This multidisciplinary play, using words, cinematics, animation, music and VFX, will allow audiences to experience the history of the trial while imagining the lives of the accused. This is a story of murder, magic, the devil, and a community in crisis. It offers a unique glimpse into how the ‘witch hunts’ that claimed over 40,000 lives in Europe played out on Irish shores. Premieres on Halloween, 2023: Riverside Threatre, Coleraine.

KEY COLLABORATORS

This play is a collaboration between the School of Arts and Humanities at Ulster University and Distinguished Fellows of the Association for Writing Across the Curriculum from Appalachian State University, NC (USA). The play is written by Georgia Rhoades and directed by Dennis Bohr, founders of Black Sheep Theatre, who have produced political plays for over 3 decades in Kentucky, North Carolina and Derry. The play is performed and produced by staff and students from Ulster’s Cinematic Arts, Drama, Creative Musicianship, History, Music, Sound and Technology, and Screen Production programmes.

Georgia Rhoades is a founding member of Black Sheep Theatre, which has produced her plays The Cook (commissioned by The Playhouse in Derry, N. Ireland, for the City of Culture celebrations) and Witchwork as well as one acts The Sheela-na-gig, Treehome, and Waterwoman. She has held multiple artistic residencies at Annaghmakerrig, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at The Playhouse (which also commissioned her play Gretta Cousins, Daughter of the Morning). Rhoades directed writing programs at Appalachian State University for twenty-one years and has received grants from Alternate ROOTS, The Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council, among others.

Dennis Bohr plays include Pope Joan: The Hiss of the Snake, which premiered at The Playhouse in Derry, NI in 1996 and toured to Ballina, Kilkenny, Cootehill, Galway, and Louisville and Boone in the States. The Play that Dare Not Speak its Name (published by Heartland Plays), was produced by Black Sheep in Derry and the States: his other plays include Burn in Hell, Dark all Day, The World Serious, and The Disposable Man, produced in the States and Derry, and his one-man play The English Whore, which toured in NI and Ireland as well as to the States. He has held multiple artistic residencies at Annaghmakerrig, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and The Playhouse and is a founding member of Black Sheep Theatre.

Lisa Fitzpatrick studied in Trinity College and University College Dublin prior to completing her PhD at the Graduate Centre for Study of Drama, University of Toronto. She is a Senior Lecturer in Drama, teaching critical theory, dramaturgy, and Irish Theatre, and supervising PhD students in contemporary Irish theatre and post-conflict performance research. Lisa has published extensively on performance and violence, post-conflict theatre, and gender. She has received funding from the British Academy and the Canadian High Commission, and has been an invited speaker at a number of events, including the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL), the Warwick Politics and Performance Network, and the Irish Theatrical Diaspora project.

Shannon Devlin is a social and gender historian of nineteenth-century Ireland. Her research interests lie in the Irish middle classes and middle-class family. Shannon’s research explores the role of kin in social networking, family finances, family reputation and strategy. In 2020, she completed her PhD at Queen’s University, Belfast, and is currently developing this research into a monograph. Shannon previously published her research on Irish girls’ education in Women’s History Review and through the Centre for Public History at QUB. In 2022, she was a Fellow at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania undertaking research into the role of siblings in Irish nineteenth-century migration networks. She is a member of the Women’s History Association of Ireland, the Society for the Study of Nineteenth-Century Ireland, the Irish Association of Professional Historians, and the Royal Historical Society.

Amanda Finch is an early career researcher whose current research explores the relationship between gender, violence and comedy, using contemporary performances of Shakespeare as case studies. Her research interests include feminist and queer theory, gender and social justice, the representation of gendered violence in theatre, and the role of costume in the representation of gender. She has extensive experience as a drama educator and has been designing and creating costumes for six years.

Gerard Gibson is a Lecturer in Screen Production at Ulster University. He has a background in the visual arts and experience as a designer, illustrator and educator. His researches look at how horror stories are conveyed by the spaces, places and things that are used to tell them. Each object and every space and place bring their own set of histories, associations and qualities with them. Horror takes these things and twists them just slightly beyond the familiar making even the most normal things uncanny. Gerard’s studies into the design and meaning of these unreliable materials tells us much about what horror allows us to do and how it challenges the certainties of life and being, uncovering the ways we think about ourselves, the world around us and how we believe our worlds work.


© Copyright Victoria McCollum and Andrew Sneddon 2022