Bo Leictreach Greenplay Writing Festival comes to Birr

BIRR Theatre & Arts Centre, in co-operation with Jasango Theatre, Ireland and Selkie Theatre/Electric Cow Festival, USA are pleased to announce the debut of a new playwriting festival: Bo Leictreach, the GreenPlay Writing Festival, running Friday September 9 to 11.

BIRR Theatre & Arts Centre, in co-operation with Jasango Theatre, Ireland and Selkie Theatre/Electric Cow Festival, USA are pleased to announce the debut of a new playwriting festival: Bo Leictreach, the GreenPlay Writing Festival, running Friday September 9 to 11.

This exciting festival will showcase new 10 Minute GreenPlays by regional and national playwrights, as well as offering Writing Workshops, a screening of Josh Fox’s award-winning documentary “Gasland”, readings of GreenPlays featured in the USA Electric Cow Festival, and much more.

Bo Leictreach was inspired by the success of Selkie Theatre’s own Electric Cow: The GreenPlay Festival, an American event featuring site-specific productions of new 10 Minute GreenPlays. The popular Electric Cow festival took place from June 3 to 12 in a centuries-old restored grist mill – Illicks Mill – set on the banks of the Monocacy Creek in Bethlehem, PA, USA, outside Philadelphia. Eight new plays explored topics like fracking to recycling, in styles ranging from radio plays and puppet shows to steampunk sci-fi.

“Bo, the beloved Electric Cow…and her amazing troupe of actors, technicians, and other Selkie visionaries will (soon) strike their sets and move on. Illick’s Mill will be haunted with their laughter, tears, and hope for years… So many people will continue to hear the voices of the artists, and they will change,” said Karen Dolan, Director of Illicks Mill / Bethlehem City Councilwoman.

Electric Cow also featured a new play, “For Penguin’s Sake”, written and performed by Irish guest artist Angela Ryan, co-founder of Ireland’s Jasango Theatre with Jasmin Finn. Selkie and Jasango have adopted each other as “sister theatres”, co-producing projects in both the US and Ireland. The two companies, and two countries, are deeply entwined.

Selkie Theatre produces in the US and Ireland, including premieres in Galway and Dublin. Selkie Artistic Director George B Miller directed Jasango Theatre’s “Bombshells”, by Joanna Murray-Smith, just finishing a successful two year tour of Ireland and the US. Ms Ryan joined Selkie as a guest artist for Electric Cow USA, and stayed on in Bethlehem to rehearse Jasango’s newest piece, Geraldine Aron’s “My Brilliant Divorce”, again under George Miller’s direction. Electric Cow / Bo Leictreach co-producer Lisa Daly of Selkie creates in both the USA and Ireland; her photography exhibit “Toppers” is currently touring with Jasango’s “ My Brilliant Divorce”.

So when Birr Theatre & Arts Centre decided to host a playwriting festival, perhaps it was inevitable that the Electric Cow should become the Bo Liectreach! “Working with the support of Birr Theatre & Arts Centre, and Offaly County Council, we would love to see this become an annual, flourishing green arts festival,” said Angela Ryan. “We passionately believe that the arts have a powerful role to play in shaping our response to the environmental concerns facing us.”

Playwrights, established and aspiring, local and national, have been asked to submit scripts for consideration through August 17 to Bo Leictreach and Jasango Theatre at jasangotheatre@gmail.com. Plays must be variations on eco-green themes, and no longer than 10 minutes running time.