Wicklow Sudbury Promotional Videos

Wicklow Sudbury School is an experiment in Irish education. The first  curriculum ‘free school’ in the country. A school where students spend all day long, pursuing their real interests. The Sudbury Valley model, pioneered in Massachusetts in the late 1960s, puts children in charge of directing their own education. A few years ago I organised some events along these lines in Dublin. Learning and teaching as self directed fun. Those experiences, and my time volunteering at Exchange Dublin – the democratically organised art space in Temple Bar forcibly shut down by Dublin City Council in 2014 – have shown me the power of learning as play. The  importance of genuine ‘third spaces’, where people can explore through play to offer the kind of deep personal enrichment that bureaucratic curricula and educational measures cannot hope to define, let alone measure. These spaces are so rare in our contemporary societies, where every inch is commodified and defined, every intervention tailored, every creative work moulded and marketed to a constructed audience, that they can seem fantastical. They are spaces that literally remind us what it means to be human. Connection, creativity, love in action.

Last year I made a radio documentary, following a year in the life of the school – exploring in a small way the opportunities for more libertine forms of education in Ireland in general. This year, as I moved out of radio and into video production, I offered to head back to the school, to help with their crowd funding campaign. I spent a day at Wicklow Sudbury, shooting interviews and capturing the decidedly unconventional educational environment. I combined short interviews with three staff and five students with footage of the learning through play that makes this place unique. The end results are a ten minute mini-documentary and a two minute promotional video. Unlike the documentary this campaign is decidedly partisan. I’ve worked as hard as I can to convey the enthusiasm of staff and students for this new kind of education. 

Hopefully these videos capture a little about what makes this school so different. This really is a place where kids can be themselves. A place to develop the kind of diverse talents that our rigid bureaucratic education system cannot accept, let alone promote. These kids are passionate, creative, and above all independently minded. They give me hope for a future less rigid, heartless and polarised than the present. This is the kind of place that any misunderstood, creative kid might have imagined into existence. It’s the sort of place that makes having kids worth considering. It’s that revolutionary. If you’re interested in learning more, Wicklow Sudbury staff frequently offer talks about setting up your own community school, and you can find information about these, and if you’d like donate towards the school (which naturally receives no government funding), at their website

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Pardon Me – Shy Mascot (Music Video)

There’s a long tradition of puppet music videos, from Gabriel Byrne’s cameo in the Rubber Bandits’ ‘Fellas’, to Ed Sheeran’s muppet of muppet. But as far as we know this is the first time someone’s remade ‘Smack My Bitch’ up with marionettes. Inspired by the tough guy lyrics of Shy Mascot’s new track ‘Pardon Me’, we imaged a puppet on an odyssey through Dublin, leaving a trail of mayhem and broken hearts behind him. An off the wall idea turned into six months of preproduction, as special effects guru Frances Galligan created uncanny wood and plaster replicas of Shy Mascot’s Jamel Franklin and Fia Gregg. We shot these diminutive rebels everywhere from sex shops to jewellery stores, Dublin buses to cat sanctuaries.
A tiny crew headed up by writer / director Gareth Stack and DOP Siobhan Madden combined storyboarded action sequences with improvised guerrilla shooting. Whenever a location lent itself to leprechaun scale hijinks we found a way to take advantage. Volunteer performers mixed with season pros to seduce and battle lil’ Jamel’s bad ass homunculus. Probably the most ambitious scene features a bloody dustup between Dublin based performance poet Raven (playing a cassocked street preacher) and Jamel’s balsa wood hard nut. We shot in the crumbling remains of O’Devaney gardens while dozens of local kids milled around and cars pulled donuts between abandoned tower blocks. We fought everything from tangled strings to reluctant sex shop proprietors to get this video made. Our action packed finale even had to be reshot when a memory cannibalised itself This happened after we’d snapped off one of lil’ Jamel’s feet and broken his back flinging him through the air first time around! Fortunately, after a short operation this little legend soldiered on.
Our favourite scene features a date between marionette Jamel and our moonlighting DOP Siobhan, shot in Dublin’s only barcade ‘Token’. To sex up this smokey seduction, we used the golden-age Hollywood technique of stretching cotton stockings over the lens for a poor mans glamour filter. All in all, the shoot took nine days, and the edit another three weeks. But the memories – bench pressing Ireland’s largest sex aid, laying half naked on the floor of the Glimmerman’s ladies while a marionette vomited, fighting allergies to give a puppet a chance to visit a cat sanctuary were absolutely worth it!
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The Bee Loud Cabaret comes to Lyric FM

The first episode of ‘The Bee Loud Glade Cabaret‘, a new poetry programme created by Roger Gregg and executive produced by Dead Medium Productions just aired on RTE Lyric’s Nova. You can hear the show for the next five weeks on Nova (Sunday’s at 8PM), then for the following seven weeks on Evelyn Grant’s Weekend Drive (Saturdays at 4PM).

The Bee Loud Glade Cabaret is a series of twelve bite-size programmes bringing the best of the contemporary Irish spoken word scene to radio. Each episode showcases one beautifully produced spoken word performance, and one ‘backstage’ interview with emerging & established Irish poets. The series represents an exciting new approach to poetry on radio, mixing studio performance, music and soundscapes to recreate the excitement of the live poetry scene.

Featured poets include Gerry Murphy, Grace Wells, Pat Boran, Mary O’Donoghue, John Moynes, Leland Bardwell, Caelainn Bradley, Stephen Clare, Genevieve Healy, Patrick Chapman, and Eleanor Hooker.

Performers include Ethan Dillon, Deirdre Molloy, James O’Connor,  Angel Hannigan, John Moynes, Amilia Clarke Stewart, Juliette Crosbie, Suzie Seweify, and Olivia Haran.

Special thanks to Eoin O’Kelly at Lyric for commissioning the series.

Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, with the television licence fee.

BAI CREDIT

Mic Drop in the Scene & Heard Festival – Tickets available now!

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Dear Friends, I hold in my hands the booklet for the ‘Scene & Heard’ festival 2017. Featuring my newest play ‘Mic Drop‘. I cannot explain what a huge deal it is for me to be featured alongside the incredibly talented people putting together shows for this festival. This is only my second play, and I already feel like I’m in love with writing for theatre, the horrible sweaty tension of watching the audience watch your play, the unpaid hours, the hair loss. Wait no, maybe its awful. But anyway the play is really good, and Adam Tyrell is brilliant in it, and it’s only 12 euro (10 euro concessions) so you should all see it. Otherwise the MAIN FUCKING SPACE in SMOCK FUCKING ALLEY will look hella empty. Please come, I love you. February 24th, 25th and 26th.

Tickets here! – https://smockalley.ticketsolve.com/#/shows/873569415

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Perry Pardo is an entrepreneur – wealthy, successful, envied. Perry came from the streets, like Dre. Join him as he shows you how to succeed. How to get what you want. How to crush your opposition. How to scream for help.

Written & Directed by Gareth Stack.
Starring Adam Tyrell.
Produced by Joe O’Neill / Little Shadow Theatre Company.

Talking Podcasts on the Dave Fanning Show

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I appeared on the Dave Fanning show this morning, talking about podcasting. I was fierce wrecked from insomnia, but hopefully relatively coherent.

Listen here

Check out the cliffnotes…

What is a podcast?

Any radio or TV series that can be subscribed to and downloaded online.

Almost all are free. Usually updated weekly.
Cover every topic – from sports and films, to the most obscure odd stuff – e.g.: Creature Geek – a podcast for people who like special effects monsters.
Include radio programmes from all around the world, and internet only programmes – some of which are incredibly high quality.
Listen whenever you want. Pause, skip back and forward. Keep it forever, or delete it after you listen.

What do you need to get one

Easiest way is directly through your phone, stream or download from a podcast app.
On android the best one is ‘Pocket Casts’ (also available for iphone).
iPhone comes with it’s own programme, another good one is Overcast.

How to listen…

Search for the podcast name. Hit subscribe.
Now each new episode will be available to listen. Can either download or stream over your home wifi or 4G (if you’ve got a good data plan).

There are podcasts available for literally every interest.

Types of Podcasts

1) Narrative Journalism (storytelling about the real world)

This American Life

Revisionist History – from Malcolm Gladwell

99% Invisible – from Radiotopia

Reply All – a show about the internet

2) Comedy

WTF – with Marc Maron

Chappo Trap House

3) True Crime

Stranglers

Sword and Scale

4) Science & History

Radiolab

Hardcore History

The Secret History of Hollywood

History on Fire

5) Politics

War College – from Reuters News

Trumpcast

6) Irish Podcasts

Dave Fanning Show podcast – clips of the show
RTE Lyric – Culture File
RTE One – Doc on one
Newstalk Documentaries
Headstuff network – Alison Spittle Show

How to find new podcasts you might like

Podcast networks are like TV channels that offer lots of podcasts of a certain style
You can find them in your podcast app or on the web
E.g.: Headstuff (local), Smodcast (Kevin Smith’s shows), Radiotopia (high quality narrative journalism)

How to make your own

Not too difficult!
Lots of guides online
Record on your phone or computer and pay about 20 euro a month to put online with a podcast host like Libsyn