Destination in sight – some thoughts on how we got here

Posted on Posted in Star of the Sea

Moonfish are coming to the end of a fantastic month-long tour of Ireland. Thousands of people county-wide have now seen Star of the Sea and we’ve had some fantastic audience feedback. As the producer of the show, there’s nothing more thrilling than to overhear an audience member saying “This show made me feel…” or “Star of the Sea made me want to find out more about…”

Art can – and should – inspire discussion, challenge deep-rooted thinking and of course entertain.

Moonfish and companies like us are only able to create this kind of work with the help of funding from many different bodies. As a result of this funding, for the last 2 months we’ve been able to provide work for countless people while at the same time (hopefully) challenging, inspiring and entertaining.

Our funding bodies enable us to make theatre which kick-starts discussions and stokes fires in the minds of our audience. This is how we grow as a society. Art has been doing this for centuries. We are so grateful to have received this funding and at the moment there just isn’t enough of it to go around. This has to change.

Art can be the window through which we can observe social change at a safe distance, then decide how we feel about it. This is not, as recent funding cuts would suggest, a luxury. These cuts aren’t just happening in the theatre world but have extended into our education system. Children are now forced through a curriculum which is squeezing out art, music and drama, if they were ever present on the timetable in the first place. Why?

Huge watershed moments in social change have taken place through television, literature and theatre. Jane Austen was a feminist long before Germaine Greer came along. George Bernard Shaw and Ibsen (to name just two) raised many questions which were uncomfortable at the time, but could then be freely discussed in parliament. A gay kiss on a soap opera, black presidents in on the big screen and here we are in 2015. Art is where we can imagine a different future and test it out in our imaginations. It allows re-evaluate our past, as people and as a nation.

The gay kiss on Queer as Folk in 1999 caused absolute outrage. Six years later Doctor Who kisses a bloke and no one bats an eyelid. Art gives us time to think and we should not be scaling back its lifeblood.  Our heartfelt thanks to all who have come to see Star of the Sea so far, your support means a lot to us. Keep going to the theatre, watching TV, reading. We hope to see you at our next show!

Ionia Ní Chróinín as Máire N Dhúáin - The Star of the Sea 2014

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