17 August 2020

ÉRAINNE: A New Musical Kickstarter

Following Arts Council Northern Ireland’s recently-published guidelines for reopening the arts, Matthew Quinn and Emily Oulton are delighted to announce a socially distanced workshop of their new musical ÉRAINNE

Matthew and Emily will work with fifteen professional actors and a cross-community youth group of students at JH Academy of Theatre Arts, Belfast on the 22nd-29th August 2020. The workshop will offer them the currently somewhat miraculous opportunity of working on the script and score in person with a real-life acting company (not on Zoom!).

In order to make this project happen, the team are running a Crowdfunding page on Kickstarter. They need to raise £2500 to make the workshop possible. Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform and the team are under £500 away from reaching their target. 

Working almost one hundred years on from the musical’s setting in 1921, with a group of Northern Irish actors including Jolene O’Hara (Kiss Me, Kate at Lyric Theatre Belfast and My Mother and Other Strangers on BBC One) and Charlie McCullagh (Dr. Zhivago at Cadogan Hall and The Divide at Edinburgh International Festival) as the leading duo, the musical will be brought to life in person for the first time alongside a socially-distanced 10-piece band. Emily and Matthew will work with the actors throughout the week to develop the script and the score in this fundamental stage of the musical’s process.


ÉRAINNE follows the story of displaced twin brother and sister Sean and Érainne and their different journeys through the Irish War of Independence in a country on the brink of partition. It has the structure of a memory play, told from the perspective of a passenger on a ship in the future and the score fuses Irish folk with classical and theatrical musical influences. It charts the epic journey of Sean and Érainne, who are forced to flee their home by the political turmoil engulfing the island of Ireland during the early 20th Century and seek a better life for themselves - in Ireland and elsewhere. Based on a true family story of Matthew's and with an original score, it explores themes of love, loss, sacrifice and forgiveness in a heartwarming and tragic tale about how far one will go for family, love, and one’s country. The score fuses Irish folk music with classical and musical theatre influences, orchestrated by Manchester-based composer and conductor Charlie Perry. 

This musical is above all, a nonpartisan affirmation of the power of family, love, reconciliation, and the human spirit. Although set in a politically tumultuous and divisive time it does not seek to judge, choose sides, or sow seeds of division. It merely has a human story to tell at the centre of a period in which the island of Ireland would be irrevocably changed forever.

ÉRAINNE was longlisted for the BEAM 2020 Showcase, read by the Leicester Curve Theatre’s West Side Story cast and selected for The GradFest and Grey Area Theatre’s Zoom reading series of new musicals ‘The Zoom Where it Happens’. Throughout lockdown, the ÉRAINNE team released remotely recorded demos on social media and YouTube.

You can follow the show across Social Media:

Instagram: @erainnemusical

Twitter: @erainnemusical

Facebook: Érainne: A New Musical

Please support the Kickstarter page and this exciting new project! 

I wish Matthew and Emily every success with Érainne.

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