The Meeting House has an old heart that has kept the beat for nearly 150 years. Now it’s time to sing! Memories of the past call out to us. Echoes, strung and played in a unique and intimate performance.
A Secrets Of Offaly Public Art Project Commissioned by Offaly County Council.
Meeting House is an ambitious collaborative project combining sound art, choral composition and drama – between Rory Grubb (Sound), Tom Lane (Composition) and Maeve Stone (Director) – and is a response to the legacy of Robert Goodbody and the Quaker community that established much of the industry in Clara in the 1800s. It was performed by members of the Clara Musical Society on the 27th and 28th of November, 2015.
SOUND: Created by Rory Grubb, the instrument / sound installation uses 3.2 kilometres of twine – strung and tuned throughout the main hall. The strings form multiple harps that stretch from floor to ceiling. There are five hardwood ‘floating bridges’ throughout the room which – suspended by the the strings – collect vibrations from the harps and allow amplification. See Image Gallery. The twines used are jute and rayon, in response to the industrial heritage of Clara. Jute, a fibre made from the stems of a tropical Old World plant, is a fully natural material – it’s sound is coarse and earthy. Rayon twine (aka butcher’s twine) is more modern, and is semi-synthetic. It’s higher break point holds more tension, allowing higher pitched notes. The public are invited to move through the room, touch the strings and to explore what sounds come out.
Rory Grubb, Tom Lane and Maeve Stone are a loose collective who have worked together regularly since 2014. In January and April of 2014 Maeve and Tom worked on development of The Red Room, an adaptation of The Strinberg novel presented at The Peacock Theatre. In August all three collaborated with celebrated Australian company Chamber Made Opera on a site-specific commission by Limerick City of Culture called Wake. The piece was shown as an interactive installation as part of #IntimatelyEpic in Melbourne November 2015. In October 2014 Tom and Maeve were commissioned by the Bram Stoker Festival to make Underground Gothic on a moving train. In November 2014 Maeve and Rory were supported by the pulse legacy programme to develop Limbo in response to the Direct Provision system in Ireland.
In early 2015 the group were commissioned by Offaly County Council to create Meeting House as part of the Secrets of Offaly Programme.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
GRUBB // LANE // STONE
Rory Grubb is an experimental musician who builds his own instruments. In this project he has designed and constructed the large-scale instrument/sound installation, in an attempt to transform the Meeting House into a playable building. Grubb has produced 3 albums: Joining The Dots (2005), Sketches From The Big Sleep (2009) and this year his third full-length album Water House is scheduled for release. He has toured his music extensively in Ireland, Canada, the UK and Spain. He is currently touring Ireland with his custom-built ‘Electric Ceramophone’ – a unique instrument made solely from tuned clay pots.
Tom Lane, an award-winning sound designer and composer with a specialism in site-specific performance and installation. He studied composition at Balliol College Oxford, the London Royal Academy of Music and the Berlin University of Arts and is currently a PhD candidate in Composition for Theatre at University College Cork. In September 2014 his piece “Harp, A River Cantata” transformed the Samuel Beckett Bridge into a giant harp using over 150 performers. Most recently his score for “Oedipus” premiered at the Abbey Theatre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. In July 2014 he collaborated with Maeve Stone, Rory Grubb and the Australian company Chamber Made Opera to create “WAKE”, an intimate chamber opera performance in a domestic house commissioned by of Limerick City of Culture.
Maeve Stone, originally from Limerick, graduated from Trinity College Dublin with an honours degree in English and Theatre. She founded and ran Spilt Gin Theatre Company with playwright James Hickson from 2009 – 2011. She left to take a position as resident assistant director at The Abbey Theatre. Following this she became associate director with Pan Pan Theatre working and touring internationally with the company. She is a literary reader for the Abbey and has a keen interest in dramatic adaptation of text. Maeve has created a narrative that leads the audience on a journey through an installation of playable, interactive jute, and a central performance that takes its cues from the structure of Quaker meetings.
Commission by Offaly County Council to create a site-specific work in The Society of Friends Meeting House in Clara, Co. Offaly.
This commission is a collaboration between myself, Composer Tom Lane, Sound Artist Rory Grubb and the Clara Musical Society in November 2015.