Join Sinéad Burke on a journey through contemporary Ireland with Abbey Theatre’s Dear Ireland

Dear Ireland brings together the voices of 50 writers and 50 actors to create 50 ‘postcards from Ireland’ that reflect life today.

Audiences around the world have been getting a view into contemporary life in Ireland through the Abbey Theatre’s digital theatre experience, Dear Ireland, since it launched on Ireland’s national theatre’s YouTube last April.

Dear Ireland brings together the voices of 50 writers and 50 actors to create 50 ‘postcards from Ireland’ that reflect life today. They will remain available online until 1 November 2020.

To celebrate and highlight Ireland’s unique theatre culture, some of the actors and writers involved the project are sharing insights into their creativity, what Dear Ireland tells the world about Ireland, and what inspires them most about the island of Ireland, with a series of short films.
The first features author, activist and teacher, Sinéad Burke. Click here to view the film.

In the film, Sinéad shares insights into her play, These Four Walls, performed by the Irish actor Eleanor Walsh, and discusses what it was like to write a play for the first time. She also shares insights into her favourite destinations in Ireland, including the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, and the wonders of County Meath, where she lives, including the 5000-year-old Hill of Tara and Newgrange. 

Speaking about her experience being part of the Dear Ireland project, and what it tells the world about Ireland, Sinéad said: “I had written about my experiences being a disabled woman, but never in a theatrical way. And actually, what was incredible about this Dear Ireland project was it gave space for so many people whose stories hadn’t been heard on a national stage.”

 “What makes Ireland interesting, curious, different, important, is it’s people. We have a voice and perspective that is global.”

Discussing her favourite things about Ireland as a destination, Sinéad said: “What I love most about holidays in Ireland is exploring the things that you’ve heard about. There is so much beauty to be found. Even exploring County Meath where I live, I think there are such wonders. And then you go to the Cliffs of Moher and are just so impressed by the reality that they exist at all.”

The film features inspiring imagery from famous landmarks and attractions around the island of Ireland, including the colourful, seaside town of Kinsale in County Cork, the Abbey Theatre and the Long Room, Trinity College Dublin. 

Dublin-born Sinéad Burke is a teacher, writer and advocate who lives in County Meath, Ireland. Sinéad works towards accelerating systemic change within the domains of diversity, education, inclusion, design and disability. She is known worldwide for her humanitarian work and has featured on the cover of some of the world’s most important fashion magazines, including British Vogue and Business of Fashion.

The writers commissioned by the Abbey Theatre to write a monologue for Dear Ireland were inspired by four questions: What do we want to be to one another? What do we want our society to look like? What are we not paying enough attention to? Where do we want to go next?

They include some of the island’s most successful and esteemed wordsmiths and Sinéad Burke was in very good company with a line up including Joseph O’ Connor, Edna O’ Brien and Owen McCafferty. 

The short monologues were performed and self-recorded at home by 50 well-known Irish actors, among them Brendan Gleeson, Denise Gough, Marie Mullen and Derry Girls’ stars Nicola Coughlan and Siobhan McSweeney. Each writer nominated one actor to perform their piece.

To view These Four Walls, performed by Sinéad Burke and performed by Eleanor Walsh, and all 50 Dear Ireland plays, visit the Abbey Theatre’s YouTube channel, here.