Limerick theatre-makers afforded top civic honours

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Theatre makers Ann Blake and Joanne Ryan were honoured for their contribution to the arts in Limerick by metropolitan mayor Sean Lynch

Theatre makers Ann Blake and Joanne Ryan were honoured for their contribution to the arts in Limerick by metropolitan mayor Sean Lynch

TWO award winning theatre-makers have been afforded one of Limerick’s top honours.

Joanne Ryan, Kileely, and Ann Blake, South Circular Road, have been given a reception by metropolitan mayor Cllr Sean Lynch.

Between them, the pair have produced numerous shows which have played both nationally and internationally to much acclaim.

At the recent reception, Joanne revealed her current show, Eggsistentialism is set to play in London in the New Year, and will then travel down under to Australia for a major tour.

It comes after the show – an autobiographical narrative focused on Joanne’s decision-making around whether or not to have children – played in Cyprus.

“I developed the show as part of Hatch LK in 2015. I started writing it as I was turning 35 which is the famous age where people’s fertility falls off a cliff – allegedly, according to the internet and doctors! It is also about my mum Gloria, about her being pregnant in Ireland in the 1970s, and what had changed in that time. It contextualises the political, social and cultural situation that I’m making my decision in,” she said.

Asked how it felt to be honoured by Cllr Lynch, she said: “It feels a bit surreal. It’s very unexpected – and it’s incredible to see so many people here. It’s very moving and touching.”

Ann, who is a member of the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra as well as playwright and actor, said: “It’s really hard to put into words. It’s an incredible honour. It’s remarkable to sit in a room and hear people say such nice things about you. It’s hard to know where to look – but in a nice way!”

Ann is also taking her latest show abroad in 2018. In fact, as early as New Year’s Day, she will fly to Montreal in Canada where her production, The Morning after the Life Before, will play the festival circuit there.

“The show is my own story about coming out and meeting Jenny [her partner], and life around the marriage equality referendum. It was a momentous time, but it was also deeply personal to me,” she told the Limerick Leader.

She insisted despite this, the show is “fun” and “not overly heavy”.

At the reception, Cllr Lynch praised the pair, saying: “They have made a huge contribution to arts and culture in Limerick. They are leaving a legacy for Limerick culture, showcasing what Limerick is all about.

“They have received recognition not alone nationally, but also internationally.”