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Date(s) – 30 Sep 2022
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Athy community arts centre


Possession is a new performance
from the collaboration between
the Dublin Theatre of the Deaf
and Amanda Coogan

Possession is a new performance from the collaboration between the Dublin Theatre of
the Deaf and Amanda Coogan. It is based on a script from the deaf artist Teresa Deevy.
This script is a treatment for a ballet based on the story of An Taín. A work of movement,
visuals and sound. This production is a feast for the eyes – working from Coogan’s visual art
practice, Irish Sign Language and the physical dexterity of the Deaf actors of the Dublin
Theatre of the Deaf.
Teresa Deevy (1894 – 1963) was an Irish dramatist and writer who was deaf from the age
of 19. She is one of the loss female voices from the cannon of Irish Theatre. Her work is in
the process of being re-discovered. According to Fintan O’Toole her work ‘raises startlingly
blunt questions about the role of women in Éamon de Valera’s Ireland.’ Possession is an
unpublished script from Teresa Deevy held in the Deevy Archive in NUI Maynooth. This is its
first production.
Our company will bring a very particular reading to this script – we will invest it with a Deaf,
embodied perspective. We will use Irish Sign Language as the key choreographic tool.
On our last Deevy production Dr Una Kealy said ‘Talk Real Fine, Just Like a Lady responds
to the energy within Deevy’s work finding space within the text to parallel contemporary
concerns around equality of opportunity.’ We will invest this un-produced movement work
with Deaf artists, illuminating both the text with a new perspective.
Following Deevy’s themes of people on the margins and women struggling to achieve
self-determination, Possession tells the story of An Taín through Queen Maeve’s experience

We read parallels with the erosion of women’s freedoms after the republic’s
1937 Constitution which echos Deevy’s fall into obscurity. And particular to our company
we read this script through the lived – and untold – experience of our company of Deaf
artists, lead by Lianne Quigley and Alvean Jones. We too speak from a marginalised and
excluded community. One that has protected and retained Irish Sign Language against
an onslaught of oppression. In this performance we celebrate women’s signs.
We read Possession as an anti-war work. We made a performance in development for a
solidarity with Ukraine event in The Abbey Theatre in April 2022.
This performance will feature in a documentary on Teresa Deevy as a Deaf artist for RTE to
be broadcast autumn 2022.

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