Background to Freshly Ground Theatre’s CURVE, a note from the creators.
Curve, Freshly Ground’s latest production, is an immersive piece of theatre centred around the Irish Education system and the bell curve as a grading system. It follows the story of one student as she grapples with the incumbent uncertainties and hardships of going through 6th year and scrutinises the effects exams have on her in terms of world view and mental health. As recent graduates of the secondary education system, all members of the theatre company felt passionately about tackling the subject of the Leaving Cert.
As part of generating awareness, they will stage an installation in various locations over the coming days including Trinity College, Dail Eireann and the Department of Education.
Freshly Ground was lucky enough to secure an Artists’ Incubation Award from Creative Ireland South Dublin, which enabled us to go into local secondary schools and conduct workshops with senior cycle students face to face. It was fascinating to have an honest and open dialogue about topics ranging from stress and anxiety, to college and favouritism, all through the lens of exams. Each workshop began with some light drama games; and ended in a showcase of opinions performed by the students themselves. The insights gained from the workshops were used directly in the inspiration and conceptualisation for the preview of Curve, which was held in the Loose End on March 20th.
We tried to recreate the feelings described by students in our choices of set and lighting. By placing the audience in the anxiety-inducing position of having to relive their Leaving Cert, we hoped to garner sympathy and understanding in the ongoing discussion concerning the perhaps outdated examination systems in Ireland, in particular the loss of individualism and the arbitrariness of the Bell Curve as a grading method.
Feedback from the preview was largely positive, and we were able to take onboard new ideas and perspectives from the audience in order to polish and expand upon the original concept for the full run from the 20th to the 23rd of June. Our hope is to take Curve to schools in the near future, as the immersive aspect of the piece means it’s possible to perform the play as site-specific theatre in classrooms.
We would like to thank the team at the Civic Theatre, South Dublin County Council, Creative Ireland South Dublin and Tallaght Community Arts for their ongoing support throughout all stages of this project.
Written by Seán Farrelly
Directed by Michelle Henry
Performed by Bronwen Barrett and Colin Smith
Production manager: Martha Knight
Stage management: Vlad Gurdis, Megan Thompson~
Set design: Natasha Duffy
Light design: Martha Knight
Poster: Catherine O’Brien
Photography: Tristan Shiels
Freshly Ground Theatre is a young company of artists based in Tallaght.
Wed 20 – Sat 23 June