Over 2015 and 2016 I worked with as part of an international and national artist team working with 35 young people to re-imagine the Open Day of 1914 at St Enda’s School in St Enda’s Park Rathfarnham. St Enda’s was the radical educational experiment founded by Patrick Pearse which he ran from 1908 to 1916. It is now the Pearse Museum.
The project was Tallaght Community Arts contribution to the 1916-2016 Centenary year.
As the project designer, one of my challenges was to recreate costumes for a staging of a dramatic mythical pageant that had formed the centrepiece of the original 1914 Open Day. However all that existed as evidence was one faded photograph of an early pageant and a hand tinted postcard of one costume of Fionn.
I hand dyed fabric and appliqué designs to recreate 15 pageant costumes as well as sourcing goos wing feathers from the US to reimagine the feathered headdresses worn by the mythical heroes.
In addition, I designed and made all the women and girls costumes.
Working with the artist team, the wonderfully supportive staff at the museum and the intelligent and talented young people we were able to return to the spirit of the school and the June afternoon of 1914 and reimagine what it must have been like.
AERIDHEACHT - Taking the Air was a complex site-specific performance that explored the story of the boys and girls involved in Pearse’s education experiment amidst the grander of the house and gardens.
It was fitting that we should be invited to play for President Michael D Higgins and Mrs Higgins on their state visit to the museum.