Introducing Set Square Collective.

Set Square Collective are our LIVE SEED: SOIL commission for 2022-23. They are Orla Kelly, Anne Cradden and Andrew Carson. This fabulous group of talented practitioners came together in 2022 to work on this project (aren’t we lucky!!). They have a huge amount of experience at creating different kinds of projects for lots of different children. We were so excited to be able to commission them to work durationally with a group of young people from Sacred Heart School in Tallaght. The group have been working together since September and have had lots of fun unpacking and understanding what a theatre is and how it can be used to tell stories in fun and different ways. The group came to seeThe  Dead Letter Office by RSS! alumni Mary Lou McCarthy in October and got to do a tour of the set and chat to the stage management team to find out how all the different elements of show all came together. Since January the creative consultants  have been inventing their own stories that are going to be told as part of the new show Discombobulation at SCRATCH: A mini festival of new work this may. Part theatre piece , part installation this new experience has been created by the young people of Tallaght for the young people of Tallaght. We are excited to see the finished result. 

We asked the collective a few questions:

Tell us a bit about yourself?
Set Square is a creative collaboration between three visual artists – Anne Cradden, Andrew Carson and Orla Kelly. While our practices and approaches are quite different, the viewpoint of the child is the lens through which we approach everything we make and do. Recently, we have pooled our many  years of experience in a really exciting collaborative set design project for children’s theatre, and this has proved to be a really fruitful experience, one in which we are able to contribute with our own particular strengths and also continually learn from each other. We have been so delighted to get to work on RSS this year as it has given us the opportunity to develop our vision.

For the past few months we have been very lucky to be able to work regularly with a dedicated team of student collaborators at Sacred Heart Senior National School in Tallaght. This very  special group of 4th and 5th class students have contributed their time, imagination, artwork, and laughs to an amazing work in progress designed by and for children their own age.  In working with children on this project we have found that some of the best thinking is done by them when allowed to think freely – It sounds basic but it’s powerful! When we listen fully they are strengthened by our respect and they share and think more. We want to make their thinking visible, and this is what we will be showcasing in May!

What is your piece called?
The Mystery of Hair’s Father

Who is this for?
Families and children aged 11+

What  themes are explored in the piece?
Inspired by artworks produced by the students in the early  weeks of the project, this work represents an odyssey or quest undertaken by our heroic main character through a series of fantasy worlds, with many different challenges, scenarios, interactions, emotions, crashes, zombies, explosions, and dramatic rescues.  As we go, we hope the audience will come with us in experiencing all the emotions the children have brought to their thinking process – from excitement, joy, love, and hysterical laughter to anger, sadness, fear, and feeling a bit lost – and how they have harnessed these in their creative process.

What will the piece look like and how will the audience engage with it?
The piece is an immersive theatre experience in the round, in which the audience are invited to witness our hero moving through a set that morphs and unfolds as we go, helped by light and sound. We hope it will be a spectacle in which the audience are asked to contribute their own imaginations to the performance by immersing themselves in the worlds the children have conjured up.