Drama and Theatre Studies students at NUI Galway launch project this afternoon drawn from the testimonies of survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Homes

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – Drama and Theatre Studies students at NUI Galway have come together to compile a series of scenes drawn from the testimonies of survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Homes that will be broadcast from 2pm today for the duration of the month.

The project, called Nochtaithe or unveiled was made with the support of the Tuam Home Alliance and is part of the Tuam Oral History project, and NUI Galway would like to acknowledge their generosity and courage in sharing their life stories

Nochtaithe was devised, performed and produced by the students, led by Dr Miriam Haughton who collaborated with Dr El Putnam as well as participating in workshops led by ANU Productions to develop skills for working with testimonies and archives in performance.

Unveiled) is an artistic response to the survivor testimonies gathered and archived as part of NUI Galway’s Tuam Oral History Project, but is not a documentary or re-enactment of those testimonies. Instead, staff and students drew from the survivor testimonies as core material to devise a selection of scenes, further contextualised by the various institutional histories in Ireland.

These scenes formed a type of hybrid performance that became filmed rather than playing to a live audience due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nochtaithe features performance, dance and movement, poetry, performance art, installation, music, digital media, audio extracts from survivors of the Tuam institution, interviews with Tuam Oral History Project Personal Investigators, Dr Sarah Anne Buckley and Dr John Cunningham, and NUI Galway archivist Dr Barry Houlihan. The sound design also includes a guest performance by acclaimed poet and novelist Elaine Feeney.

A live performance of ‘Emer’s Dream’ by celebrated Irish musician Colm Mac Con Iomáire became a key feature of the performance, providing a visceral soundscape that captures the tragedy of the history, but also acknowledges the courage of survivors for sharing their most intimate and difficult memories.

Nochtaithe hopes to achieve something similar; facilitating a site of intergenerational dialogue which acknowledges the harrowing experiences of survivors and their families, while also suggesting there is potential for social and cultural transformation through listening to others, through education and by carefully confronting a shared past fractured by trauma.

Nochtaithe will be available to watch online from the 1-31 May on the Bealtaine Festival website.  

It can be watched from 2pm today until the 31 May on this link: Nochtaithe – Tuam Oral History Project – YouTube

And here are more details about today’s panel discussion line up at 2.45pm online: Tuam Oral History Project – Bealtaine Festival