A new show set against the backdrop of Catholic Ireland and the Irish Women's Liberation Movement is set to open this weekend at The Mill Theatre in Dundrum.
Sisters follows Bernadette Boland, a single mother shunned by her community, her sister Kathleen, a newlywed dreaming of a perfect life, and the youngest, Noleen, a shop girl eager to embrace the sexual revolution. Bernadette takes a job Gaj’s, a restaurant that existed on Lower Baggot Street which hosted weekly meetings of the Irish Women's Liberation Movement (IWLM).
Bernadette gets swept up in the movement and she embarks on a journey towards self empowerment. The musical celebrates the pioneering women of the past and pays homage to those who lit the fire of change in Ireland, promising to be both entertaining and deeply moving.
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Writer and director Tracy Ryan said of the show: "I came across the activities of the women’s movement, and was really blown away. From the contraceptive train to Belfast, to the Late Late Show appearance, the various public meetings and protests at the Pro-Cathedral.
"This year of activities in 1971 sets the backdrop of the musical, where our fictional character Bernadette Boland must negotiate the difficulties of being a single mother at a time when society views it as something deeply shameful."
She added: "Margaret Gaj, the proprietor of Gaj’s on Baggot Street, was one of the founders of the IWLM. In ‘Sisters’, Bernadette gets a job in Gaj’s and it’s through these support structures that her personal story begins to develop."
Meanwhile the show's musical director Kaeylea B VanKeith said: "We wanted to honour the women that have gone before us, not just the central figures in the IWLM but to show how movements and mobilisation ripple outward to change a country and all our lives. It was a dark period in our history, but the show is highly entertaining and accessible. It’s important that we are aware that so many of our basic rights had to be fought for. We would encourage audiences to come and be inspired."
Sisters is produced by Kate Canning, DLR Mill Theatre and kindly supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Local Live Performance Programming Scheme. The show will preview on Friday, September 23 at 7.30pm and Saturday, September 24 at 2.30pm, and will then open to the public that evening on September 24 at 7:30pm.
Sisters will run from October 4 until October 8 at 7.30pm each night with a matinee performance on October 8 at 2.30pm. Tickets cost between €22 and €25.
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