Image shown: Little Light Pocket Theatre

Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre is marking this year’s Bealtaine Festival with events showcasing many of the art programmes and projects with older people that take place at the Centre and throughout the region each year.

The Bealtaine Festival, Ireland’s national celebration of the arts and creativity as we age, takes place throughout the month of May.

Bringing Art Home
Over two hundred booklets documenting the correspondence from the Arts for Health project Bringing Art Home will be mailed on 11 MayThis innovative project uses the postal service to connect six artists – Anne Harrington Rees, Michael Greenlaw, Bénédicte Coleman, Fiona Kelleher, Sharon Dipity, and Justin Grounds – with over two hundred Day Care Centre participants isolating at home. Each artist shared their creative expertise in music, poetry and visual arts through monthly mail outs from Uillinn. Each parcel contained artworks, poetry, art materials and an invitation to respond, along with a carefully considered letter from the artist to the people taking part.

Composer and musician Justin Grounds, whose work Isolation20 is currently being exhibited online on Uillinn Galleries, took to the phone as well as letter writing for his part in Bringing Art Home. Where Everything is Music is a series of favourite poems with musical accompaniment recorded over the phone.

We’ll be Back
On International Nurses Day, Wednesday 12 May, Uillinn will release a new song, We’ll be Back. This moving tribute, with lyrics written by day care centre healthcare staff from across West Cork and a melody written and performed by musician Liz Clark and staff nurse Paula O’Brien, sends a message of hope to all older people staying safe at home. The day care staff, who had been re-deployed to testing and vaccine centres, share their thoughts and experiences of working on the frontline of the pandemic, and also of not seeing or being with their now, isolating, day care participants. Tune into John Green on C103 FM for the song release or go to the link above.

Livestreamed music 
For friends and colleagues in the community hospitals, a special live gig from DeBarra’s in Clonakilty will be streamed on 14 May to simultaneously connect with all the residents and staff across West Cork.

I’m on My Way
A live screening of the short film I’m on My Way takes place on 21 May. The film is a collaboration with staff and residents at St. Joseph’s Unit, Bantry General Hospital and filmmaker Aoise Tutty Jackson. Aoise has been working remotely with Clonakilty-based composer Justin Grounds to gather footage of the natural environment and spring life as it blooms, to connect people isolating in the residential unit to the outdoors and special places that they recall.

Little Light Pocket Theatre
Artists Sharon Dipity and Sarah Ruttle invite older participants to engage in a convivial online workshop on 21 May through conversation, making and storytelling. Create a miniature pop-up theatre to illustrate your dreams for a sustainable future. Little Light Pocket Theatre is taking place in association with national Bealtaine organisers Age & Opportunity as part of their Roots and Shoots: Bealtaine at Home Visual Arts Programme

Book by 5 May to get your free materials pack posted to you. Email to book your place.

To conclude the month, Sharon Dipity and Sarah Ruttle will join Justine Foster, Programme Manager at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre in an online conversation on 31 May, to reflect on the development and delivery of Little Light Pocket Theatre in the community hospitals.

Full programme information for Bealtaine at Home 2021 with Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre is available here.


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