Fishamble in Australia, 2016
There are so many cultural and historic links between Ireland and Australia. Irish audiences have had the opportunity in recent years to see superb work by companies from down under, including The Last Great Hunt, Back to Back and Ilbijerri, with Brink Productions in Ireland at the moment working on an exciting Irish/Australian collaboration. Fishamble is delighted currently to be presenting Underneath by Pat Kinevane and Little Thing, Big Thing by Donal O’Kelly at the Adelaide Fringe, in partnership with Arts Projects Australia (APA) and supported by Culture Ireland. APA previously brought Fishamble’s Silent by Pat Kinevane to Australia.
Thankfully, both productions are receiving a rake of 4 and 5-star reviews and Underneath also won a prestigious Best Theatre award last week. The audiences in Adelaide have a similar (dark) sense of humour to the Irish, and are responding well to the plays. There is a joke in Underneath about the Pope and the Queen that gets a bigger reaction in Australia than anywhere else! Similarly, the myriad of distinctly Irish characters played by Donal O’Kelly and Sorcha Fox in Little Thing, Big Thing are as recognisable over 10,000 miles away, as they are in Ireland. Audience members have remarked that they expect to experience rich, poetic language and dark humour in Irish work, but they are also enjoying the physicality of both Fishamble plays, as well as in the wonderful Beowulf: The Blockbuster which is also part of the Irish Theatre Showcase there.
Some of the most rewarding aspects to international touring include the opportunity to promote Irish culture abroad, and the ability to find connections with audiences and artists around the world. We are very grateful to Culture Ireland, APA and the Australian theatre community for allowing these connections to grow.
Jim Culleton, March 2016.