As the mists of ancient Irish legend would sometimes drift aside to reveal the mysterious Island of Tir-na-nOg, Land of the Ever-Young, where before had been only empty sea, so too the Tir-na-nOg Theatre School appears in view once more, bringing again the magic of Live Theatre to the young and the young-at heart on our very own Emerald Isle.
The Theatre School has served the community of Bowen Island through a continuous arc of time from 1988 to March of 2020, renting various rooms for classes in the first half of its earthly incarnation and building, then disassembling, theatres in every available empty space: meeting halls, barns, in ’94 a big-top tent; then in and out of the A-frame at Camp Bow-Isle for a few successive years; the Legion and a former brewery space in Artisan Square; all the while, through the Tir-na-nOg Theatre School Society, a registered charitable organization, ceaselessly working to secure a permanent, dedicated facility for live theatre by young people.
Those years bore fruit in the construction of the Tir-na-nOg building atop Cates Hill in 2004. There, in addition to a full raft of Theatre Arts courses for children, youth and adults, the Bowen community has enjoyed full-text productions of the time-honoured plays of Wm. Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Bernard Shaw; modern classics by Michael Frayn and John Patrick Shanley; Alistair Beaton’s Fracked!; old favourites by George Kaufman, Edna Ferber and Moss Hart; and more. The Tir-na-nOg auditorium has become a favourite gathering place for fine live music and for theatre productions by other organizations, both domestic and from overseas.
Now, to end an extended enforced sabbatical, it’s all back! And the beat goes on . . .