PROJECT: What Foremothers? – Anam Theatre

In 1992, Irish poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill asked this question in response to the suggestion that female Irish poets have “a long healthy chain of foremothers” available to them. She could well have been forgiven for doing so, as the project of nation-building in the early days of the Irish State played a huge role in the construction of a male-dominated literary canon, and it is only in recent years that the erasure and cultural depreciation of female voices has begun to be redressed. A whole segment of poetic lineage that our culture could be drawing on has been wiped out.

This ensemble performance deals with a group of female poets writing in the early decades of the Irish State and dramatises their body of work and the context it emerged from. It gives voice to experiences that have long been stifled, and questions what a canon is – a pantheon of literary treasures judged solely by artistic merit, or a sustained political project which dissolves what does not serve it into dark matter as an idea of a nation marches relentless forward? What has been lost and why?

Dates and Location





About the Artist(s)

Performed by: Megan Vine (Blanaid Salkeld), Sarah-Jane Scott (Temple Lane), Sarah Healy (Mary Devenport O’Neill), Yvette Picque (Sheila Wingfield), Deirdre Bhreatnach (Freda Laughton), Leticia Diaz (Rhoda Coghill)

Directed by: Sarah O’Toole

An Anam Theatre production.

Anam Theatre is a Galway-based theatre company which was founded in 2009. We are lovers of great writing and have staged classic-style plays such as The Yalta Game and our own highly physical adaption of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin as well as modern classics such as Patrick Marber’s Closer.

We are huge fans of the Michael Chekhov technique and are also very interested in work which explores the dynamic between actors and audience and have innovated our own interactive and uproariously entertaining poetry performance event called the “Literary Restaurant” which we have performed at Cúirt Literary Festival and Galway Theatre Festival.

Our production of Clare McIntyre’s Low Level Panic really struck a chord with its audience at the 2013 Galway Theatre Festival, with its courageous and comic exploration of contemporary feminist issues. It had a highly successful national tour in the Summer of 2014.

Anam most recently premiered an original work, Outpost at the inaugral Inish Festival on the island of Inishbofin at the end of May 2015, and are currently in preparation to stage What Foremothers?

Further and Contact Information

087 237 3531


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