5×5 is a development series for community theatre projects, running since 2018, that enables these communities to engage with their national theatre for the first time.

Each year, five community projects receive five days’ worth of space, technical assistance and €5,000 to help in the development of a theatre piece.

Follow the journeys of these five projects on #Abbey5x5.

You can read more about our 2019 projects here and our 2018 projects here.

5×5 is an initiative of the Abbey Theatre’s New Work department.

5×5 is supported by The Ireland Funds.

Complex Roots Women’s Drama Group & Veronica Dyas 

10 – 14 February 2020

Complex Roots is a group of women in their fifties who work weekly through drama. The core reasons to make work together are their shared lived experiences as Irish working class women from Dublin, where generational poverty and structural inequality continue to impact our lives today. The group began as the result of an 8-week drama programme created by The Complex and the Abbey Theatre. The group is facilitated by Veronica Dyas, an artist working through theatre, new text and installation.

During their 5×5 week, the group plan to develop a new show, The Last Adult Children of the Good Old Stock. Street Trading, hunger, coins for the meter, sheets of brown paper, tenements, dodgy loans, neighbours from heaven, and the odd one from hell. This is Dublin’s north inner city recounted by the women actually from there. Really now, they’re not pretending. It’s about lived experience, taking the action, telling the truth(s). There’ll be leaps of theatrical magic, a lot of talking and oh yeah, making stew.

Grand Theatre Project & Tina Noonan 

17 – 21 February 2020

The Grand Hotel in Wicklow Town was converted to a direct provision centre a year ago and now houses 100 residents from 28 countries in a town of 10,000. Over the past year, friendships and connections have developed between the two groups of people thanks to local initiatives to welcome the residents to the town, yet the people living in the direct provision centre largely remain their own community within a community; a melting pot of world cultures, religions and languages, nestled into a small rural town.

Tina Noonan is a playwright living in the town who works with community groups and is drawn to stories that struggle to find a platform. Tina has begun to devise a play, The Linen Room, with the residents of the direct provision centre, with the co-operation of the hotel proprietor. During their 5×5 week, Tina and the residents will continue to develop this new play which will help audiences to appreciate what it’s like to live in direct provision, to adapt to life in Ireland, and to learn how to share your home not with family but with strangers who become family.

Aerach.Aiteach.Gaelach. 

24 – 28 Feabhra / February 2020

Cainteoirí Gaeilge agus daoine LADT+ atá sa ghrúpa Aerach.Aiteach.Gaelach, agus an sprioc atá acu ná saol níos fearr a bhaint amach do chainteoirí Gaeilge sa phobal LADT+. Trí chainteanna poiblí, ceardlanna, feachtais ar na meáin agus tograí taighde a thugann siad faoin sprioc sin a bhaint amach. I measc bhaill Aerach.Aiteach.Gaelach, tá Ealaíontóirí físe, filí, déantóirí scannán, taibhléiritheoirí agus daoine acadúla, idir dhaoine a mhaireann in Éirinn agus daoine a mhaireann thar lear. Is beag eolas ag an bpobal i gcoitinne maidir le pobail LADT+ a bhfuil Gaeilge acu, i láthair na huaire nó go stairiúil. Is mian le Aerach.Aiteach.Gaelach a gcuid scéalta agus eolas stairiúil a roinnt, comhoibriú a dhéanamh ar thograí cruthaitheacha, agus a bheith ag “scríobh ar ais”, le stair na gcainteoirí Gaeilge LADT+ a athghabháil.

I rith a seachtaine 5×5, forbróidh siad saothar dátheangach, ildisciplíneach a chuimseoidh idir fhilíocht, drag, dhamsa, amhránaíocht, amharclannaíocht fíoragallamh, fhís, agus mhiotaseolaíocht. Déanfaidh an togra scrúdú ar na cosúlachtaí idir na dúshláin a bhaineann le bheith mar shaoránach LADT+ agus na dúshláin a bhaineann le grúpaí eile in Éirinn. Cíorfar ceisteanna an imeallaithe, an mhionlaithe, na dofheictheachta, agus an scriosta.

Aerach.Aiteach.Gaelach is a group of LGBT+ Irish speakers who aim to improve life for Irish-speaking members of the LGBT+ community via talks and workshops, media campaigns and research projects. Members of Aerach.Aiteach.Gaelach include visual artists, poets, film-makers, performers, academics and activists who live in Ireland and abroad. There is little public knowledge of LGBT+ Irish-speaking communities now or throughout history. Aerach.Aiteach.Gaelach want to share their stories and historical knowledge, to collaborate creatively, and ‘write back’, reclaiming the history of LGBT+ Irish speakers.

During their 5×5 week, they will develop a bilingual, multi-disciplinary piece of work across poetry, drag, dance, singing, verbatim theatre, video and mythology. The project will also examine the similarities between the challenges faced by LGBT+ citizens and other groups in Ireland, exploring marginalisation, minoritisation, invisibility and erasure.

White Cane Audio Theatre 

2 – 6 March 2020

White Cane Audio Theatre is a group of blind and visually impaired people who work collaboratively to devise audio theatre for public performance and broadcast. They gather both blind and sighted people for communal listening events, without need for audio description. The group promotes personal development and social inclusion through active participation in the arts and the cultural life of the city. Public presentations of their work also help to raise awareness of the blind experience.

During their 5×5 week, the group will devise a new immersive audio play, In The Dark, which will explore the practical implications of staging a non-visual play for all audiences, performed by blind and visually impaired people. The group will experiment with ways to help sighted audiences experience life as a blind or visually impaired person.

Dundalk Men’s Shed 

9 – 13 March 2020

Dundalk Men’s Shed, the first of the Louth Community Men’s Sheds, was established in 2011 and offers a safe, friendly and inclusive environment for men to gather together, chat, relax and work on projects at their own pace, in their own time, in the company of other men. Previously, they have made a film, What of It, with An Táin Arts Centre, filmographer Steven Larkin, facilitator Pamela Whitaker, poet Jinx Lennon and graffiti artist Omin. They have also created a song cycle, Everyman, performed by their choir which explores themes of loss, love and what it means to be an older man in Dundalk in 2019, in collaboration with An Táin Arts Centre, director Paul Hayes and musicians Zoe Conway, John McIntyre and Sophie Coyle.

During their 5×5 week, the men will work with director Paul Hayes and writer Colm Maher towards the creation of a new devised theatrical piece. They will continue their exploration into themes of loss, love and what it means to be an older man living in a border town in an ever-changing Ireland.