22 June, 2020 // ,

Songs of Change

In response to the physical closing of its doors, amidst the chaos of Covid-19 induced uncertainty, The Civic made a decision to continue to seek opportunities to create and connect despite the challenging circumstances.  

Songs of Change was born.  

A participatory art project inspired by this moment of significant change we are currently navigating Songs of Charge sees The Civic’s Associate Artist Veronica Coburn work with a group of 18 citizens from South Dublin County exploring moments of time in our lives when change occurs.  When we are made different.  

Songs of Change participants, listed below, all took part in Clamour & Roar – A Citizens’ Chorus, a South Dublin County Council public art commission that culminated in a sung and spoken performance, Ghost Hares, celebrating the people and landscape of South Dublin County in The Civic Theatre.


Verina Borissova
Kate Connaughton
Ken Cooper
Laura Fox
Orla Gildea
Pat Goucher
Breda Halligan
Monika Hyland
Barbara Kelly
Sheila McAdam
Geraldine McGarry
Ruth McKenna
Joyce Mooney
Noeleen Murray
Elaine Peden
Una Ruddock
Michelle Stafford
Anne Wall

Songs of Change will culminate in a suite of songs, 10 in number, scored by Perth based composer Debra Salem. 

Artists’ Biographies

Veronica Coburn is a playwright and theatre director who loves to work with people from all walks of life. Veronica runs TENDERFOOT, The Civic Theatre’s apprentice theatre programme for transition year students. The guiding principle of Tenderfoot is that young people have the ability and the need to produce theatre and that theatre has a profound meaning for a peer audience. As artist in residence in Draíocht Arts Centre she developed Hallelujah! Draíocht’s Community Clown Choir which worked over three years to develop skill in both the art of clown and the art of song. Hallelujah! culminated in a full length red nose theatre piece, Ship of Fools, inspired by Alessandro Barrico’s Novecento. As a playwright she has won the Prix Europa Radio France for her play MAYDAY for RTE Radio Drama. She has also been awarded Gold Medal Status for her play TWENTYSEVEN also for RTE Radio Drama. Most recently, Veronica won The Irish Playwright Guild’s Zebbie Award for Best Radio Drama for her play Kinsey One Through Five. Veronica is currently Artistic Director of HOME THEATRE (Ireland), an innovative project in Draíocht Arts Centre which will see 30 original plays in 30 homes across Dublin 15 for Dublin Theatre Festival 2018.

Debra Salem has been composing since 1989 and has over 80 professional commissions for theatre, dance, film and TV to her credit. Her most recent theatre work was Unfaithful by Owen McCafferty in The Traverse. She also conceived and presented In A Sma Room as part of Made In Scotland Edinburgh Festival 2014, a cycle of fifteen songs with piano, guitar & cello presented in a theatrical frame. Each song is a poem by Perth poet William Soutar set to original music. Debra is currently recording an album of the songs from In A Sma Room. Debra studied Music at Leicester Polytechnic, specialising in composition under head of department, British contemporary composer Gavin Bryars. In recent years her musical work has focused on work with choral ensembles, arranging pieces for large ensembles and a range of unaccompanied community choirs. Some of her projects include THE BIG SING and Only Boys Allowed, both for Perth Concert Hall. Debra’s belief is that everyone can sing and that there is a joy and a power in communal singing. She has a rare ability to empower people who identify as non-singers. Debra Salem was director of music on Ghost Hares.  She has worked across television, theatre and the participatory arts.