“I keep home in here, Knock-Knock.”
“In where?” he says.
“In the messy drawer of me soul.”
Hometroots is a radio play by, for and about the people of Laois. Throughout 2014, director Maisie Lee of MIRARI Productions and I were Dunamaise Arts Centre’s Theatre Artists in Residence. Based at Dunamaise in my hometown of Portlaoise, we invited the community to discuss and explore with us ideas of ‘home’ and what it means to us as individuals and as a society. Home was for the community and about the community. We spent the first half of the year meeting with groups and individuals of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds from all over the county, discussing and workshopping ideas of ‘home’.
We were interested in radio as a medium that can expertly reach people in their own homes, regardless of circumstance. To reflect the diversity of homes encountered and explored, the residency culminated in Hometroots, a series of six fictional texts for radio, based on all of the ideas collected throughout the year. Recorded for broadcast at Dunamaise Arts Centre and various locations throughout the county, five of the pieces are performed by a local cast. From storytelling to drama, all six are different in style and tone, but all are connected by this theme of ‘home’.
First recorded for broadcast at Dunamaise Arts Centre and locations throughout Laois, Hometroots was premiered by Midlands 103 FM in a live broadcast from Dunamaise Arts Centre in December 2014. You can listen to the recording on Soundcloud.
Written by Kate Heffernan. Directed by Maisie Lee. Performed by (in order of appearance): Zeta O’Reilly; Timahoe National School (Michael McEvoy, Holly Phelan, Brian Brennan, Aisling Cooney, Jack Shortall, Katelyn Doyle, Eve Smith, Jamie Fennell, Hannah Daly, Niamh McKittrick, Moya Krawczyk, Rebecca Dalmedo, Amber Doyle, Hazel Doyle); Laois Youth Theatre (Sorcha Brennan, Cian Ó Murchú, Alethea Graham); former members of Shake the Speare Theatre Company (Ronan Fingleton, Aoife Dunne, Carole Mooney, Jennifer Buggie); Stradbally PlayHouse Adult Drama Group (Betty Maher, Eilish Dillon, Pauline Shaughnessy, Edel Graham-Byrne, Mary Knowles, Mary Clare Shaughnessy, Liz Fenlon, Noelle Neylon, Mary Whearty); Abbeyleix Active Retirement singers; Portlaoise Active Retirement (Mary O’Shea, Peter O’Shea). With Ian Lloyd Anderson. Made possible by the Arts Council’s Theatre Artist Residency Scheme, Dunamaise Arts Centre and Laois County Council. Photographs by Kate Heffernan.