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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Thoor Ballylee Yeats Exhibition opens!

The Thoor Ballylee Yeats Exhibition opened by Guest of Honour Sabina Coyne Higgins.

Sabina Coyne Higgins, wife of the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, and in her own right an actress and dedicated supporter of theatre and the arts, opened the inaugural Yeats Exhibition at Thoor Ballylee on Saturday 18th June 2016. A native of Mayo, Sabina Coyne Higgins  has a close relationship with Yeats and western culture as co-founder of the pioneering Focus theatre, and through her work with the Lyric Theatre Belfast, a theatre with a history of staging W.B. Yeats’s plays and those of his brother Jack B. Yeats, as well her long association with Druid Theatre, An Taibhdhearc, and other Galway theatre groups.

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Yeats Exhibition Opening with Sabina Coyne Higgins and guests

Since the Tower flooded last winter it seemed unimaginable that the beauty and tranquility of this special place would be enjoyed so soon again. However through the sheer hard work and dedication of the local community and the generous support of local and international donors Thoor Ballylee re-opened with a bang for another summer season. Special guests Joseph Hassett, Yeats Scholar & Thoor Benefactor, Fidelma Healy Eames, Chair of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, and Councillor Michael Connolly all gave speeches for the exhibition launch. The event included local music from Gort Comhaltas and refreshments.

Yeats Tower Exhibition

Using material from NUIG’s “Yeats and the West” Exhibition, and UCD’s “Yeats and His Muses” Exhibition (conceived and produced by Dr Joseph Hassett), Dr Adrian Paterson, Lecturer in English at NUI Galway has curated a new exhibition for the Tower which explores Yeats’s relationship with the people and places that most inspired his work. The Thoor Ballylee Yeats exhibition looks at the culture of the west, its crafts, stories, and songs; the central importance of the women in his life, most especially of his wife George; his talented family and long history of artistic collaborations, and in particular his close connections with the landscapes and people of County Galway, with Coole Park and with Thoor Ballylee.

TateImages_T06518 Samuel Palmer Lonely Tower

Samuel Palmer, The Lonely Tower (1879). This etching was inspiration for Yeats’s ‘The Phases of the Moon’ and many other Tower poems.

A series of family and cultural events takes place over summer 2016 to honour Yeats’s memory, his heritage, and his links with the literary revival and with 1916. The Tower and Exhibition will be open to visitors throughout the summer from 10am to 6pm Monday – Sunday.

The Winding Stair (1933) cover by Thomas Sturge Moore

The Winding Stair (1933) cover by Thomas Sturge Moore

 

Yeats exhibition opening at Thoor Ballylee

WindingStairs_2979 copy

Yeats Exhibition Opening

1pm Saturday 18th June

Guest of Honour

Sabina Coyne Higgins

with special guests:

Fidelma Healy Eames, Chair of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society

Joseph Hassett, Yeats Scholar and Thoor Ballylee Benefactor

Cllr Michael Connolly, Cathaoirleach, Galway Co. Council

Music from Gort Comhaltas & refreshments

All welcome!

rsvp: yeatsthoorballylee@gmail.com

Sabina Coyne Higgins, wife of our President, Michael D. Higgins, and in her own right an actress and dedicated supporter of theatre and the arts, officially opens the inaugural Yeats Exhibition at Thoor Ballylee from 1pm on Saturday 18th June. A native of Mayo, Sabina Coyne Higgins  has a close relationship with Yeats and western culture, as co-founder of the pioneering Focus theatre, and through her work with the Lyric Theatre Belfast, a theatre with a history of staging W.B. Yeats’s plays and those of his brother Jack B. Yeats, as well her long association with Druid Theatre, An Taibhdhearc, and other Galway theatre groups.

Thoor Ballylee May 2016

Thoor Ballylee May 2016

Since the Tower flooded last winter it seemed unimaginable that the beauty and tranquility of this special place would be enjoyed so soon again. However through the sheer hard work and dedication of the local community and the generous support of local and international donors Thoor Ballylee is re-opening with a bang for another summer season. Joseph Hassett, Yeats Scholar & Thoor Benefactor, Fidelma Healy Eames, Chair of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, and Councillor Michael Connolly will participate in the exhibition launch. The event will also include local music and refreshments. All are welcome to attend and children will have an opportunity to test their knowledge of the tower with the new Thoor Scavenger hunt.

Yeats Tower Exhibition

Using material from NUIG’s “Yeats and the West” Exhibition and UCD’s “Yeats and His Muses” Exhibition, Dr Adrian Paterson, Lecturer in English at NUIG has curated a marvellous exhibition for the Tower which explores Yeats’s relationship with the people and places that most inspired his work. The Thoor Ballylee Yeats exhibition looks at the culture of the west, its crafts, stories, and songs; the central importance of the women in his life, most especially of his wife George; his talented family and long history of artistic collaborations, and in particular his close connections with the landscapes and people of County Galway, with Coole Park and with Thoor Ballylee.

Pamela Colman Smith, The Tower, Tarot Card Park 1907

Pamela Colman Smith, The Tower, Tarot Card Park 1907

A series of family and cultural events takes place over summer 2016 to honour Yeats’s memory, his heritage, and his links with the literary revival and with 1916. The Tower and Exhibition will be open to visitors throughout the summer from 10am to 6pm Monday – Sunday.

 

Thomas Sturge Moore, Bookplate for George Yeats (1924)

Thomas Sturge Moore, Bookplate for George Yeats (1924)

Talk at Yeats & the West: Yeats & the Problem of Crazy Jane

Yeats & the Problem of Crazy Jane

Public Talk

with

Professor Margaret Mills Harper

6pm Thursday 28 April

The Model Theatre, Sligo

Fergus Bourke: Hawthorn Tree, Connemara

Fergus Bourke: Hawthorn Tree, Connemara

This talk considers Yeats’s late 1930s flowering in poetry that is randy, raucous, rampaging, but possessing also a rare subtlety and rhythmic feeling.  The talk opens up discussion of poetics, censorship, balladry, sexuality, the fascinating western figures of Cracked Mary and Crazy Jane, what you can get up to beneath trees, and even a type of herbal substance named ‘Warlock’.  Professor Harper’s scholarship is both engaging and profound, and this is a talk not to be missed.

Margaret Mills Harper is Glucksman Professor of Contemporary Writing in English at the University of Limerick. She is the author of The Aristocracy of Art: Joyce and Wolfe (1990), and Wisdom of Two: The Spiritual and Literary Collaboration of George and W. B. Yeats ( 2006). She has co-edited two of the four volumes of Yeats’s “Vision” Papers (1992 and 2001) and both the 1925 and 1937 versions of Yeats’s A Vision (2008, 2015).

Meg Harper

Crazy Jane and the Bishop
Bring me to the blasted oak
That I, midnight upon the stroke,
(All find safety in the tomb.)
May call down curses on his head
Because of my dear Jack that’s dead.
Coxcomb was the least he said:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

Nor was he Bishop when his ban
Banished Jack the Journeyman,
(All find safety in the tomb.)
Nor so much as parish priest,
Yet he, an old book in his fist,
Cried that we lived like beast and beast:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

The Bishop has a skin, God knows,
Wrinkled like the foot of a goose,
(All find safety in the tomb.)
Nor can he hide in holy black
The heron’s hunch upon his back,
But a birch-tree stood my Jack:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

Jack had my virginity,
And bids me to the oak, for he
(All find safety in the tomb.)
Wanders out into the night
And there is shelter under it,
But should that other come, I spit:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

from Words for Music Perhaps (1931)

Professor Margaret Mills Harper appears in conversation with the curator of Yeats & the West, and Lecturer in English at NUI Galway, Dr Adrian Paterson.

Dr Adrian Paterson – NUI Galway and curator of the exhibition, speaking at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly 24MAR16

Dr Adrian Paterson – NUI Galway and curator of the exhibition, speaking at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo.
Photo: James Connolly
24MAR16

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.

Dr Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway, and curator of the exhibition, Donal Tinney, Chairperson of The Model, John Cox, NUIG, and Barry Houlihan, NUIG, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly 24MAR16

Dr Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway, and curator of the exhibition, Donal Tinney, Chairperson of The Model, John Cox, NUIG, and Barry Houlihan, NUIG, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo.
Photo: James Connolly
24MAR16

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).

Yeats and the West logo

All talks take place every Thursday at 6pm in the Model Theatre.

7 April – ‘Lake Isles, River Eyots: making Innisfree with the Yeats family’

Adrian Paterson, English, NUI Galway

14 April – ‘A Disturbing Influence: Maud Gonne in the life of W.B. Yeats’

Adrian Frazier, English, NUI Galway

21 April – ‘Jack B. Yeats’s A Broadside: a sheaf of ballads or a battery of guns?’

Hilary Pyle, former Yeats Curator at the National Gallery of Ireland

28 April – ‘W.B. Yeats and the Problem of Crazy Jane’

Margaret Mills Harper, University of Limerick, & outgoing Director of the Yeats International Summer School

5 May – ‘A Vaudeville of Frustration: The Theatre of Jack B. Yeats’.

Ian Walsh, Centre for Drama Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway

12 May – ‘Romanticism and Realism: Pearse, MacNeill, the Revival and the Rising’

Mary Harris, History, NUI Galway

For schools events Thursdays  enquire schoolvisits@nuigalway.ie

The Model opening hours

Tues-Sat: 10am – 5.30pm

Thurs: 10am – 8pm

Sun: 12 – 5pm

Mon: Closed

Yeats and the West logo

Harp Festival of Moons at Thoor Ballylee

Yeats Harp Moons

Caitríona Yeats at Thoor Ballylee for Harvest Moon Event

Yeats2015 Harp Festival of Moons

19.30 Tuesday 27th of October

Hosted by Thoor Ballylee Co. Galway

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society is delighted to welcome Caitríona Yeats, Solo Harpist at the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra and granddaughter of W.B. Yeats to perform at the Harp and Moon Festival taking place in Thoor Ballylee on the 27th of October. She will be joined by celebrated artists, Aine Ní Shioradáin, harpist and singer; Michelle O’Sullivan, poet, as well as Nicola and Karina Cahill on harp and flute. A small reception will open the evening’s entertainment at 7.30pm.

For a warm and unforgettable evening’s entertainment, please call or email Nichola to book your ticket costing 10 euro (payable on the door). email: yeatsthoorballyleesociety@gmail.com; phone +353 (0) 91 631436.

This Harvest Moon event is part of the Harp Festival of Moons, a year-long festival dedicated to W.B. Yeats, whose literary work was frequently inspired by the moon and the local landscape. Thoor Ballylee was the poetic model for his famous poem “Blood and the Moon” and where he set the “The Phases of the Moon”.

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The New York Times discovers Thoor Ballylee

As the weather starts to close in for winter, there are still some exciting events to attend at Thoor Ballylee, representing rare chances for visitors to view the interior of the tower during the winter months.  Here follows the opening of what The New York Times writer Dan Barry had to say about Thoor Ballylee. You can read more here.
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BALLYLEE, Ireland — In the County Galway parish of Kiltartan, in this bit of a place called Ballylee, a lichen-flecked tower rises from the wet ground to lord over cow and stream and the occasional otter. Its limestone walls shelter a protected species of bats, some field mice and a perpetual dampness evoking the must of the past.

The tower also harbors a significant piece of the legacy of William Butler Yeats, whose birth 150 years ago has been cause for a year of celebration throughout Ireland and the world. The poet spent many summers in the tower he christenedThoor Ballylee, and it inspired some of his most enduring work.

Over the years, though, the Norman tower has encountered natural challenges so daunting that the Irish government had to shut it down as a tourist site. The damaging floods of winter seemed to fulfill an oracular poem displayed on the tower’s face:

I, the poet William Yeats,
With old mill boards and sea-green slates,
And smithy work from the Gort forge,
Restored this tower for my wife George;
And may these characters remain
When all is ruin once again.

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Hear it in the deep heart’s core

Today at 4pm, Sunday 9th August 2015, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society hosts a benefit concert for the permanent restoration of Thoor Ballylee. Featuring music, poetry and the spoken word, all inspired and drawn from the works of W.B. Yeats, the concert takes place in Yeats’s iconic tower. Listen as Joseph Sobol, master guitarist and performer on a rare 10-string Sobell cittern, alongside vocals by Kathy Cowan, performs a ‘mystic cabaret’ described by the Chicago Sun-Times as ‘rapturous’ and ‘irresistible’. Come along to see the tower resound with musical echoes, and support Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society in its ongoing efforts to restore and reopen the tower permanently.

Yeats Deep Heart's Core cabaret

Here follows a link to Joseph Sobol performing Bach!

In The Deep Heart’s Core

Sunday 9th August 2015 sees a benefit concert for the permanent restoration of Thoor Ballylee. Featuring music, poetry and the spoken word, all inspired and drawn from the works of W.B. Yeats, the concert takes place in Yeats’s iconic tower. Listen as Joseph Sobol, with vocals by Kathy Cowan, performs a ‘mystic cabaret’ described by the Chicago Sun-Times as ‘rapturous’ and ‘irresistible’. Come along to see the tower resound with musical echoes, and support Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society in its ongoing efforts to restore and reopen the tower permanently.

Yeats Deep Heart's Core cabaret

 

Dead poet’s society?

(The following article by Adrian Paterson about the Yeats2015 celebrations and the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society appeared in the Irish Times on 10 February 2015. It is reproduced here with permission.)

WB Yeats

Joyous and recalcitrant, Yeats’s voice still resonates

This year sees a worldwide series of creative and cultural events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of William Butler Yeats. Launched by Senator Susan O’Keeffe and Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys as part of Ireland’s decade of commemorations, Yeats2015 gives the anniversary decade a new focus.

But why remember, of all things, a dead poet? What good can calling Yeats from the dead do us?

Yeats himself thought a lot about life after death, and his poems ask nagging questions of those beyond the grave. Fittingly, Yeats2015 might just prove the most lively of all the commemorations.

It is the only one that celebrates a birth, rather than remembering an event of sober historical record. It is the only one exclusively devoted to artistic achievement, so central to this island’s story.

It is locally driven but international in scope, with events centred on places important to Yeats, such as Galway, Sligo, Dublin, London, and further afield, Paris, Utrecht, Madrid, Atlanta, Melbourne, Tokyo, Beijing.

Yeats today is respected rather than loved. His unassailable position on the Leaving Cert syllabus has not resulted in the universal affection of schoolchildren, among whom this self-confessed “smiling public man” walked and dreamed of loves and loss.

An association with Ascendancy Protestantism (which doesn’t cloud opinion of Samuel Beckett or his own brother, the artist Jack Yeats) underplays his own radically unorthodox beliefs, and the down-at-heel origins of a young man who used to ink his feet to hide the holes in his socks.

Yeats is seen as lofty, aloof, abstract, when in fact he was engaged, committed, sensual. But we don’t have to like Yeats to listen. We don’t have to agree with him to learn something. Yeats would have loathed a hagiography and Yeats2015 will not be one. His is a bountiful, contradictory shade that deserves to be called up and questioned again.

Dates mattered to Yeats. For him, the whirlings of moons and midnights set in train the larger forces of history and creativity this commemorative decade is designed to mark.

Revolutionary decade

It is hard to imagine that revolutionary decade without him. Those repeating the lines “Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,/ It’s with O’Leary in the grave” sometimes forget that September 1913, first published in this newspaper, is an impassioned defence of modern art, a frontal attack on those who thought progress was a new road bridge over the Liffey and breaking the unions rather than workers’ rights and a free public gallery.

Easter 1916 commemorates the rebels’ sacrifice but questions it too, painfully acknowledging the ambiguity of founding a state on violent insurrection. The War of Independence sparked the savage Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen, which condemns violence against the person and against art, yet acknowledges our thirst and culpability for both.

These poems may name dates but have not become dated. Like them, The Second Coming knows intimately the horrors of the 20th century, perhaps explaining the poem’s prescience even today. Slavoj Zizek is among countless public figures to cite it, arguing in response to the recent Parisian murders that it “seems perfectly to render our present predicament: ‘The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity’.”

Meditations in Time of Civil War, meanwhile, wrests from the Troubles a lyric Seamus Heaney felt still mattered: its refrain “O honey-bees – Come build in the empty house of the stare” pleads for peace to a deafened world.

That bloody decade made Ireland, but it also made Yeats as a poet. Facing a new reality he turned a personal midlife crisis into spare, unflinching public poems whose powerful lines and pressing concerns still sound like tolling bells.

However we think of Yeats, poetic achievement must be at the heart of any commemoration. But Yeats was more than a poet. He was a cultural revolutionary who became a cultural entrepreneur. He began things, co-founding the Abbey Theatre, the Irish Literary Society and, with his talented family, the Cuala Press, producing designs and books from a single hand-press in Dublin.

He was anything but a solitary dreamer: his collaborations with musicians, actors, dramatists, stage designers, folklorists, journalists, artists, dancers, printers, occultists, broadcasters and lovers are reflected in the vibrant range of celebratory events on offer.

A disturbing late flirtation with authoritarian politics remains rightly controversial and must cause us to reflect on the role of the arts in a democratic society. As a working politician, however, Yeats was a liberal and his conception of the nation strikingly diverse. As a senator he promoted Irish-language research, while questioning compulsory Irish. Citing cross-Border unity and minority rights he argued for long-established rights to divorce, only recently restored.

Yeats radio mike

Defender of free speech

He defended free speech against religious interests, denouncing censorship and mocking the new State’s “committee for evil literature”. He was in principle a European, trading in a global artistic currency; but in practice a localist, insistent on self-determination. The coinage commission he chaired produced animal designs that lasted until the coming of the euro.

His poems honour the Irish landscape. You might even say his shade balefully haunts our ghost estates: an alternative to profligate new-builds and property booms is shown by the careful restoration of a Hiberno-Norman tower in Galway with local labour and materials, wood, thatch, ironwork, and slates. This year of all years it must be hoped the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society receives support for its reopening.

WB Yeats was a vortex of energy, a protean, recalcitrant, joyous figure who believed in the value of art to shape a nation and to change the world. Perhaps, for a year, we should join this dead poet’s society and see what happens.

Adrian Paterson is a lecturer in English at NUI Galway and a member of the Yeats2015 steering committee and the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society.

Yeats & Facial Expression exhibition

Facial Expression: an exhibition celebrating the human face

From portraiture to caricature the human face has remained central to visual expression.This show features the work of Illustrators Ireland members exploring this theme.

The exhibition features this image of W.B.Yeats and Thoor Ballylee in charcoal by Brian Gallagher, a study for a woodcut produced especially for the Yeats2015 celebrations, coinciding with the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society development project.

YeatsDrawing-low

The Facial Expression exhibition is to be opened by iconic photographer
John Minihan
Thursday 26th February @ 8pm

The United Arts Club
3 Upper Fitzwilliam St
Dublin 2
www.dublinarts.com

Exhibition continues until 14th March 2015
Viewing Tues to Friday 11am to 11pm
www.illustratorsireland.com www.scamp.ie