An exploration of our connection to the sea, through the power of personal story, collective song, poetry, and light art
This Bealtaine, on Sunday April 30th and Monday May 1st as part of Galway Theatre Festival 2023, two multidisciplinary ritual beach performances that celebrate our ocean, will take place in Kinvara on Trácht Beach and Ladies Beach in Salthill, Galway City. People are invited to the beaches at dusk where they will be immersed in a performative ritual.
SALT, a collaboration between a community of sea-swimmers based in Kinvara, composer Robbie Blake, poet Mary Madec, and marine scientists, led and directed by theatre-maker Vanessa Earl and produced by Culture Works will celebrate our connection to the sea as a coastal community.
SALT, inspired by the powerful personal stories of local swimmers gathered during the pandemic, is about belonging, authentic connection, healing and empowerment. To belong, to be part of, and to be connected with ourselves, each other and the sea. These themes have informed the creation of a 30-minute site-responsive, outdoor performance.
In this collective positive action of celebration, we will foster an understanding of our common humanity; reconnect to our natural home, and foster conscious living through our love and respect for our ocean. This is Positive Intrinsic Cultural Activism. (PICA)
The long-term ambition for SALT is to perform on beaches at all four cardinal points in Ireland and ultimately, to share the ode and music with community choirs in coastal communities across the world to raise awareness of our intrinsic relationship to the ocean and the vital need to protect it and take positive action in order to do so.
SALT champions the work of FairSeas who are working to fully protect 30% of Ireland’s ocean territory by 2030, thus making Ireland a world leader in marine protection. Galway Bay has been identified as an area of special interest due to its’ high density of bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises and the 65,000 birds who breed here every year.
“It is such an honour to have listened to, gathered and curated these powerful personal stories from sea swimmers and to carry them forward into creating an Ode to honour and celebrate our Ocean. I have learnt so much in the listening but also in the doing. I am struck by the need for and love of the collaborative rehearsal process with the community choir. The stories speak of the need for connection and the act of creating together each week, delivering connection through theatre practice and singing, “ commented Vanessa Earl.
A Community Choir of up to 70 voluntary participants will be singing alongside a performing ensemble cast made up of professional performers Daniel Guinnane, Johanne Webb, and Sophie Hutchinson who will perform with artist and vocalist Ceara Conway. The Salt Community Choir consists of members of the community in Kinvara and its surroundings, most of them sea swimmers themselves. Over an extended period of three months, the choir rehearsed with composer Robbie Blake and Vanessa Earl exploring together soundscapes of the sea and Ode.
Speaking on SALT, Mary Madec remarked, “It is such a privilege to work for this vibrant community. That is how I see my role! And such a joy to collaborate with Vanessa Earl and Robbie Blake on this unique interpretation of our connection to the sea in this place.”
The ode celebrates and honours human experience in this moment (post-pandemic and climate crisis); our intrinsic and vital connection to the sea; acknowledging we are part of something bigger than ourselves. This performance inspires empathy in us, transforms our thinking, changing individual and collective behaviour. What is ‘well-being’ and how can we protect our sea and protect its’ ‘well-being’?
This project is funded by The Arts Council’s Arts Participation Project Award, Creative Ireland, Galway County Arts Office, Galway City Council Arts Office.
SALT champions the work of FairSeas who are working to fully protect 30% of Ireland’s ocean territory by 2030, thus making Ireland a world leader in marine protection. Galway Bay has been identified as an area of special interest due to its’ high density of bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoise and the 65,000 birds who breed here every year.