmick. Dael is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, The Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, a Guggenheim, along with several other awards and honors. Her play, Forever, was commissioned and performed at the Mark Taper Forum/Kirk Douglas Theatre Fall of 2014, followed by performances at the Long Wharf Theatre Winter 2014/15, New York Theatre Workshop Spring 2015, and ran at Portland Center Stage Winter in 2016. Her play Until the Flood was done at St Louis Repertory in the fall of 2016.
She is currently working on two commissions for Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. Until the Flood was done at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in 2018 and Milwaukee Rep in 2019. It was done at Portland Center Stage, ACT Seattle, the Arcola Theatre in London, The Galway Arts Festival at the Druid Theatre and at the Traverse at Edinburgh Festival. The play is scheduled to be performed in Berlin at the Schaubruhner Theatre in April of 2022 and at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC in June 2022. Ms Orlandersmith is working on a commission for Rattlestick Theater called watching the watcher and has two plays opening at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in 2022: NEW AGE, to be directed by Jade King Carroll; and Antonio’s Song/I Was Dreaming Of A Son, co-written with Antonio Suarez Edwards and directed by Mark Clement. She is also working on a new work with writer/performer David Cale called You don’t know the lonely one. and is working on a new piece called SPIRITAS in 2020. Ms Orlandersmith received the Doris Duke Award.
About the writers
KWAKU FORTUNE will next appear on our screens as Josh Ola alongside Angeline Ball, Peter Coonan and Simone Kirby in Hidden Assets directed by Thaddeus O'Sullivan; Redemption directed by John Hayes for ITV; and Burn It All opposite Toni O'Rourke, directed by Jack Hickey. He has most recently been cast as Ray in The Beauty Queen Of Leenane directed by Rachel O'Riordan for the Lyric Hammersmith & Chichester Festival Theatre, and as the voice of “Gael” in the Skydance / Apple+ animated feature Luck. Further screen credits include “Line Of Duty” for the BBC (broadcast earlier this year); “Normal People” directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald for BBC 1, BBC 3 and Hulu; and “Animals” alongside Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat, directed by Sophie Hyde. Stage credits include the role of Eli in Asking For It at Birmingham Repertory Theatre; Peat directed by Tim Crouch; and the role of Dara Mood Caitríona McLaughlin’s acclaimed production of Marina Carr's Raftery's Hill directed for the main stage at the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre. Kwaku trained at the Lír Academy, Dublin (in association with RADA). He is highly skilled in football & motocross, and has some boxing experience.
JADE JORDAN is a mixed race Irish actor and author of Nanny, Ma & Me. She studied screen acting at Dublin’s Bow Street Academy. Jade’s television credits include upcoming roles in ITV drama-No Return, ITV/Virgin Media drama Redemption, Channel 5 drama Witness No 3, as well as guest roles on Kin RTE1, Channel 4’s The Virtues and BBC’s Doctors. DIFF this year will see her in a number of productions, Kate Dolan’s feature film You are not my Mother, Shaun Dunne’s film documentary How to tell a Secret & as a writer and producer her own short film The Colour Between. Her theatrical appearances include Citysong & Dear Ireland for the Abbey Theatre, Coole Park Poetry Series & Four Days in July for Druid Theatre Company.
FELISPEAKS (Felicia Olusanya) is a Nigerian-Irish Poet, Performer, Playwright from Co. Longford; currently based in Dublin City. FELISPEAKS has been nominated ‘Best Performer’ by Dublin Fringe Festival Sep. 2018. As well as being a Member of the Poetry Ireland Board of Directors appointed June 2020, Felicia is a member of the Poetry Collective, WeAreGriot. FELISPEAKS’ poem: ‘For Our Mothers’ is in the English Ordinary Level Leaving Cert Curriculum for examination year 2023. Also in 2020, FELISPEAKS was commissioned a new piece for RTÉ’s The Big Picture on the theme of ‘The New Normal’ - this poem, entitled Still captured the minds of the nation and has been performed to audiences all over the country. In 2021, FELISPEAKS continued to climb, with a Visual Carlow Residency and Arts Council Bursary supporting her work. She wrote and performed Do You Miss It?, commissioned by Guinness for their national advertising campaign, ‘The Best of the Pub’. She also wrote More Than Ever for Tullamore Dew X District Magazine advertising collaboration, performed by Adam Mohammed. FELISPEAKS has also recently performed at ‘Dignity, A Celebration of Bob Dylan at 80’ at the US Ambassador’s Residence, and was nominated for JCI Ireland’s Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the Year in the category of Cultural Achievement. FELISPEAKS ends 2021 as an Irish Tatler Woman of the Year with a win in the Catalyst Category - which recognises a woman who has affected change in Irish society in a pivotal way!
CN SMITH is a playwright and director from County Louth. He holds an MFA in Playwriting from the Lir Academy and is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where he directed Van Gogh’s Sunflowers (Samuel Beckett Theatre, 2019), and Eden (ISDA, 2019). Writing work includes the radio play Ode to a Postcode (Dublin Fringe, 2019), and At the Very Beginning (Civic Theatre, 2020/21), both written for young audiences. He was an inaugural member of the Abbey Theatre’s Young Curators programme in 2018/2019, and was a recipient of The Lir Academy’s Patricia Leggett Playwriting Scholarship for 2020. He also participated in Smock Alley’s Baptiste Programme, and Dublin Fringe’s WEFT Studio Group, both in 2021, where he developed his plays A Trip to the Beach and Before You Head Off.
San Francisco: 23 March, 5.30pm
Public Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles: 26 March, 2.00pm
Central Library - Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 West 5th Street,
Los Angeles, CA