On the Wire leads the charge for Limerick in theatre awards

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

In the trenches: Conor Madden as Jack and Shane Whisker as Rooney in On the Wire, presented by Wildebeest Theatre Company at The Sailor's Home on O'Curry Street in November. The production has been nominated for a national theatre award. Picture: Ken Coleman
IT was a dark and atmospheric piece that took over the Sailor’s Home on Limerick’s O’Curry Street in November for City of Culture.

IT was a dark and atmospheric piece that took over the Sailor’s Home on Limerick’s O’Curry Street in November for City of Culture.

Now, On the Wire, produced by Wildebeest Theatre Company, is basking in the sunlight of a high profile theatre award nomination.

The play - telling the story of a soldier’s difficulty in readjusting to home life after the perils of World War One - has been nominated for Best Production in the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards.

To put this achievement in some perspective, the other nominees for the award are Ballyturk - which starred Cillian Murphy, Our Few and Evil Days, written and directed by Mark O’Rowe for the Abbey and Punk Rock by Simon Stephens for the Lyric Theatre in Belfast.

On the Wire, written and performed by Marie Boylan, Mike Finn, Conor Madden, Amanda Minihan and Shane Whisker and directed by Terry O’Donovan, has also been nominated in the Audience Choice award, sponsored by An Post.

“It is amazing. When you look at the competition, to be up there with them and to be nominated in the same category is just unbelievable, it is a dream come true,” said Marie Boylan, who founded Wildebeest Theatre Company.

“It is the best award for us as a production because it was a huge team effort. It is great to be recognised - and it is brilliant for theatre in Limerick.”

Also listed among the nominations across 13 categories are Mario Beck, for Best Set Design for Waiting in Line, for the Honest Arts Production Company, which was performed in Dance Limerick in May.

A Made in Limerick production for City of Culture, Waiting in Line, combining artistry and the latest in 3D mapping technology in a thought provoking, physical theatre piece, was performed by Clare Langford and Pius McGrath, with direction by Tara Doolan.

Beck is well known for his production and set design work in the UCH.

And, listed among the Judges’ Special Award, is Limerick City of Culture itself, explained as: “Former programmers and the current administration for using the city in the most imaginative way to rebrand Limerick as a beacon of artistic endeavour.”

Also nominated in that rather more obscure category are the Lyric Theatre, The Lir and ‘stage managers and technicians’, seemingly those in general across the industry.

The three judges for 2014 were: Gerry Smyth, poet and former managing editor of The Irish Times; novelist Liz Nugent; and actor Fergus Cronin. Between them they saw 138 productions across the country.

Mr Smyth, who founded the awards in 1997, said they “provide Irish theatre with a moment of celebration”.