BY SEAN P. FEENY
WHEN Karen Quinn’s new play The Bull is performed at An Grianán next month, it will be somewhat of a homecoming to the Letterkenny theatre for the young writer.
Originally from Rathmullan, Karen (22) went to school at Loreto Convent in Letterkenny and at the age of 16 joined the Youth Theatre at An Grianán in 2006.
The youngest of five admits she had ‘little interest’ in drama before she joined the Youth Theatre.
“Apart from the usual school Christmas plays, I had never acted before. I loved the Youth Theatre group and I met some of my closest friends there,” she said.
Karen stayed with the group until she started at Queen’s University, Belfast, where she sat her degree in English and Drama studies, graduating in 2011.
Throughout her time at Queen’s Karen continued to perform, playing the role of Bridget in Translations directed by David Grant, who of course also has close ties to An Grianán having directed the theatre’s productions of The O’Neill and A Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of the annual Earagail Arts Festival.
“l also played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (Director: Jack Dewry) and Sarah in The People Left Behind (Director: Ewan Jeffry).
“Thanks to the Drama Department at Queen’s, I was introduced to playwright Owen McCafferty,” she said.
It was under McCafferty’s guidance that Karen wrote The Bull, her first full length play which is being staged at An Grianán Theatre on Thursday, April 5.
Karen said: “It’s actually set in a place called Glenmullan – a fictional village in Donegal. It follows the events leading up to and past Sally Mac Donagh’s tenth birthday.
“Fundamentally, it’s about childhood innocence – how the world can be perceived by a 10-year-old child and how families desperately try to hold onto that innocence for as long as they can.”
This is the first time the play is going on tour and An Grianán is the first stop, but The Bull has had previous performances, running for three nights at the Brian Friel Theatre in Belfast.
Once again a Queen’s University Players production, it is the original director and cast touring with the play,” Karen said.
“The Bull’s director (Colm G Doran) has done such a fantastic job with casting this play. I’m incredibly proud of all of them.”