Nuns’ Chorus – “Inspiring and uplifting!”

finale pictureWe are delighted with how our first major drama project, Nuns’ Chorus, has gone and would like to thank everyone involved for making it so special. We had two “sold out” performances last week in Haringey Irish Centre, each attended by over 100 people. We were also very pleased to welcome representatives from the Irish Embassy in London, the Ireland Fund and the Irish in Britain.

Nuns Chorus was written by Sally Mulready, Director of the Irish Elderly Advice Network, with the aim of being performed by older Irish people who were not professional actors. It is set in Ireland in the 1950s and is based around the stories and relationships of a group of Carmelite nuns from an enclosed order. The play follows the nuns on their ‘enforced holiday’ to Galway Bay for 7 days and 7 nights, a holiday which leads them each into a “journey of self discovery”.

Nuns walking

Sally Mulready (writer), Sr Francis and Sr Ann

The highly successful performances of Nuns’ Chorus were the result of a huge amount of hard work and dedication by the cast, the musicians and everyone else involved. It was a full length play (1 and a half hours) and was a huge undertaking for the cast, who (with one exception) were all aged between 65 and 85 and had never done anything like this before. They thoroughly deserved their standing ovation! The feedback we have received has been wonderful, including “this play was inspiring and uplifting. Thank you!” and many requests to put the play on again, which we are hoping to do.

CAST 

Tom and Bridget dancing

Bridget the Bar Hostess and John-Joe

Mother Imelda – Alice Kennedy Sr Bernadette – Jacquelyn Hynes Sr Patrick – Barbara Carroll Sr Ann – Maura Haughey Sr Theresa – Theresa Taylor Sr Francis – Ann Morrissey Bridget, Bar Hostess – Bridget Walsh Fr Lemass – Patrick Gormley John Joe – Tom Wheeler Jerry – Sean Carroll Musicians in the bar – Tom O Connell (button accordion) and Billy Steven (guitar) Singer in the Bar – Breda Fanning

Mother Imelda and Fr Lemas

Very special thanks to….  Billy Faughnan, pianist, for providing the most beautiful playing throughout and truly enhancing the play.

Phyllis Morgan, who handmade each of the nuns’ costumes, a skill she was taught when raised in a convent throughout her childhood. Phyllis now runs the welfare work for the Irish Women Survivors Support Network in London.

Women from the Magdelene Laundries in Ireland who made several of the blankets you will see in the play. We are very grateful to them for letting us use them for the performances.

Fr Clive Lee from St Thomas Moore Parish in Hackney for giving us advice and inspiration for the play and for lending us props.

Haringey Irish Centre Team for being so welcoming to the Irish Elders Culture Office, and the play and for providing the most beautiful lunches for the cast and audience at their Lunch Club.

Sr Bernadette and Sr Patrick

Sr Bernadette and Sr Patrick

John Dunne from London Irish Theatre for great advice on the direction of the play.

Maya McCourt for supporting the Irish Pensioners Choir with song development for the play.

The Irish Pensioners Choir, for adding their wonderful voices to the songs performed throughout the play. We thank them for their patience and support.

The cast for their hard work and dedication through what has been quite a huge undertaking and an at times gruelling rehearsal process.

Jacquelyn Hynes, a wonderful professional actor and musician who, as well as playing the role of Sr Bernadette, has given such great advice and support too all of us involved with the play.

Nuns’ Chorus was co-ordinated by Nora Mulready , Irish Elders Culture Office.

The band - Billy Faughnan (piano), Jacquelyn Hynes (flute), Tom O'Connell (button accordion) and Billy Steven (guitar)

The band – Billy Faughnan (piano), Jacquelyn Hynes (flute), Tom O’Connell (button accordion) and Billy Steven (guitar)

 

 

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