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They Come Then, The Birds – Durational Performance

Marking the end of Amanda Coogan’s exhibit in the Gallery at Rua Red, she collaborated with Dublin Theatre of the Deaf. Coogan and assistant/performer Roisin Owens worked on developing sign and movement with the Dublin Theatre of the Deaf performers.

A number of community engagement workshops with the local Tallaght Deaf Club were facilitated. Audiences members engaged with the performances both live in-person and online through a series of scheduled broadcasts.

Coogan created a rich immersive experience with sign and movement. The experimental durational performance was non-verbal with a rich soundscape. The performance marked the final days of ‘They Come Then, The Birds‘.

Amanda Coogan’s exhibition at Rua Red. as part of the Magdalene Series, is inspired by the Wrens of the Curragh, a group of women who lived on the margins of society around the military camp at the Curragh, County Kildare, in the mid-nineteenth century. Outcasts and prostitutes, or ‘camp followers, the women lived and raised their families in ‘nests’ within the furze bushes. The Wrens led a communal existence supporting each other through the sharing of finances, food, and child-rearing duties.

Coogan draws parallels between the figure of Mary Magdalene and the Wrens, both looked upon as social misfits; wayward and unmanageable women who refused to conform to societal rules. The work references the historical representation of Mary Magdalene in painting, tales of the Wrens of the Curragh, Christian and pagan rituals, sign language, the Wren boys, and the eye of providence. She inserts rich, evocative metaphors and engages all of our senses. The acidic yellow of the furze bushes, both on and off-screen provide context, their sweet coconut scent permeating the space alongside the deep organic cello of Mary Barnecutt’s soundtrack.

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