“The Arts are a necessity not a luxury item”

An arts festival of new work, “Scene+Heard”, opened last week at Smock Alley Theater in Dublin. The festival  showcases emerging talents in theatre, music, comedy, dance and the spoken word. During the course of three weeks, 86 work-in-progress shows will be presented to audiences.

Each block contains two new shows with varied themes, from GAA and Opera to Tinder and masculinity in 2017.  On Tuesday evening, Block 18, which lasted an hour, began with  “Smashing Barriers”, a piece that – as the name suggests – confronts perceptions of those with physical or mental impairments,presented by a collective comprised of members from disability groups, including “Fighting blindness“. This was followed by “Running+Walking”, a presentation inspired by a year’s exercise in the Phoenix park.

Speaking to the Circular.org, Creative Producer, Caoimhe Connolly explained how this festival differs to others:

“The main difference with the Scene and Heard festival is that it gathers expectations and reviews from all audience members and gives this honest feedback to the musicians, comedians, dancers, actors and directors – which is invaluable to these artists as they develop their work.”

“One positive or negative review can be put down to personal opinion but if say 42 people all say that the story was strong but the cast was weak  for example, then it’s probably time to address that. When they arrive to Smock Alley, audiences members are asked to choose to leave a video in our booth, secret ballot in the voting box, candy polling station, tablet emojis or 4 word twitter reviews. 4 word reviews by text or SMS are also encouraged.”

“Scene and Heard” is developed by Smock Allies, the Arts Outreach branch of Smock Alley Theatre (based on Eden Quay). Connolly, discussing the importance of the arts in Ireland, stated that “where people are marginalized, the arts can help them find their voice, to be empowered, heard and understood. That being said this is not properly reflected in the funding awards from our local Government.  The Arts are a necessity not a luxury item.”

“Scene + Heard” runs until 4th March.

Tickets are available at

In Person: Smock Alley Theatre, 1662 Exchange St Lwr, Temple Bar, D8

Over the Phone: (01) 6770014 | MON – SAT : 10AM – 5.30PM

Online: www.smockalley.com

How To Be Angry. Smock Allies: Scene & Heard Festival. @Smock Alley. 1st & 2nd March. 7pm.