• Southside

Passion takes locals onto the streets of Ballyfermot

Wednesday, 19th April, 2017 2:00pm
Passion takes locals onto the streets of Ballyfermot

Children from the Ballyfermot ‘Dragon Twirlers’ took part in a community parade as part of The Passion Project. PHOTO: MARC O’SULLIVAN

Passion takes locals onto the streets of Ballyfermot

Children from the Ballyfermot ‘Dragon Twirlers’ took part in a community parade as part of The Passion Project. PHOTO: MARC O’SULLIVAN

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A CAST of hundreds took to the streets and civic spaces of Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard recently for a contemporary interpretation of The Passion of Christ.

Locals got involved in the two-day street performance to look at what makes a fair society and how their community can strive to achieve it.

Devised by the award-winning Brokentalkers theatre company The Passion Project took place in the Dublin suburbs in the run up to Easter.

 The unique production explores the positives and negatives of modern society in the local area through the lens of housing and homelessness. 

The non-religious community arts event tells the story of a young homeless woman who challenges a property developer intent on taking over some of the area’s most valuable public spaces and amenities for profit, without consultation with the local residents.  

A partnership between Dublin’s Culture Connects, Dublin City Council and Ballyfermot Community Civic Centre, the production involved close to 30 local community and arts groups, as well as schools.

The storyline was developed by Brokentalkers through workshops with these local groups on the themes raised throughout the process. 

Professional actors Donal O’Kelly and Roxanna Nic Liam played the parts of the developer, ‘Mr Temple’, and the homeless woman, known simply as ‘The Messenger’.

They led some 200 local performers, musicians, dancers and singers of all ages through the event.

On Saturday, April 8, day one of the action saw a cast of 70 watch property developer Mr Temple launch his regeneration plans for the area, with live music from the Saint Ultan’s Primary School Orchestra.

Protests by locals included 10 children who gagged themselves in a statement about their future opportunities not being supported by the plans.

Mr Temple gave a tour of his plans, during which his henchmen injured protesters, who were man-handled into trucks, with bloodied faces.

The action then moved to a shanty town where Mr Temple burned down their tents, witnessed in horror by the crowd.

At the Cherry Orchard Equine Centre, the audience saw Mr Temple announce his exciting plans for a racecourse, golf club and members-only stud and thoroughbred stable.

The Kylemore Band played as the crowd lined up to join a protest and procession towards the scene of a house eviction.

Along the parade route, audience members met up to 100 performers from The Academy, Dublin Irish Dancers, Dragon Twirlers, householders and children from various local schools who lined the road to protest with placards.

The C&S Variety Group cheered, The Ballyfermot Folk Group played music, and drummers from local schools were led by a horse and cart.

After the action, Laura Larkin, Project Manager of The Passion Project said: “This is one of the most spirited projects I've ever had the pleasure of work-ing on.

“The community here really cares about the power of positive change. There is an urgency for it and this is displayed so honestly within each scene.”

The final day of action  featured a spoken word performance at Ballyfermot Library by Shaun Dunne on homelessness featuring a ‘Last Supper’ style concert.

 

Twelve young people on horses put on a pony show to contemporary songs of hope and change.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here

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