As I’m sure you can tell from the fantastic title of this post, it’s Oli back at it again to provide you with an update on what we’ve been getting up to. And boy has it been an exciting few days.
Killorglin is a medium-sized town on the Ring of Kerry – for those who don’t know, the Ring of Kerry is a tourist route around the county of Kerry that takes you through dramatic mountains and one of Ireland’s first ever national parks. The lush green landscapes are dotted with rivers and lakes, and when you get down here, it’s pretty clear why Ireland is referred to as the Emerald Isle.
Catherine, Catherine, Catherine, Catherine (read to the tune of Dolly Parton’s Joleen).
We forsook our standard camp-site in Killorglin in favour of a totally new experience. An Airbnb. We looked around online for something cheap, and then eventually got in touch with Catherine asking how she’d feel about having 6 smelly students park their van on her drive, use her showers, and generally cause a nuisance for 3 nights.
Honestly, who could turn that offer down.
Staying with Catherine was like going home for the weekend – she provided food and snacks, great conversation, and even insisted on doing some laundry for us. Although honestly, I think that may have been more for her benefit than ours. As I’ve said, we’re getting pretty smelly at the moment. If you find yourself in Killorglin, do yourself a favour and stay with Catherine – I can guarantee you won’t find anywhere better, let alone for just €40 euros a night.
We split in to teams to do our standard rounds of the local shops and houses, dropping off flyers and posters, but this time there was a bit of a twist. I wanted to expand the work that we’ve been doing so far in terms of getting used to and harnessing our performance spaces by exploring how the places that we’re performing – the towns and villages as a whole – can impact on the work that we do. So we infused a kind of scavenger hunt in to this flyering shift that had us looking out for some of the most beautiful things the town had to offer, and learning all about what kind of place Killorglin is.
And let me tell you, we discovered quite quickly that it is just awesome.
Stunning scenery just outside of streets, Killorglin has the personality and vibrancy of a town three times its size, while still maintaining that rural intimacy. Everywhere you turn there is something beautiful to look at, and a friendly face to greet you. Hanna and I took the outskirts of the town, and were met with a winding river and rolling hills, while Adam and Rowan caught up with the fantastic street art all across town. When we met up in one of the local pubs, we chatted about what we saw, and we universally agreed that Killorglin was a lot of things – friendly, natural, welcoming – but most of all, it was a beautiful town. We were universally excited for the next few shows.
Puck, meet Puck
Killorglin is famous for the Puck Fair, a massive event that occurs on the 10th, 11th and 12th of August every year and draw up to 80,000 people to this otherwise unassuming town. Every year, a mountain goat is caught, and crowned the King Puck – he reigns over the fair, until he is a released back in to the wild on the 12th, in a ceremony known as ‘The Scattering.’
But that’s not the only big deal in Killorglin – the first weekend in June also plays host to K-Fest, one of the biggest festivals of art, music, and drama across Ireland. You see, we soon discovered that travelling attractions are sewn in to the fabric this town, so our event kind of slotted right in.
Of course, shout out to the fabulous Catherine, as well as Conor Browne, out contact over a K-Fest. Between them, we were able to garner a lot of interest in the project just through social media, with K-Fest building the hype, and various other local organisations soon jumped on the band-wagon. This was a big learning point for us – we had our biggest audiences so far in Killorglin. In part, I think that’s because of the nature of the town, but the social media coverage and support from local organisations definitely helped. That’s an avenue that we’re going to be pursuing with more vigour over the rest of the tour.
I was pretty nervous for this performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Aside from having our largest audience so far, a statue of King Puck stands just across the river from our performance space, guarding the entrance to the town, and welcoming everyone in. And as our resident Puck, I was feeling the pressure – Puck is know to be a mischievous spirit, and we definitely didn’t want to get on the wrong side of him. But then, he’s also known to be curious, energetic, and powerful, and I think he was pretty keen to see what we had to offer. In the end, the show went fantastically. So fantastically, in fact, that some of the folk from K-fest offered to buy us a round after the show finished.
Frankly, it would have been rude for us not to accept, so we joined them on a night out, and got to see even more of what Killorglin had to offer.
All press is good press
I’m not going to go in to this too much. Because you’ll get bored. But we spent a lot of this day working on our press releases for the Edinburgh Fringe and compiling lists of reviewers that we wanted to get in touch with. It was busy, it was hard, and it was tiring, but in the end everyone pulled together and put in a truly fantastic shift to make sure we got it done. We’re starting to send out our releases this week. Which is very exciting.
We arrived at our performance space ready for our last show in Killorglin, and were treated to our best audience so far. Tired and happy, we took the tent down, headed home, and made dinner before getting an early night.
We had to hop off early as Catherine was greeting some more guests in her house that morning. Of course, we couldn’t have left without a photo, so we dragged her outside as a way of saying thank you for her hospitality, and then headed off to our next stop, Kenmare.
We drove past the statue of King Puck on the way out of town. I don’t know, I think he was smiling at us. I may sound stupid, but I really do think that the spirit of Puck is imbued in Killorglin. Cheeky, energetic, vibrant, fun, and a little mischievous – the kind of place where touring theatre in a tent could go down a treat. And the kind of place where, if you flatter King Puck in the right way – bring him to life and give him a few songs to sing – then you can be damn sure that the whole town will be on your side. As if by magic.
Our drive to Kenmare took us through the Killarney national park. I’ll let Grace tell you about that when she writes next.
Spoilers, it was stunning.