“Walls and Windows” To Get Full Play Performance at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre

By James Bacon: Walls and Windows by Rosaleen McDonagh, directed by Jason Byrne, will be performed at  Dublin’s Abbey Theatre this August. 

The performance will be livestreamed from the Abbey Stage on August 27th and 28th. It will be available on-demand for two weeks until 11th September.  

Dealing with heartfelt matters that one of the most discriminated and marginalised peoples of Western Europe must face, this is a hard and difficult play, full of raw honestly and thoughtfulness about how relationships should overcome all adversity, demonstrating how cruel we are to our own, and how destructive hatefulness and  bias can be. Julie and John are good people, wonderful, with hopes and plans and like anyone, desiring to live happily on their own terms. 

The impact that the naked racism has upon this couple is heart rending, and the story has a particular perspective, that may resonate but yearns for empathy and understanding to our fellow humans. 

Excerpts of Walls and Windows by Rosaleen McDonagh (https://twitter.com/paveebeoir) were presented at Dublin 2019, An Irish Worldcon on Saturday 17 August 2019, and was warmly received by the membership, who understood the importance of sharing this work. The convention worked closely with Rosaleen to bring a number of projects to the membership, including a presentation by Kathleen Lawrence on the Beady Pocket. 

Rosaleen McDonagh

Rosaleen is a Traveller woman with a disability.  Originally from Sligo, she is the fourth eldest in a family of twenty children.  She worked in Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre for ten years, managing the Violence Against Women programme, and remains a board member. She is a regular contributor to the Irish Times and has written extensively within the framework of a Traveller feminist perspective. McDonagh’s work includes The Baby Doll Project, Stuck, She’s Not Mine, and Rings. Rosaleen has a BA in Biblical & Theological Studies, an MPhil in Ethnic & Racial Studies & an MPhil in Creative Writing, all from TCD. She is currently a PhD candidate in Northumbria University.

Rosaleen attended Dublin 2019.

The Dublin team worked with Pavee Point to reach out and welcome, those who might otherwise feel excluded, and to welcome the traveller community, while working hard to ensure that the artistic aspects of the community that would resonate with fans were brought to light.

The Beady pocket is one such craft.  Beady pockets were a hip pocket that Traveller women wore. In modern times the beady pocket could be seen as a purse or a practical handbag. Women kept small items; a comb, sewing kit or spare buttons in it. When families were being moved on or evicted, women gave each other buttons as a keepsake of their friendship and time on the road together. The buttons would be then sewn on to the outside of the beady pocket. Over the course of a lifetime, a woman’s beady pocket would be full with an eclectic range of buttons. 

Rosaleen McDonagh’s Beady Pocket written piece captured the historical years of the beady pocket phenomena with a modern twist, while many fans recognised the community of buttons, badges and ribbons. 

Working with Pavee Point helped create a wonderful relationship between Rosaleen and Dublin 2019, who contributed greatly to the convention.  

Rosaleen herself enjoyed the Worldcon and noted –

I had read little or no Sci-fi other than Ursula Le Guin. It was very impressive at the convention to see panels discussing representation of Science Fiction from black and ethnic minorities. That was a huge surprise and I really enjoyed it… It was a sheer joy to meet so many strong women wheelchair users in positions of authority and influence. Role models in action are the best way of checking yourself and learning’. 

The Dublin 2019 team are delighted to hear that the performance will make its full stage debut at The Abbey, and hope that those who have not yet had the opportunity, know that this heartfelt play comes highly recommended. 

Comic Artist Sana Takeda and Playwright Rosaleen McDonagh Coming To Dublin 2019

Hugo award-winning comic book artist Sana Takeda and Irish playwright Rosaleen McDonagh will be featured at Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon.

“It is important to us that we share all aspects of Irish culture and brilliance with our members,” Dublin 2019 chair James Bacon said. “We look forward to bringing our own artists in all media together with the fantastic slate of worldwide talent who will be joining us in Dublin.”

Joining Dublin 2019 as a featured artist, Tokyo-based Sana Takeda is best known for drawing the prizewinning Monstress series, written by Marjorie Liu and published by Image. The heroine of Monstress, Maika Halfwolf, survives bereavement, slavery, and disabling injury to take control of her psychic powers and change her people’s history. Since it premiered in 2015, Monstress has won three Hugos, five Eisners, three British Fantasy Awards and a Harvey Award.

Takeda´s artistic reference points range from Japanese woodblock prints to Marvel Comics, where she has drawn for franchises including X-Men and Ms. Marvel. She joins Afua Richardson, Maeve Clancy, and Jim Fitzpatrick on the featured artist roster.

Equally excitingly, Rosaleen McDonagh, playwright and activist for the Irish Traveller community, will be discussing Irish Traveller culture at Dublin 2019. Her plays including Mainstream, Stuck, She’s Not Mine, and Rings explore aspects of feminism, ethnicity and disability. She has been chosen by Colum McCann to adapt for the stage his novel Zoli, the story of a Polish Roma poet and writer.

McDonagh worked for ten years managing the Violence against Women Programme at the Pavee Point Traveller & Romany Centre. She writes for the Irish Times and is completing a PhD that will be her fourth degree from Trinity College Dublin. She was the first Traveller invited to join the Irish artists’ academy Aosdána in 2017, and the first Traveller to stand for election to the Seanad, the Irish legislature’s upper house, in 2002 and 2007.