Four artist commissions announced as part of Creative Places: Edenderry

Creative Places: Edenderry is our ambitious ongoing project which aims to put people, place, and participation at the centre of cultural life in Edenderry. As part of this programme, we're excited to announce the recipients of our 2024 artist commissions, who we'll be supporting to carry out inspiring projects with and for the people of Edenderry. We particularly looked for proposals which reflected the ethos of arts participation, and for artists who demonstrated a vision to deliver ambitious and durational projects. 

Congratulations to all of our commissioned artists - we look forward to working with you!

Creative Places: Edenderry is funded and supported by The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Offaly County Council, and the Municipal District of Edenderry.

Sara Walmsley and Elizabeth Drwal | Reflections and Resonance

Sara Walmsley and Elizabeth Drwal are experienced music, vocal, and theatre practitioners having worked with diverse groups around a variety of themes in Ireland, UK, and Germany. Their playful approach to creative group work prioritises the holding of a safe-space for participants to explore themes imaginatively and to trust in the organic process of co-creation. As creative practitioners, they bring a shared understanding of the importance of socially-engaged arts for providing a route to community development. Their values of inclusion, creativity, and engagement are realised through music and theatre techniques such as improvisation and devising. 

Reflections and Resonance is an intergenerational performance-making project. It seeks to celebrate living in Edenderry with the canal used to symbolise the enriching and fluid experience of change. The project aims to build on existing community art participation, extending this by furthering community connections within and beyond Edenderry through co-design and co-creation. 

Participants will include an adult community music group, a group of local children, and an ensemble of young musicians and singers from Music Generation, bringing them all together to musically explore and respond to themes identified by the local children as important to living in Edenderry. The project will encourage storytelling around lived experiences, allowing diverse voices to be heard. This will promote inclusive dialogue within the community, and contribute to the broader remit of Creative Places: Edenderry to support and enable tangible social impact and legacy through the power of arts engagement for community building.

John Maguire | A Halloween Event at St Mary's Primary School

John Maguire is the founder of the Gemini Players and Artistic Director of the Edenderry festival committee (2018-2020). Recent credits include: 'The Loves of Cass Maguire' (director, 2023, Gemini Players); 'The Field' (director, 2023, Carbury Players Drama Group); and 'The Covid Bar' (writer and director, 2022, Gemini Players).

I've been involved in theatre all my life, and I suppose I have played a wide variety of roles. My greatest pleasure is to create an audio-visual performance that entertains, challenges and provokes thought and reaction. 

I have directed a number of drama groups. I have found great fulfilment in bringing a group of people together (some of them strangers, or first timers) and embarking on a voyage of discovery which has a different destination for each one involved.

Next Halloween, Edenderry will be treated to a spectacular event in the local primary school. I will be presenting a theme park and pantomime in St. Mary's Primary School. I have organized this in such a way as to include as many people as possible.
The pantomime will have over twenty in the cast, as well as four different local dance troupes strutting their stuff during the performance. We will have Ballet, Irish, Line, and Hip Hop dancers.

The theme park will involve dozens of people building the props and sets. The Men's Shed will build castle battlements graveyard scenes, ghosts, ghouls dementors, witches and lots more. The lobby and auditorium will be dressed by the members of the Women's Shed. A team of volunteers will help install the exhibits.

When the audience arrives they will be treated to a light hearted pantomime as well as a few timely scares. Plenty of fun and laughter is promised.

Laura Phillips | Community Doodle Mural

Laura Phillips is the founder of The Barley Moon. Laura is a qualified primary school teacher with a BSC (Hons) in Applied Psychology, who is deeply passionate about mindfulness and creativity. She specialises in leading mindful doodle workshops for children and adults. These workshops emphasise the positive effects of doodling, such as reducing anxiety, improving focus, and providing a relaxing practice.

Laura is delighted to be one of the successful artist commission applicants who is now able to bring her vision to life. She is excited to create a huge 'Doodle Mural' with the children and teenagers of Edenderry and the surrounding area. This mural will be displayed at the Youth Café in Edenderry for years to come.

The collaborative mural will take shape over a series of engaging workshops held throughout the summer, where children will be invited to contribute their unique doodle designs, bringing together their shared creativity while honouring each child's individual style.

Eden FM Community Radio | Echoes of Edenderry: Embracing Diversity Through Shared Stories

Celebrating 10 years of radio in Edenderry this year, Eden FM Community Radio is in the heart of Edenderry, opposite the town hall in O'Connell Square. It began as a small project which has developed in to a thriving community radio station where we welcome all groups and organisations. We are a not-for-profit organisation, run by a dedicated team of volunteers who are from Edenderry and beyond. Our programming consists of community news, talk shows, special interest programmes, and a variety of music formats from Irish, country, easy listening, modern up to date, and of course the oldies! Our motto is: ‘radio for the community, by the community.’ 

Members of the team at Eden FM Community Radio are delighted to be developing Echos of Edenderry: Embracing Diversity Through Shared Stories. We have a passion for community development, inclusivity, and diversity, and always want people of Edenderry to have a chance to have their stories told. The inspiration for our project came after Michelle O'Donnell was commissioned by Creative Lives to do her Edenderry Community Sculpture Project. It was such an inspirational idea that it sparked the idea of mirroring her project through voice, captivating the stories of people in Edenderry and saving them for future generations. By connecting it with Michelle O'Donnell’s Edenderry Community Sculpture Project, it will bring both projects full circle, not only in stunning picture but in vocal art as well.