Yeats’s Women

Yeats’s Women performed by  Dublin trio, Glynis Casson, fellow actor Daniel Costello and renowned Irish Harpist Claire Roche, brought the poetry of Yeats into another dimension last Friday night at Thoor Ballylee.

Yeats Women July 8th 2016

This performance brought to life the fascinating story of Yeats’s women. Featuring original letters, poems, stories, and song, it uncovers in a dramatic interweaving of life and art the artistic collaborations and personal crises which the poet W.B.Yeats experienced together with an extraordinary cast of striking and hugely talented women: his sisters, his lovers, and his remarkable wife George, presiding spirit of Thoor Ballylee.  George Yeats herself would design and paint much of the interior, creating ‘a beautiful house’, and found she could drop a line from the tower window to fish.

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The castle walls resounded to the sound of the magnificent Irish harp as  the group delighted a captive audience with tales of W.B’s life, family, friendships, loves lost and won, through music, poetry, drama and song. While sipping wine or juice during  the interval, members of the audience climbed the winding stair, browsed through the exhibitions, strolled in the garden or sat on the ancient bridge. Following a standing ovation  at the end of the show, the cast mingled with the audience, and very positive feedback about the performance and hospitality was shared over tea and brack .
As well as locals in attendance at the sold-out event, the audience also consisted of people from Galway City, Headford, Loughrea, Dublin, and further afield from Germany, New York, Australia, and China. The performance raised a generous sum of money for Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society and its continuing efforts to restore and refurbish Yeats’s historic tower. 

Part of the new Thoor Ballylee Yeats exhibition is devoted to the women of Yeats’s life, in a room called Yeats and the Muses, arranged by Joseph Hassett. So it is fitting that a celebration of the life and talents of these extraordinary women should come to Yeats’s tower.

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Yeats’s Women: performance on Friday 8th July

Yeats’s Women

a dramatic performance in story and song

with

Glynis Casson

Daniel Costello

& harpist Clare Roche

8pm Friday 8th July 2016

Thoor Ballylee

Tickets available to book or on the door

Yeats Women July 8th 2016

This performance brings to life the fascinating story of Yeats’s women. Featuring original letters, poems, stories, and song, it uncovers in a dramatic interweaving of life and art the artistic collaborations and personal crises which the poet W.B.Yeats experienced together with an extraordinary cast of striking and hugely talented women: his sisters, his lovers, and his remarkable wife George, presiding spirit of Thoor Ballylee.  George Yeats herself would design and paint much of the interior, creating ‘a beautiful house’, and found she could drop a line from the tower window to fish.

Part of the new Thoor Ballylee Yeats exhibition is devoted to the women of Yeats’s life, in a room called Yeats and the Muses, arranged by Joseph Hassett. So it is fitting that a celebration of the life and talents of these extraordinary women should come to Yeats’s tower.

Yeats’s Women: The Performers

Glynis Casson

Glynis comes from the well known Casson theatrical family and has played many leading roles over the years in Gilbert and Sullivan productions, in Gigi, My Fair Lady and Me and My Girl in the Gaiety Theatre Dublin. She has toured her one woman show Oscar and the Sphinx in Ireland, London and Egypt. The Harp That Once and Dauntless and Daring with Harpist Cormac de Barra in Ireland and the Continent, Seven Ages with Daniel Costello, and the comedy show Ladies Who Lunch with Irene Gaffney in venues around Ireland.

Other stage work includes: Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, The House of Bernarda Alba, Very Heaven, and Harold Pinter’s Party Time.  

TV & Film Credits include: Kathleen in RTE’s Fair City, The Clinic and TG4’s Maru crime series. Imelda in winning Irish film 32A, Mauyra in The Riders to The Sea, Pensioner in the short award winning film Bollybrack in which she did Indian dancing for the first time in Moore Street!   www.glyniscasson.com

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Daniel Costello, Glynis Casson, & Claire Roche from a recent perfomance in Birr Castle

Daniel Costello

Daniel has recently played Polonius in Hamlet at The New Theatre.

Other stage work includes: Nicolas in Pinter’s One For The Road, Friar Laurence in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Solange in Genet’s The Maids, Duke of Ferrara in De Vega’s Justice Without Revenge, Antonio in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Jimmy Jack in Friel’s Translations, Sir Peter Teazle in Sheridan’s The School for Scandal, Carl in Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living, and Clov in Beckett’s Endgame.

TV & Film credits include: Bachelor’s Walk, The Clinic, & Fair CityAlbert Nobbs, Situations Vacant, Breakfast on Pluto and The Magdalene Sisters.

Claire Roche

Claire studied harp and voice with Maírín Feiritear in Sion Hill Convent Dublin, who encouraged her to compose her own songs, and at the age of 13 set ‘To A Child Dancing In The Wind’ to the music of harp. Poet Brendan Kennelly inspired Claire ‘to set some more’ when she was studying Anglo-Irish Literature in Trinity College Dublin, so in all she arranged eight of Yeats’ poems for the Harp. Michael Yeats kindly gave this permission before the copyright had run out on his Father’s work. Claire has had very successful tours of singing with her harp accompaniment in America, Australia and Ireland. www.claireroche.com

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Yeats’s Women

Yeats’s Women

a dramatic performance in story and song

with

Glynis Casson

Daniel Costello

& harpist Clare Roche

8pm Friday 8th July 2016

Thoor Ballylee

Tickets available to book or on the door

Yeats Women July 8th 2016

This performance brings to life the fascinating story of Yeats’s women. Featuring original letters, poems, stories, and song, it uncovers in a dramatic interweaving of life and art the artistic collaborations and personal crises which the poet W.B.Yeats experienced together with an extraordinary cast of striking and hugely talented women: his sisters, his lovers, and his remarkable wife George, presiding spirit of Thoor Ballylee.  

Glynis Casson

Glynis comes from the well known Casson theatrical family and has played many leading roles over the years in Gilbert and Sullivan productions, in Gigi, My Fair Lady and Me and My Girl in the Gaiety Theatre Dublin. She has toured her one woman show Oscar and the Sphinx in Ireland, London and Egypt. The Harp That Once and Dauntless and Daring with Harpist Cormac de Barra in Ireland and the Continent, Seven Ages with Daniel Costello, and the comedy show Ladies Who Lunch with Irene Gaffney in venues around Ireland.

Other stage work includes: Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, The House of Bernarda Alba, Very Heaven, and Harold Pinter’s Party Time.  

TV & Film Credits include: Kathleen in RTE’s Fair City, The Clinic and TG4’s Maru crime series. Imelda in winning Irish film 32A, Mauyra in The Riders to The Sea, Pensioner in the short award winning film Bollybrack in which she did Indian dancing for the first time in Moore Street!   www.glyniscasson.com

Daniel Costello

Daniel has recently played Polonius in Hamlet at The New Theatre.

Other stage work includes: Nicolas in Pinter’s One For The Road, Friar Laurence in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Solange in Genet’s The Maids, Duke of Ferrara in De Vega’s Justice Without Revenge, Antonio in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Jimmy Jack in Friel’s Translations, Sir Peter Teazle in Sheridan’s The School for Scandal, Carl in Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living, and Clov in Beckett’s Endgame.

TV & Film credits include: Bachelor’s Walk, The Clinic, & Fair CityAlbert Nobbs, Situations Vacant, Breakfast on Pluto and The Magdalene Sisters.

Claire Roche

Claire studied harp and voice with Maírín Feiritear in Sion Hill Convent Dublin, who encouraged her to compose her own songs, and at the age of 13 set ‘To A Child Dancing In The Wind’ to the music of harp. Poet Brendan Kennelly inspired Claire ‘to set some more’ when she was studying Anglo-Irish Literature in Trinity College Dublin, so in all she arranged eight of Yeats’ poems for the Harp. Michael Yeats kindly gave this permission before the copyright had run out on his Father’s work. Claire has had very successful tours of singing with her harp accompaniment in America, Australia and Ireland. www.claireroche.com

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Yeats & the West: Maud Gonne’s Disturbing Influence

A Disturbing Influence: Maud Gonne in the life of W.B. Yeats

Public Talk for Yeats & the West

 Adrian Frazier, NUI Galway

6pm Thurs 14th April

The Model, Sligo

Free entry

This talk is an incendiary look at an incendiary relationship: that of Maud Gonne and W.B. Yeats. Using never before unearthed material it takes us inside a troubled and troubling connection made from politics, personality, poetry, magic, deceit, and love.

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A native of St Louis, Missouri, Professor Adrian Frazier (NUI Galway) pursued his fascination with Irish literature and theatre to Ireland’s west, and now lives in Galway. He is the author of Behind the Scenes: Yeats, Horniman, and the Struggle for the Abbey Theatre (Berkeley: University of California 1990), an acclaimed biography of the cultural milieu of Irish novelist and memoirist George Moore, George Moore, 1852-1933 (New Haven: Yale UP 2000), and Hollywood Irish: John Ford, Abbey Actors, and the Irish Revival in Hollywoood (Dublin: Lilliput Press 2011). His most recent book is an illustrated pen portrait of the life and work of sculptor John Behan entitled John Behan: The Bull from Sherriff Street (Dublin: Lilliput Press, 2015). His next book is The Adulterous Muse: Maud Gonne, W.B. Yeats and Lucien Millevoye, a joint biography of Yeats, Gonne, and her lover, the French political activist and father of her children, recasting completely our view of the personalities and politics of this tangled and incendiary love triangle.

Adrian Frazier: 'Galway has a great reputation for creativity globally. Theatre people stay here, actors stay here, it’s easy to put on plays; bookshops are very active in hosting readings.' PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Adrian Frazier: ‘Galway has a great reputation for creativity globally. Theatre people stay here, actors stay here, it’s easy to put on plays; bookshops are very active in hosting readings.’ PHOTO: JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY.

 

Yeats and the West logo

Yeats & the West Exhibition Tours & Talks

Curators Tours 1pm. Public Talks 6pm.

Free entry

 The Model, Sligo

Tours Thursday at 1pm

Tours of the exhibition from the curators take place every Thursday at 1pm.  Find out what makes art and poetry so close, and observe the connection of books, and music, drama, and discover never before seen rare books and fine art from the collections of NUI Galway and The Model. Come and get an inside view of the crafts and cultures that made a western revolution.

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Talks Thursdays at 6pm

This series of talks on Yeats’s connection to the west and beyond takes us inside the makings of a western cultural revolution. Talks from experts in the field range from exploring the pioneering art and craftwork of the Yeats family to W.B.Yeats’s own life and loves, considering his some of his most controversial and sexy poems; they reveal the extraordinary plays of his brother, the artist Jack B. Yeats, and alongside the Model Gallery’s newly unveiled Broadside collection, showcase his design and print work; and they weigh the wider forces that turned a cultural revolution into a real one.

Speakers include the curators of the exhibition Dr Adrian Paterson and Barry Houlihan (NUI Galway), Professor Adrian Frazier (NUI Galway), Professor Margaret Mills Harper (University of Limerick and outgoing Director of the Yeats International Summer School), Dr Hilary Pyle (former Yeats Curator at National Gallery of Ireland), Dr Ian Walsh (NUI Galway), Dr Mary Harris (NUI Galway).

Western Worlds day at Yeats & the West

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William Butler Yeats, poet, playwright, politician, and Nobel prize-winner for literature, always looked west. The Yeats & the West exhibition at NUI Galway, with rare books, art, music, drama, and film, discovers what the west meant to him, and what this means for us. As part of the Yeats & the West programme, on Friday 27th November the day-long event Western Worlds tells the story of the western cultural revolution that shaped modern Ireland. Featuring talks on W.B.Yeats’s poems, plays, artistic collaborations and love affairs, and featuring his co-conspirators Jack B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Padraic Pearse and Eva Gore Booth, it includes poetry readings, an exhibition highlights tour, and an exclusive interview with the artist John Behan about current exhibitions of Yeatsian-themed sculptures and drawings. Western Worlds tells a story of going west to find those places, real and imaginative, that change our sense of where and who we are.

Western Worlds: A Day at Yeats & the West

Yeats & the West

Bridge Seminar Room, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway

Friday 27th November 2015

Entrance to all events is free.

10.45am Welcome (& Kisses)

Adrian Frazier  Yeats & Maud Gonne: The Meaning of Their Kisses

12pm   Poems

Brian Arkins    W.B.Yeats & G.M. Hopkins

Deirdre Ní Chonghaile  ‘Listening to this rude and beautiful poetry’: J.M. Synge as song collector in the Aran Islands

1pm       Lunch

2pm       Plays                                                                      

Barry Houlihan ‘Suffering Spirits and Remorseful Dead’: Remembrance and Re-enactments in the plays of W.B. Yeats

Ian Walsh The Painted Play: Jack B. Yeats and the Postdramatic Theatre

3pm   Revivals

Mary Harris   Realism, Idealism and the Gaelic Revival

Maureen O’Connor   Some Vague Utopia: Eva Gore-Booth’s The Death of Fionavar (1916)

4pm   Coffee

4.30  Arts

Adrian Paterson with Barry Houlihan  (curators of Yeats & the West) Yeats among the Arts: exhibition highlights tour

(from 5pm in Special Collections)

5.30pm   Poems

David Clare & Deirdre Clare   dramatic readings

6.30pm  Reception

7pm   Bulls

John Behan  The Bull of Sheriff Street in conversation

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Thoor auction raises €10,000

A unique rooftop auction at Thoor Ballylee at the weekend raised €10,000 towards Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society’s plans to restore and reopen Yeats’s venerable tower in county Galway.

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A total of €10,000 was raised at the auction, which was held on the rooftop of Thoor Ballylee by local auctioneer Colm Farrell – dressed as Yeats.

A signed first edition of Maud Gonne MacBride’s autobiography fetched €5,200 at a fundraiser for poet WB Yeats’s former summer home at Thoor Ballylee in south Galway.

The signed copy of MacBride’s A Servant of The Queen, published in 1938, was donated by Enid McAleenan to an auction run last Sunday evening by the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, along with a letter written by MacBride to her late aunt Eileen.

Gonne’s letter refers to the importance of living a full, adventurous life and standing up for a “free Ireland”.

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Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society chairwoman Senator Fidelma Healy Eames paid tribute to the “power and generosity of the local community”. “All funds raised will be used to open the tower to the public during the summer season in the stark absence of State funding,” she said.

Read more in this Irish Times article here.

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Yeats2015

Yeats 2015

In 2015 Ireland celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Nobel Prize-winning poet, William Butler Yeats. As part of Ireland’s decade of commemorations, a worldwide series of creative and cultural events takes place throughout the year to mark this occasion, honouring and exploring his rich life, work, and legacy. The programme was launched in Dublin in December by Senator Susan O’Keefe and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphries. The launch also featured a reading by Olwen Fouere of ‘Sailing to Byzantium’, and was attended by members of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee SocietyAn RTE report of the event can be viewed here.

Yeats 2015 presents a local, national, and international series of exhibitions, performances, educational events, festivals, concerts, readings, talks, and screenings. Cultural events centred on Sligo, Galway, Dublin, London, and in counties across Ireland, are echoed in a diverse international programme. Through the prism of one of Ireland’s greatest artists, Yeats 2015 marks a moment to celebrate and promote creativity in Ireland and elsewhere, and to reconsider the role of culture, community, and the arts in the contemporary world. Full details of how to get involved in this exciting cultural programme are released in January 2015. The re-opening of Thoor Ballylee is at the heart of these commemorations. Galway is at the heart of these celebrations and a full programme of Galway Yeats2015 events is available here.

 

The Poet

W. B. Yeats is Ireland’s greatest poet, and considered by many the finest poet of the twentieth century. Seamus Heaney noted that as well as a great poet he was both the founder and inheritor of traditions: with a lifelong interest in the occult and in Irish mythology, an openness to European art and eastern philosophy, and with a sceptical, questioning intellect, he brought a revolutionary new voice into Irish literature. A maker of extraordinary love poems and an architect of modernism, Yeats is unusual among poets in that much of his best work came after the age of fifty. The way he put words together changed utterly: from an early lush lyricism, he developed a spare, hard, late style, and many of his most powerful lines have entered the language. Such an uncompromising attitude to creative excellence was a part of his inheritance. He was born into an extraordinarily talented artistic family: his father John Butler Yeats was a renowned portraitist, his sisters were innovative craftworkers and printers, and his brother Jack Yeats became Ireland’s most celebrated painter. His unrequited love for the beautiful Maud Gonne affected the course of his life, while his collaboration with his wife George altered the texture of his poetry. More than a poet, Yeats was a dramatist, a critic, a journalist, a politician, and a founder of theatres, print houses, dance companies, and artistic societies. With its diverse programme of events, Yeats 2015 celebrates this rich cultural harvest.

 

The Places

W. B. Yeats’s profound connection with landscape and architecture served as inspiration for many of his greatest works. Ireland is the setting for nearly all his poems and plays, whether the city’s ‘grey eighteenth-century houses’ or the stones and trees of the west. Born in Dublin, Yeats went to school in Dublin and London, and spent much of his young life with his family in Sligo, which he thought of as his spiritual home. In later life he lived in Dublin, London, and put down deep roots in County Galway, spending summers at Coole Park and restoring a Hiberno-Norman tower, Thoor Ballylee, as his family home. As well as travelling extensively in France, Spain, Italy, and the United States, Yeats was deeply affected by eastern art and philosophy, especially that of Japan and India. Yeats 2015 celebrates the strong connection he had will all the places that inspired him.Galway is therefore at the heart of these celebrations, with a full programme of exciting artistic and cultural events taking place throughout the county. It is intended also that the re-opening of Thoor Ballylee will be a central part of these celebrations.

 

The Legacy

Yeats was the first Irishman to be awarded the Nobel Prize, in 1923. He accepted on behalf of his work for the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theatre which he co-founded with Lady Augusta Gregory. Such artistic generosity was not unusual. Yeats was a cultural revolutionary who become a remarkable cultural entrepreneur. A spearhead of what became known as the Irish Literary Revival, he spurred a revival of interest in Irish mythology and in Irish literature, and was for a time deeply involved in the nationalist movement. His work explored the complexities of the formation of the new state and helped give expression to a new Irish identity. Passionate about artistic freedoms and minority rights, he made speeches against censorship and supporting the long-established right to divorce when appointed a Senator of the Irish Free State in 1922. Yeats also chaired the commission for coinage, which produced renowned designs of Irish animals on currency in use until 2001. His increasing identification with a Protestant tradition and his brief flirtation with authoritarian politics remains controversial. But most of all he promoted new art, championing writers as diverse as James Joyce, Frank O’Connor, and J. M. Synge, working with an astonishing variety of artists, actors, musicians, theatre designers, printmakers,  producers, and dancers. From his founding of the ground-breaking Cuala Press to his pioneering work as a radio broadcaster, his legacy is just as varied. His belief in art’s power – that words could change the world – makes his example still powerfully resonant today.

 

Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society members with a copy of Yeats's The Tower (1928) at the Yeats2015 launch with Senator Susan O'Keeffe and Minister Heather Humphries

Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society members with Yeats’s The Tower (1928) at the Yeats2015 launch with Senator Susan O’Keeffe and Minister Heather Humphries