SEEDS 7 International Placements
Over the last year our SEEDS have been busy completing their international placements, which are a core part of the programme. These take place for all participants apart from the writers, whose programme is somewhat separate from the others and who are also busy working on their commissions! The placements usually last between 6 – 8 weeks and give the SEEDS an invaluable opportunity to work with leading artists and companies outside of Ireland and interact with their different approaches and methods of working.
Cait Corkery, set designer on her placement at the Royal Shakespeare Company
For my SEEDS international placement, I assisted lighting and set designer, Ciaran Bagnall with the Royal Shakespeare’s Company’s production of Othello in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon. My placement was divided into a number of processes in relation to Ciaran’s design work. Initially, I travelled to Stratford-upon-Avon to assist on the final preparations for the model and the design presentation for the crew. This was a separate presentation to the cast’s design presentation. The crew presentation focused on the structural concept of the design, the work of the scenic artists, stage management and how it effects the costume department.
A month later, I travelled to London, for the first day of rehearsals and design presentation for the cast. After witnessing the design process in the model making stage, the next part of my placement bought me into the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, for the tech week on the main stage. It was an invaluable experience to see the working of the company from model-box, tech week through to opening night.
Danny Forde, composer and sound designer on his placement in New York
For my SEEDS international placement I went to New York to work on two new musical theatre pieces in development, with director Rachel Chavkin who is also director of The Team. We did a two-week workshop on 'Hadestown', a folk opera written and composed by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell. This is an adaptation for stage of a concept album based on the Orpheus and Eurydice story. The second piece I worked on was a highly ambitious 8-hour multi-act adaptation of Moby Dick by Dave Malloy, containing within it a chamber opera, a jazz song cycle and traditional musical theatre forms. I had an amazing experience there working in the rehearsal room with the composers and music director. I made connections in the musical theatre world in New York and got a good insight into how new shows are developed there from concept through to performance. I found it eye-opening and inspiring to be immersed in a different theatre culture and I have definitely learned things that influence the way I work.
Zoe Ní Riordáin, director on her placement in Iceland
My international placement was in Reykjavik, Iceland. I spent three weeks working with Icelandic director Marta Nordal on a new documentary piece about an Iranian political refugee called ‘Nazanin’. The show was made with Nazanin, and it was very much a collaborative process dealing with very sensitive material. The show premiered at Lokal festival in Reykjavik. I also took part in a weeklong workshop with Richard Maxwell (NYC Players). I was in a group with nine other artists from Scandinavia and Iceland and we worked outdoors, taking in the landscape and discussing theatrical relationships to space. I saw a lot of excellent work in the Lokal festival and came away very inspired by the whole experience.
Shane Mac an Bhaird, writer on his encounters with playwrights
Although writers on SEEDS don’t do an international placement, as part of the programme I went on two trips to London and Glasgow. Meetings were arranged for me with a number of writers whose work I admire and I also had meetings with theatres like the National Theatre of Scotland and the Traverse and participated in a series of events, workshops and talks organised by the Scottish Playwrights Studio.
On these trips I was lucky enough to meet a few heroes of mine, people like Caryl Churchill, Michael Frayn, and Rona Munro. We talked about writing, ate lunch and drank coffee… sometimes in gardens. Meeting these humble, generous, astonishing writers was an incredible insight into the strange task of writing and was, sincerely, an inspiration.
Cameron MacCauley, composer and sound designer on his placement with Headlong
For my placement, I worked with sound designer Gareth Fry on Headlong's touring production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. I sat in on rehearsals in London and am currently about to work on its tech week in West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, where it shall open. I've gained some very beneficial insights working with Gareth, and the placement has elucidated my thinking about sound - both in terms of its perception by an audience and in its technical execution. It will certainly be of use in my own composition and sound design for theatre.