News & Essays

Gorman among the Round-Up at Flat Lake

In a rather rare public appearance these days (since I have little enough to shout about…) I will be reading from my new prose work in the legendary Butty Barn at the Flat Lake Festival this coming Saturday 4th June.  Fittingly at this rustic cowboy poetry rodeo, I will appear at High Noon, sharing the 12.00 – 13.00hrs slot with the renowned Rosita Sweetman (On our Knees; Fathers Come First and On our Backs).

Rosita Sweetman

Inimitable curator Pat McCabe has declared the Flat Lake to be a place where artists should be free to try out new and unfamiliar material and among those who have done so in the past are Jack L whose innovative Paul Robeson review was a revelation last year.  Where better then for a North Monaghan play writer to read from a storybook about Dublin?

For a gander at the bulging programme of events, visit the Flat Lake website. A weekend ticket including pitching rights for your wigman is only 75 euro if you book online.  If you get up late on Saturday, you may bring your Breakfast Butty into the barn with you.

Fun with MuPaPu

Children and adults from the Muirhevnamor estate in Dundalk entertained a packed house of local residents, peaceniks, local authority officials and sundry guests at the local sports complex with their marvellous Muirhevnamonster shadow puppet performance on Saturday 14th May.

Under the guidance of MuPaPu artists Vivienne Byrne, Mark Whelehan, Dearbhla McNally and Susan Farrelly, the 20 particpants created a fabulous parallel world inhabited by such colourful characters as Henrietta Monster who fears nothing… except the sludge at the bottom of the river; Fuddle Buddle who keeps getting caught in a bubblegum spider net and the boy-monster racers Hypnoshock, Robobrainwave and Bonemobile.  A screening of James Coogan’s video documentary of the event was shown at Dundalk County Museum last Thurssday 26th and at the International Puppet Festival at Ards on May 28th.  A monstrous, meteoric rise to fame if there ever was one!

Cool improvised soundtrack was provided by Ed Reynolds; I was privilged to be ‘guest storyteller’ and in a rare moment of reconciliation between warring regions, technical management was by that most peaceable of Drogheda-men John McGovern.  The EU’s Peace III programme funded the project which was produced by the renowned crafters of fine things in the North East, Louth Craftmark.

Border Chronicles Trilogy Online

The texts of my Border Chronicles 1997 – 2007 trilogy are to be made available online from late July 2011 through the PLAYOGRAPHYIreland website.   The trilogy comprises Hades (premiered 1998); Epic (2001) and At Peace (2007).  Drawing from mythologies of Greece, Ireland, West Africa and the Baltic region, each of these plays was devised, written, and set within the year in which it was premiered.  As such, these dramas were an attempt to present a contemporaneous, live  chronicle of borderlands life as the major political events of a decade unfolded, while at the same time avoiding didactic realism by drawing from the surreal anarchy of ancient shapeshifting myth and lore.

PLAYOGRAPHYIreland comprises two comprehensive online searchable databases and catalogues: Irish Playography (all new Irish plays produced in English since the formation of the National Theatre in 1904) and Playography na Gaeilge (all new Irish plays produced in Irish since 1975).

PLAYOGRAPHYIreland not only defines the Irish theatrical repertoire for the first time but also aims to revitalise that repertoire by reintroducing many lost scripts and providing a gateway for locating and clearing rights for all existing scripts. As PLAYOGRAPHYIreland allows writers to attach downloadable versions of their plays to the database, it is also acts as an online script repository.

The texts of The Border Chronicles have not previously been published or available to a general readership.  From August 2011, they will be downloadable separately (or you can get them all!)  for a wee fee, along with a new reflective Afterword which I added on this year.  In the meantime, sample extracts can be read on this website and anyone wishing to read more can contact me at