Armagh Project Flyer - download a pdf of the flyer
Throughout Ireland’s complex and sectarian history, the Irish have maintained their culture by sustaining the role of arts in their society. The Irish storytelling tradition stands at the forefront of both historic and contemporary expressions of heritage and at the heart of remembrance and reconciliation among a people fraught by religious, political and economic divides. It is not surprising that IEI Media chose Armagh, Ireland’s oldest city, as an appropriate place to house an experiential creative writing residency for American college students. In this city where ancient and modern Ireland converge, students will join in a rich tradition of study and storytelling and immerse into its culture. Students’ final work will be published in a printed compendium as well as presented publically during The John Hewitt International Summer School in Armagh. This week-long program of readings, discussion, drama, music and exhibitions features more than 30 top artists from across Ireland and beyond.
Playwriting students Joseph Hospodor, Sean McDonough, Courtney Smith, Kerrin Smith and Victoria Willams will examine the texts of Irish dramatists while creating their own 10-minute play inspired by local folklore. Exploring the creation of theatre from idea to performance, teachers and students will utilize improvisation and free-writing to develop voice while structured peer and instructor feedback sessions provide direction. Classroom instruction in dramatic structure, writing practice and vocal training is married with cultural field trips. As well as the John Hewitt Festival performance, new Irish plays developed by the University of Baltimore students will be performed in September as part of the Spotlight UB fall season and in November at the Maryland Irish Festival.
In the poetry section of the residency, graduate student Rachel Wooley will investigate techniques used to generate new material and to revise old, as she joins the playwriting section in local cultural excursions. Assigned readings will include the work of Irish poets that will serve as both inspiration and models, and a professional published poet will give Rachel one-on-one critiques of her work. Rachel will present her Armagh portfolio during a reading at the John Hewitt Festival and will join the playwriting students in their presentations at the University of Baltimore and the Maryland Irish Festival.
Teachers Terri Ciofalo, Kimberley Lynne, Nessa O’Mahony and Joan Weber hope that by viewing another and ancient culture through the prism of the writing arts, the students can more fully understand and appreciate their own modern American one. The students will use this blog to post homework and to chronicle their adventures.
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