“I’m very grateful to everyone at Roscommon Arts Centre and to Roscommon Arts Officer, Rhona McGrath, who provide unreal support for creative living in the county”
Roscommon Arts Centre’s Lollipops Festival will open next Tuesday with a heartfelt play called ‘An Ant Called Amy’, which has been written by well-known Roscommon actress, Julie Sharkey, who also stars in the show.
This week, the Ballaghaderreen native spoke to the Roscommon People from the Dublin Theatre Festival where she featured in ‘No Magic Pill’ by Christian O’Reilly.
Julie says staging her first show at Roscommon Arts Centre is “a joy” and she is looking forward to a national tour which takes in nine venues.
“The show, which is aimed at ages 5 to 8, was produced by the arts centre and it’s something I developed with them when I was the artist in residence in 2017 and 2018,” she said.
“We had planned to put it out on the road but then Covid-19 hit. While this was disappointing, it did give us the opportunity to film the play and make it available for various festivals online. Emma Brennan from Roscommon town did an incredible job on the filming”.
An Ant Called Amy tells the story of Amy the ant, her brother Andy, and a misunderstood brown spider.
“Amy the ant works very hard and enjoys the adulation of winning ‘employee of the month’ awards.
“At the top of the play, however, we get the feeling that someone is missing and that someone is her brother Andy. Amy gets locked out of the anthill one night and has to spend the night in the forest where she meets the feared brown spider. It turns out the brown spider is actually okay and helps Amy to understand why she works so hard,” Julie says.
“The play deals with grief and how we comprehend it. The play is for ages five and up so it’s presented in a very gentle way and delves into how younger audiences might begin to comprehend loss”.
With help from the brown spider, Amy the ant learns to find true happiness by embracing her brother’s memory in the everyday.
“It really is a lovely play and it’s directed by Raymond Keane with a delicate and heartfelt score by Irene Buckley. Olan Wrynn designs the set which depicts the world of the anthill and the forest so beautifully,” Julie added.
“We have a lovely team of really good people on the road and it was also wonderful to have the support of Nathalie Wolde who also helped to produce this play”.
Praising the support of Roscommon Arts Centre in producing the play, Julie added: “My relationship with Roscommon Arts Centre has unlocked so much for me. I’m so excited to be back there in November and December as part of an artist in residency and looking forward to my second play, which is a full-length production called ‘Chicken Wings in Peace’.
“I’m very grateful to everyone at Roscommon Arts Centre and to Roscommon Arts Officer, Rhona McGrath, who provide unreal support for creative living in the county”.
Aimed at ages 5-8, ‘An Ant Called Amy’ opens Roscommon Arts Centre’s Lollipops Festival on Tuesday next (11th) with shows at 10 am and 12 pm. To find out more or to book tickets, check out www.roscommonartscentre.ie or contact the box office on 090-6625824.