Review of “The Ward” by Galway GROW Writers Group

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Following on from the success of 2014, the Galway GROW writers group broadened its horizon for 2015.

Last year the group published a collection of individual writings entitled, “Every Second Monday”. This year it took on a larger group project; writing & producing a dramatic play.

The play, “The Ward”, focussed the theme of experiences within the mental health services. This play took its inspiration from the Chekov Short story, “Ward No.6”. Chekov’s story focussed on experience of the mental health services in Russia at the end of the 19th century. It looked at experiences from the angle of both doctor and patient, and how the interactions can either positively or negatively affect one another.

TheWard

The Galway GROW writers group has a number of members who have had direct experiences of dealing with the mental health services in Ireland. Some have also previously stayed in hospital for treatment with a mental health issue. The gained insight from this life experience is part of the inspiration in the written material.

Scenes in “The Ward” included the dynamics between doctor & nursing staff, doctor & patients, and the relationships between friends, family & patients. The issues were of a serious nature, but that didn’t mean there was no humour in the production. Who could forget Miriam’s blue wig…

It truly was a team effort. The whole production was written, acted & produced by those who contributed to the project. Many participants had never acted or written material before.

It’s a credit to all the actors & writers that many of the audience thought they were experienced dramatic actors. The standing ovation at the end said it all.

Many thanks to the actors Louie, Ronan, Dale, Stan, Michele, Brian, Danny & Joanne. Also to the writers Conor, Frances, Mary, Louie, Joanne & Alan. A big thanks must also go to Rita Ann Higgins, renowned Galway poet, who was again instrumental in offering guidance to our writers group.

The play was performed at the 2015 GROW National Weekend and interestingly, one of the speakers, Brian McNulty, is a member of a drama group behind the “Stories from the Front” production which featured as part of First Fortnight 2015 and which is on in Castlebar, 15th October.