It’s a beautiful July morning, and as I write this letter, Summer Camp Gorey swirls around me. Forty-two
enthusiastic children are busily active in song, dance and drama, and the corridor is filled with the sounds
of vocal exercises, laughter from the drama room, and the choreographer shouting “. . . 5, 6, 7, 8!” After
this, we move on to the Arklow Camp where we have 24 children signed up. Its all a happy, active and
Since my last letter, the two schools combined to present Midsummer Madness (with apologies to
Shakespeare) in the Gorey Little Theatre. This production was without question one of the most visually
stunning shows we’ve staged. This is thanks in large part to Sarah Rubin (Maya Rubin-Rahn’s mom)
who, as an eco-friendly artist, created a magical forest using all recycled materials. A magnificent and
enormous tree that dominated the stage, a fantastical winged throne, a tree house covered in “moss” were
all sculpted from cardboard, gold and silver synthetic discards, old scarves and lots of genuine ivy. Add
to this the perfect lighting from our long-time set designer and lighting genius, Mark Redmond, and the
magic was complete!
And, as usual, the students excelled themselves, presenting the audience with a great evening’s
entertainment. Ciarán Smith and Lily Henrich-Doyle were the perfect royal couple, Oberon and Titania.
Ben Dowie, Caylin Walsh, Jordi Wortmann and Elizabeth Gahan had us in alternating sighs and laughter
as the star-crossed lovers, and young Finn Standing as Puck led us a merry dance indeed! The younger
children delighted us as the fairy folk, and the Arklow Pagliacci Class brought the house down as the
village Workers devising and performing their play to present to Theseus and Hippolyta on their wedding
However, aside from all the above, I personally have one very distinct — and jolly — memory. As Titania attempted to seduce the ass-headed Bottom by crooning the song “Fever” to him, a bevy of lovely toga-clad girls danced in the background. To my astonishment, it appeared that Conchita (remember Conchita from Austria who won Eurovision in Copenhagen?) had joined Innovations! There she was — full black beard, gorgeous flowing gown! In fact, it was Liadáin O’Sullivan. Liadáin was playing the part of Peter Quince, the “boss” of the Workers, and simply didn’t have the time to get rid of the beard before changing costume for the “Fever” dance. This was on Opening Night. Subsequently, she appeared with a yashmak for the dance!
After Midsummer, we dove straight into preparing our end-of-year showcases. We tried something new
this time . . . we asked the senior students (Domino and Scaramouche in Gorey, and Pagliacci in Arklow)
to devise their own pieces. They chose, cast, rehearsed and directed their own drama pieces; and they
also selected the music, cast and choreographed their own dance numbers. It was a great success. Well
done to our very versatile and talented students!
As is the custom, at the conclusion of the showcases, awards were given for the year’s achievements. Our
2017 Students of the Year are Padraig O’Leary in Gorey and, for the first time ever, joint award-winners Caylin Walsh and Eimear Wolohan in Arklow. We just couldn’t find a point between them! The Deirdre Short
Award for Most Promising Student went to Leila Mulhall.
We’ve started something new this year as well . . . a scholarship! This is a €500 bursary for a deserving
student who is going on to theatre studies. Our very first awardee is Lily Henrich-Doyle who will be
attending the Bull Alley Theatre School, Dublin in September. (Bull Alley is one of the schools in which
Sarah Morris and Chris Currid trained, and where yours truly used to teach.)
EXCITING NEWS! In March, our dance teacher Laura Kitt gave birth to a beautiful baby girl . . .
Sienna. Needless to say, Laura took the past few months off from Innovations, but she’ll be back in
September to put everyone through their terpsichorian paces once again.
Sad news . . . our much-loved singing teacher, John Hughes, said farewell to us at the end of the May
Showcases. John has a lot on his plate: he travels extensively in the family business, he’s starting a new
study course in Dublin in September, and . . . GOOD NEWS, he and wife Denise Brennan are expecting a baby in September as well. We wish both John and Denise all our love and thanks for their extraordinary
musical contributions to Innovations over the years. They will always be a part of our “family”.
The new Innovations School Year is just around the corner, and we have lots of exciting projects lined
up. There are also some changes regarding auditions, term lengths, and payments, so you might want to
have a look at the Website and /or Facebook for details.
But for now, I wish you a glorious summer. Don’t forget the sun screen!