prime Project Development Bursary 2020

Age & Opportunity and our partners the Irish Theatre Institute were delighted to announce a prime Project Development Bursary for 2020. We have been working together over a number of years to deliver prime professional development opportunities for theatre artists aged 50+. Unfortunately, given the extraordinary circumstances we currently find ourselves in, prime in its previous ‘platform/showcase’ format has not been possible this year.

As a result, ITI and Age & Opportunity created the prime Project Development Bursary available to the 2019 lead artists who pitched ideas/works in development at the prime Platform event. The artists awarded the bursaries were: Eileen GibbonsSeán Millar and John Nee. Here's what the artists had to say about the bursary and the projects they are working on with this support. 

Eileen Gibbons

I am delighted to be receiving this Bursary from Age & Opportunity and the Irish Theatre Institute. Since presenting my idea for ‘The Common Good’ at Prime Platform 2019 Axis Ballymun have taken me on as an Associate Artist. As a result of this and with funding from Galway County Council Arts Office I have completed the first draft of my new play ‘The Common Good’.

The prime Project Development Bursary Award 2020 will will go towards the writing of the second draft of the play.  This research will inform my writing as I work on the next draft. These are difficult times for those of us who work in the theatre; this bursary offers a beacon of hope for my future as a theatre practitioner and brings the promise of better times ahead.

Seán Millar

I am so grateful to get this bursary because it will allow me precious time to work on developing my piece. During lockdown I've had a lot of time to think about the show, about what I wanted to say with it, and how I want to perform it. I feel differently about it, and I've even changed the title to 'Lovesong', inspired by the dark alternative romantic music of the period.

The piece is becoming more personalised and nuanced. Less a discourse and more an autobiographical journey.

Working on the show, for me, involves writing a series of texts and then speaking them aloud and feeling them as performance pieces, and then improvising around them.

All of this takes time and work, and this bursary will buy me that time.

Little John Nee
I have been working away on 'Loveen' and the show continues to evolve. The show is set in the not too distant future; I started writing long before the pandemic and had some surreal futuristic visions of a Galway pretty much in “lockdown” behind the new city walls; the protagonist escapes towards the islands, who have chosen to isolate themselves; in the theatre, there are no live actors but plays created by holograms. Little did I imagine that so soon this would all become so humdrum. In a way this has made it so much easier to explore the existential nature of the characters, I think we have all delved deeper in these pandemic times.