A play featuring St. Patrick and St. Brigid from Queen’s Crescent Community Association’s Scribes and Thespians acting and writing group, led by the Irish Theatre’s John Dunne, will be part of this year’s Mayor of London’s St. Patrick’s festival.
The play Saints of London explores the idea of St Patrick and St Brigid visiting modern day London only to be amazed at what they encounter. It will include pre-recorded sketches, songs and monologues. The drama group was started at QCCA two years ago by Mary Pierce, the Older People’s Services coordinator, and John Dunne.
John Dunne told The Irish World: “St. Patrick and St. Brigid find themselves in 2021 London. They have been transported to the present and are bemused by what they see, obviously by Covid and people wearing masks and pointing devices at their foreheads but they’re also amazed how London has changed over the years.
“They think about smoking for example. They’re so used to having smoke in inns and taverns and they go into a pub where there’s no smoke and TV sets. Things baffle them.
“Imagine the two saints having a conversation about who is the real patron saint of Ireland. There’s various issue being aired not in a heavy sense.
“The play is also mixed up with poetry and songs as well. It’s not all straight drama. It’s a mixture of different things. All the work is original from members of the group.
“It will be available on Wednesday and there’s a short extract as part of the London Irish Centre piece on Wednesday at 5pm and the full play is going to be available from the same website.”
Before the lockdown in March 2020, Scribes and Thespians were performing a regular live broadcast monthly for K2K community radio and also doing live performances for sheltered housing schemes and other local community organizations.
This event has been quite challenging for the group as they have had to work from home on zoom on all kinds of devices, and it has been a completely different experience to performing live but it was great for developing their digital skills.
“The whole thing is done through zoom and the group is quite new to all this so they’re learning how to zoom properly and how to bring in backdrops and sound effects. It’s a full blown production and I think everyone is learning a great deal from the experience.
“Not being able to get together is really having an impact. A third of our group haven’t even met yet. They joined the group virtually and we haven’t even seen them. We have seen them on camera but not in person. It will be nice to get back and get into a room and get rehearsing because the plan is to tour the play.”
Once the Covid restrictions have eased, the group hopes to be back rehearsing at the centre and even on the road.
“Once the lockdown is over the plan is to take it on the road to community centres and do it live.
“Hopefully by June/ July time we can then take it on the road and use costumes and props and do a full show.
“Our aim is to grow the group and to develop it. I think people can hopefully see that they don’t need to have a lot of experience. They can come from different backgrounds and different cultures. It’s a fairly wide group. We can an open and inclusive approach.”
Membership is open to anyone (50+) who has an interest in drama, regardless of skills or experience.