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After 6 months, 3 shows, nearly 50 cast and crew, over 1,000 audience members and endless cups of tea, we at Devious Theatre have completed our residency in Kilkenny Arts Office.

It’s been an amazing, fantastic and hugely enjoyable ride and we’ve loved every second of it. It has really helped push us as a company and given us a platform from which we can engage with the next few years of our work.

The get out of No. 76 was a tough mistress and we were very sad to be packing, painting and rebuilding. But it was made all the sweeter by the news that we’ve acquired our own fulltime base in The Maltings off James Street. So we won’t be returning to our old homeless, guerrilla ways!

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mary Butler, Niamh Finn and Kilkenny Co. Council for all the amazing support and opportunities that they’ve given us over not just the last 6 months but the past few years. We couldn’t have done this without ye.

To the future, when all is well!

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Local photographer Pat Moore stopped by Scratcher during one of our performances in February and has kindly sent on a few photos for us. You can check out Pat’s work online at PhotosByPatMoore.com.

If you missed out on Scratcher, here’s a look back at what went on. Hopefully we’ll have some video to share with you in the next few weeks.

You can view these photos and loads more besides over on our Flickr account.

It’s been an interesting 2 months since we at Devious Theatre have started our ‘In The Future When All’s Well’ residency in No. 76 John Street. It’s been pretty busy too… hence why this is the first time I’ve gotten around to doing any blogging here on the artists residency blog. But now that the madness of the first 8 weeks has subsided and Scratcher is done and dusted, I’m suddenly afforded the time to write! So I thought my first contribution to the blog should be a reflection on what we’ve done so far. Both in terms of production and space.

It was a bit overwhelming starting our residency at the same time as starting a new production of a brand new show. At the same time we were figuring out how to turn No. 76 into a theatre, we were starting rehearsals. As we were finding the right place for our porridge, tea and cups in the kitchen, we were doing costume tests and designing sets. As we were ripping down walls and cutting up carpet, we were shooting promo videos. It was a very intensive couple of weeks but it was by virtue of having a space we could work in and call our own that we managed to get through a huge amount of work. Indeed, at no stage did we fall behind on the production which was a massive bonus and proves how well the time and space worked for us. If I fell behind on anything, it was blogging here….tut.

No. 76 is by no means a conventional theatre space. It has low ceilings, white walls and is entirely carpeted! However, by virtue of being in residency we were able to accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives (as Bobby Darin once sang) and the feedback we got when audiences started filing into No. 76 was really positive. We had some problems (sight lines, not enough chairs, too hot, too cold) but we’ve put them down as teething problems and we’re confident that we can make the next 2 productions of ‘In The Future When All’s Well’ as effective and integrated into the space. Even after 8 weeks we still find ourselves lauding the fact that we get to rehearse in the same space that we perform in. There is no greater luxury for a theatre company. We also managed to get in all theatrical mod cons like a green room, dressing room and tech area. The adaptability of the Arts Office lended itself very well to a team of up to 20 people working there for a week. Not to mention accomodating an audience of 70 plus every night.

Scratcher went down exceedingly well and it was nice to fill the venue for the last 4 of the 5 nights. The next 4/5 months suddenly have a lot of momentum. It’s given us a great deal of confidence as we launch into the new production Shifting by John Kennedy, this week. Again, we’ll be transforming the place into a theatre venue, this time with a different layout and arrangement. But since we’ve ever so slightly gutted No. 76 the first time around, got rid of our seats and rigging, we’re now left with an empty canvas from which to work!I’ll be blogging more regularly here in the run up to Shifting, I swear!

Do pop in and see us, the kettle is always on!

John Morton

Shifting runs from 18th – 23rd of April in No. 76 John Street.

Well, there you have it. Scratcher is done and dusted. We built things up, had a ball, broke them down and we’re going to build even better things in their place. That place will be Shifting, coming to the Arts Office in April but we’re allowing a few days of dust to settle on Scratcher before we kick off again.

So how did it all go?

In fairness, it was a fantastic week. We had good numbers for the opening night and had to operate a waiting list for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, something we’ve never done before but, for the most part, it worked out. People who were unable to get tickets having turned up on any of the nights in question were able to walk away with tickets for other nights (barring Saturday, of course) and as it happened, over the course of the week, we wound up increasing the capacity gradually from 70 to 80.

Lessons were learned, the craic was had, experiences shared – but that’s part of the residency. We’re here to work, to build, to devise, to share and at the end of the day, put on a cracking good show. Judging by the reactions from the audience across the week I think we can say that we’ve achieved that. Initial reviews and feedback have been great but good, bad, or otherwise, feedback is very much something we always welcome so if you made the show last week, leave a comment and let us know what you thought.

In true Devious fashion, everything lined up right before the deadline. Costume, seating, rostrum, late prop additions, set dressing, sound, lights and more. On that note, we do have people to thank who weren’t directly involved in the production but without whose suppose the show would have been something completely different altogether. Those include Maeve Butler at The Hub, Cillin Hill for arranging the seating for the venue for the week; Vincent Dempsey and Barnstorm Theatre for the use of rostrum and rails to created the tiered seating in the arts office; Barry Reilly of the Bridgebrook Arms in Thomastown and Peter Roberts of The Mill Studio for provision of par can lighting for the week. We’re quite resourceful when it comes to getting props, costumes and technical equipment for shows but seating and lighting are two things that don’t come with the Arts Office space.

The cast of Scratcher were Alan Butler, Ross Costigan, Amy Dunne, Ken McGuire (Producer), John Morton (Director), Annette O’Shea and David Thompson. Behind the scenes of course, we wouldn’t be able to function on the night without Angela Barrett (Assistant Director), Paddy Dunne (Producer), Lucy McKenna (Costume), Linda Hanbidge (Makeup), Richie Cody (Lighting), Geoff Warner-Clayton (Sound) and our front of house team of John Kennedy (writer of upcoming production, Shifting), Alex Christle, Sorcha O’Boyle, Eleanor Walsh and some man Eddie Brennan.

Having wrapped on Saturday, Monday was spent emptying the Arts Office and resetting things to zero, literally. Seats gone, carpet being cleaned, walls painted, gaps filled, back to new. Until next week. Next week we ramp things up again with the introduction of Shifting, the second piece of our residency, penned by young-writer-in-residence John Kennedy and we’ll have details on all of that mighty soon. We’ve also got a ton of photos to get through on the Scratcher front as well to share with you online. We’ve also had the entire production filmed and hopefully we’ll get to share some clips with you before Shifting lands.

In the mean time, we’re off to redecorate the office space in the Arts Office. If you’re passing by No. 76, do drop in, you’re most welcome. Finally, our thanks once again to Mary & Niamh here at 76 and everyone who took the time out to catch Scratcher in Dublin and Kilkenny, we hope we kept you suitably entertained.

Photo above by Pat Moore Photography

Scratcher continues this week, running until Saturday at 76 John Street. If there are two things you must do this week it’s this. Vote, and go see Scratcher, though not necessarily in that order.

With love,

DTC.

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Art at No. 76

The aim and focus of the Art Residency at No. 76 is to enable the successful applicant to research and develop their practice. Other aims of the residency are to: give insights into how and why artists create their work, build relationships and further promote the Arts, provide an awareness and further appreciation of the Arts, cultivate and develop new audiences. The Kilkenny Arts Office is part of ArtLinks.ie

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