BY SEÁN P. FEENY
POPULAR Donegal storyteller Joe Brennan has been invited to attend a young people’s theatre festival in Washington DC next month.
The Ramelton based artist has been invited to the US capital as one of five international observers attending a week-long festival, from May 13 to 20.
New Visions/New Voices at the renowned Kennedy Center is a week-long programme in May for playwrights and theatres to stimulate and support the creation of new plays and musicals for young audiences and families, culminating in a weekend of rehearsed readings and discussions with professionals.
Since its inception in 1991, the programme has assisted in the development of 80 new plays, musicals, and operas from 72 playwrights and 32 composers working with 51 U.S. and 7 international theatre companies.
Joe said: “I first became aware of the festival while I was working in Cairo, Egypt last summer and when I saw that they were looking for international observer for this year, I applied and was subsequently kindly invited to attend.”
Joe will be spending a week in DC observing a number of US and international theatre companies rehearsing and working on productions for the final weekend.
“As an observer you watch the whole process, as the companies build up to their performances, and you talk to the actors and directors giving them feedback.”
The popular storyteller will also be able to get some feedback of his own as he will get to work with a dramaturg during the festival.
Dramaturgs are professionals within a theatre or opera company that deal mainly with research and development of plays, focussing on the drama.
Joe said: “It’s all about the drama with a dramaturg, they make suggestions and help you develop the drama, usually in the initial process of developing an idea, but in my case I have already sent of a first draft of my script, The Gold Prince.”
The visiting observers also get a chance to present some of their own work, so Joe is going to take the opportunity and perform a segment from his new script.
“The Gold Prince is fairy tale based, but with all original ideas. I have used the main character before, but this is a totally new adventure for him as he sets out on a journey to find out who he really is,” he said.