Elsewhere © Shawn Fitzgerald Ahern i
Elsewhere is a new opera by Irish composer Michael Gallen, bringing together an international team of celebrated and emerging artists, which tells the story of the 1919 Monaghan Asylum Soviet - when the striking staff of a rural Irish Asylum barricaded the gates and declared their independence.
About the Project
Elsewhere is based on a radical 1919 event, when the striking staff of Monaghan Asylum barricaded themselves in and declared a Soviet, integrating the patients into its function. Their moment is in constellation with our own, occurring during the 1918 flu pandemic. Marked by death and hardship, the strikers overcame sectarian divides to demand humane conditions. Dealing with themes of freedom, care and mental illness, Elsewhere explores the imagined future of a forgotten past.
Elsewhere’s events unfold through the visions of Celine, a patient who decades later remains ‘locked in’ to the moment of the Soviet. Through her interactions with the charismatic Inspector of Lunatics, we tread the borders between fantasy and incarceration. Performers play a range of characters from patients and strikers to Marx and Jehovah, shape-shifting between work routines, football games, negotiations and dances. Over time we uncover how Celine’s fate and that of the Soviet are entwined.
Why should you support us?
Elsewhere is a new opera by one of Ireland’s most celebrated young composers, Michael Gallen. Produced by the composer’s own Straymaker company in partnership with the Abbey (National Theatre of Ireland) and leading French contemporary music ensemble Miroirs Etendus, the opera will premiere at the Abbey in November of 2021 and has been shortlisted for the prestigious Fedora Prize for Opera.
We believe that this project’s unique musical language, its groundbreaking multidisciplinary form, and its story so pertinent to our current historical moment, will be of interest to audiences far beyond our corner of the world.
In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the question of how our societies will rebuild will become a most vital one. Elsewhere promotes care as our most radical political act, and advocates for an “other” form of thinking that can only occur on the margins of society.
This work will be highly impactful for its audiences, encouraging them to think and feel in new ways.
Who are we?
Composer & Librettist
Annemarie Ní Churreain
Dylan Coburn Gray
Set & Costume Designer
Vocal Director & Pianist
Opéra de Rouen Normandie
Centre Culturel Irlandais
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