Druid to celebrate life of Eavan Boland

By Stephen Holland

One year after her death, the Druid Theatre are celebrating the life and work of Irish poet and writer Eavan Boland.

Boland: Journey of a Poet is a theatrical performance that will be livestreamed from the Galway company’s Mick Lally Theatre between Thursday, April 22, and Saturday, April 24.

With a script put together by Irish novelist Colm Tóibín and directed by Garry Hynes, the show uses the prose and poetry of Boland to explore the mind and imagination of one of Ireland’s great poets.

Brian Fenton, producer at Druid, said, “we’ll see a single performer, Siobhán Cullen, on stage performing a script put together by Colm, using only the words of Eavan Boland, both her prose and her poetry, over 60 minutes.”

“It charts a theatrical journey through her life and work and how they intermingle and inform one another.”

The production will also feature Irish artist Debbie Chapman who, inspired by Eavan Boland’s mother, the expressionist painter Frances Kelly, will paint a portrait of Boland over the course of the performances.

“The artist’s piece reflects themes in the show about self-portraiture, identity and how you present yourself to the world,” he said.

“By the end of the fourth performance we’ll have a finished piece that didn’t exist four days before.”

Galway International Arts Festival⎜Venues⎜Mick Lally Theatre | Galway  International Arts Festival
The Mick Lally Theatre

This show is just one of many virtual events produced by Druid since Covid-19 restrictions meant in person performances were no longer possible.

“We’re in the business of bringing people together into packed rooms to share laughter and tears, so it’s a very specific problem we have been faced with, but Druid has been incredibly busy since Covid hit. We’ve adapted very quickly and managed to deliver the majority of our programme last year,” he said.

While livestreaming has been successful, allowing people from all over the world to view performances, Mr Fenton said Druid are looking forward to getting back to in person events once it is possible.

“Our priority will always be in person audiences, but I suppose the fact is we are all learning quickly that there will be a future for online theatre, whether it’s livestreamed or on demand, I think audiences will grow to expect companies to be more agile in their programming,” he said.

Boland: Journey of a Poet will be available to livestream between April 22 and April 24. For those unable to watch live it will be available on demand between April 27 and May 2.

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