Holywood Shared Town and Quotidian join forces to commission an ambitious and inspiring film during lockdown
Holywood Shared Town and Quotidian have come together to produce a brand-new performance piece with local artists from different artforms. What started as an idea for a series of performances has, because of the Covid restrictions, resulted in the making of a short film, with the hope of live shows later in the year.
The piece combines literature, dance and filmmaking. It is written by the distinguished multi award-winning author, Myra Zepf (in Irish, with translation). The choreography is by the young emerging artist Clara Kerr who also dances in the piece. Jo Guthrie, an award-winning director and designer, is directing and editing the piece.
It takes a fresh look at how women inhabit their bodies across the span of their lives and is a celebration of the beauty of female resilience, told through spoken word, dance and film.
With a cast of women and girls aged 8 to 80, the film, entitled ‘Entity’, or ‘Spéirbhean’ in Irish, illustrates how women of all ages can rejoice in the lifecycle of their bodies. The film reflects on women’s thoughts and feelings through movement, with a sensitive and joyful look at the inescapable physical and emotional changes that time brings.
It is set to an exquisite musical arrangement by saxophonist and composer Dafydd Williams – a poignant soundtrack that evokes a memorable backdrop for the piece.
‘Entity / Spéirbhean’ was created by a team of collaborators all working within current government guide-lines.
Talking about how the piece came about, Clara commented:
“Myra and I have collaborated before and we had been hatching a plan for another piece that could com-bine our diverse artistic practices in celebration of women. When we were approached by Holywood Shared Town to take on the commission of a new work, we instantly jumped at the chance. Quotidian, one of Northern Ireland’s most innovative literary companies, immediately came on board and the idea was given life. And we have brought another exciting dimension to ‘Entity / Spéirbhean’ with the involvement of our director, Jo Guthrie.”
In writing the spoken word element of the collaboration, Myra explored the duality of women’s inner and outer worlds, something which remains constant throughout their lives. “I wanted to lift the veil” she said, “to look with integrity at our shared experience of vulnerability and to celebrate the beauty of that real, lived narrative. Lockdown, if it has taught us anything, has shown the need for gentleness with ourselves and each other. It has merged our public and private worlds in a way that demands honesty. I’m so glad this film will premiere in the week of International Women’s Day – it can be our contribution to a global conversation about women and resilience.”
“The reality of directing the film during the pandemic was that it posed a real challenge both creatively and logistically, but it has been a great learning experience,” says director, Jo Guthrie. “On the one hand, the strict guidelines we had to follow were inhibiting, but on the other, they made me think hard about how to come up with an innovative approach. As we could only film one person at a time, there was obviously no contact between cast members and our small crew had to observe strict distancing. The previous weeks of rehearsals proved to be so important and the full use of our stunning locations and the imaginative use of light played a vital role. I am very proud to say that thanks to a remarkable collaboration and everyone’s hard work and ingenuity Entity/Spéirbhean is a beautiful film.”
The short eight-minute film is having its premiere in partnership with An Chultúrlann as part of the Irish Language Week Festival on Friday 12th March at 7pm. It is free to view at:
There is also a chance to ‘meet the makers’, put questions to the creative team including its producer Aisling McElroy, the backroom engine behind the film, and hear them chat about how they made it all
happen. You can join this live event the following morning, Saturday 13th March at 11am by using this link: https://culturlann.
Entity | Spéirbhean is commissioned and produced by:
Holywood Shared Town and Quotidian
It is supported by:
The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland through the
Community Arts, Culture & Heritage Fund
Department for Communities, as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge
Ards and North Down Borough Council