An online rehearsal for Margaret Bannon, Tony Mc Mahon, Angela Mc Crosson and Declan Gorman, Sara Mc Cauley, Michele Nic Bhloscaidh, Jim Mc Quaid and Fiona Lynch, Fiona Coll, Mary Brigid Duffy, Seamus Smith and Elaine Mc Quaid

Aisteoirí Muinchille to tread the digital boards

Last weekend Aisteoirí Muinchille staged the inaugural production of their latest offering - The Pilgrims of Slieve, however 2021 being 2021 it's only available for public consumption today (Friday).

Last November the group hosted a Zoom workshops facilitated by Declan Gorman, and the fruits of this toil are on display this weekend, but not in the traditional manner.

The seed of the idea has flourished in the last four months: “We started at the end of November. First workshops, improvisations, drama games then writing exercise. We developed characters, settings, situations then found ways to link the characters in this fictional town. Declan is an actor and author a director and a writer and he took what we gave him and fine tuned it until we have this day in the life of the town of Slieve.”

“We will be recording all weekend,” Fiona Coll, PRO of Aisteoirí Muinchille told the Celt. “It's very different to a normal weekend of dress rehearsal, but we have the same nerves and jitters. It's very different to what we usually do.”

The usual hubbub around running lines while fitting costumes, finding the spot on stage where the actors are perfectly lit or becoming comfortable with each other's cues is absent, but there is a different energy as the online version of staging a play is wrought into shape.

“Some of the people haven't met in real life, other actors have worked together. We have to find ways of establishing the chemistry between characters in what is a brand new form,” Fiona says as the online work comes together.

Level five restriction means that everything has been done remotely up to this. “We don't have sets or costumes this time. We have green screens, black tee shirts, visual backgrounds and sound effects,” the PRO offers.

The stage has been replaced with sitting rooms, kitchens and playrooms. One cast member is using the perfect lighting provided in their wardrobes as their stage: “Other than that it's the same build up to a play that we would normally have. Except perhaps making sure the kids are settled and they don't make an appearance in the play!”

It's a tale of modern Ireland: “Slieve could be any village or town in the county. The story touches on addiction, relationships, marriage breakdown, bereavement, emigration, romance, hobbies, the list goes on.”

“We have had a number of people who live abroad who would not normally be able to see our plays buy tickets. It will give them a little taste of home,” Fiona concludes.

Described as “heart-warming, hilarious and moving” The Pilgrims of Slieve sees 11 actors take on 33 characters as they present a day in the life of the town.

The play will be available on demand from this evening (Friday), March 26 at 8pm until Friday, April 2 at 11pm. Tickets from Eventbrite at: