A NEW initiative being spearheaded by the Belltable Arts Centre and funded by the Arts Council makes its debut next week in the newly renovated theatre, as five up and coming theatre companies get the opportunity to showcase their wares, some or all of which are still works in progress, to a local audience.
The ‘Scratch Nights’ - running next Wednesday and Thursday - take their inspiration from the ethos of the Limerick Theatre Hub, also a Belltable initiative from two years ago, and the idea of the so-called scratch theatre nights which are popular in UK theatre circles, where developing work is offered a venue with which to perform work and duly receive feedback from the audience.
The ‘Belltable Studio’ initiative was that of outgoing Artistic Director Joanne Beirne, who stepped down recently after three years at the helm of the arts centre, following on from her own theatre hub idea, essentially providing the network and infrastructure of an established arts centre to up and coming companies, saving theatre costs.
Whereas the Hub offered fully funded productions, the idea behind ‘Scratch’ is that of a curated event where theatre makers can develop and present works in progress, to “encourage artists to share their ideas, to experiment and to fine tune what their show will eventually be,” explains curator Duncan Molloy, a well known local theatre practitioner himself.
“We are using this as a catalyst to try out new ideas and to get projects running, started and supported and that way hopefully we can give Limerick audiences a sneak preview of the type of things that are going to be coming up the next year or two,” explains the Killaloe actor, director and playwright, whose own work ‘The Hans Project’, will be presented.
“This is a chance for people to try out new writing, or ideas, or new ways of putting together pieces. These are all going to be designed to be performed for an audience,” he adds.
Also taking part are local companies Amalgamotion, Sidhe Theatre Company and the Dublin based companies Spilt Gin and WillFredd Theatre.
“It is really useful for an artist from that point of view to put something on its feet and see how an audience is going to respond to that, but I think it will be also really interesting for audience to see the breadth of new ideas that are being generated down here and also the type of work that is being made,” he adds.
The Belltable Studio presents ‘Scratch Nights’ this Wednesday and Thursday in the Belltable. See www.belltable.ie for more info.