I started writing this blog in 2012 when I knew I had a series of productions before me, all in different genres, demanding different processes and skills for me, the writer/playwright/dramaturg/co-creator/deviser. I realised that the breadth of the work some theatre practitioners or playwrights are involved in isn’t necessarily discussed, or reflected, and so decided to engage with that issue here. I hope that by reflecting on my own creative processes, and including other practitioners’ points of view, this might be useful not just for me, but also other artists.
You can find information about my productions at http://www.kaiteoreilly.com and a biog, below.
Kaite O’Reilly has won many awards for her work, including the Peggy Ramsay Award for YARD (The Bush, London), M.E.N. best play of the year for Perfect (Contact Theatre), Theatre-Wales Award for peeling (Graeae Theatre company) and the Ted Hughes Award for new works in Poetry for her reworking of Aeschylus’s ‘Persians’ for National Theatre Wales in their inaugural year. She was a finalist in the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2009 for her play about memory and brain injury ‘The Almond and the Seahorse.’ Widely published and produced, she works internationally, with plays translated/produced in eleven countries worldwide.
2016 productions included ‘Cosy’ at Wales Millennium Centre (The Llanarth Group), ‘The Almond and the Seahorse’ in Estonia and Germany, and the Taiwanese production of ‘the 9 Fridas’ in Mandarin transferring to Hong Kong Repertory Theatre.
These plays are collected in her critically acclaimed ‘Atypical Plays for Atypical Actors’, published by Oberon in 2016.
A leading figure in disability arts and culture in the UK, she received two Cultural Olympiad Commissions for ‘In Water I’m Weightless,’ produced by National Theatre Wales/Southbank Centre as part of the official festival celebrating the 2012 London Olympics/Paralympics. She has received bursaries from Literature Wales and recently was awarded a Creative Wales Award from Arts Council Wales for exploratory work into ‘The Performative power of Words with Music’ in 2017. She has recently been announced as the recipient of an Unlimited International Commission, supported by the British Council, to develop ‘The Singapore ‘d’ Monologues’ 2017/18.
In 2003/06 she was AHRC Creative Fellow at Exeter University, developing ‘Alternative dramaturgies Informed by a Deaf and disability Perspective.’ This work has continued as fellow of international research centre ‘Interweaving Performance Cultures’ at Freie Universitat in Berlin (2010-17), where she is reflecting on her practice between hearing culture and Deaf culture, disability culture and ‘mainstream’ culture, with four essays forthcoming in books by Routledge.
She edited FACE ON: Disability Arts in Ireland and Beyond for Arts Disability Ireland and Shelf Life, an anthology of writing by those with reduced life expectancy for National Disability Arts Forum.
She is the patron of Disability Arts Cymru, DaDa (Disability arts Deaf arts) and Agent 160. Dramaturg for The Llanarth Group, she co-creates work internationally with renowned theatre director Phillip Zarrilli.