For the Love of Mary’ is a project that began as a humorous observation around the number of Marian grottos found in strange places across Ireland and a fascination with their relationship to the character of the Virgin Mary enshrined within. The project questions her relationship to the women of Ireland both north and south of the border – how does she frame the position of women in our culture? Having actively documented the stories of women told in their domestic settings, often around the kitchen table, ‘For the Love of Mary’ captures these women’s undiluted hidden histories that would otherwise be lost to time. From the project, a series of podcasts were created as a frame for a multimedia exhibition based on poetry written from those conversations. Inspired and coloured by the lived experiences and memories of the women who participated. The initial project was supported by ACNI SIAP award. From this a draft script was written to explore the discourse further.
The script and soundtrack development were supported by Derry City and Strabane District Council Arts and Cultural Practitioners Fund. Mentorship was funded by ACNI through the Irish Writers’ Centre Dublin to work with Jessica Traynor. Visual development and creation with mentorship was supported by University of Atypical Deaf and Disabled Artist Support Fund.
For The Love of Mary is a bilingual autobiographic mapping of a journey to find the Virgin Mary, a figure glorified as the epitome of female identity. It examines her lost humanity, rediscovered through stories shared by women living in Ireland, gathered around the kitchen table, often over a pot of tea.
The performance explores the atrocities committed against women, the institutionalisation of women, the Repeal and Decriminalise movements alongside acts of devotional faith and love. All layered against a backdrop of religious ideology and national identity.
This journey is a reflection on the symbolism of Marian art, and its influence on the societal image of women in her prescribed ideals of courage, endurance, hope, faith and confidante, and examines the parallels of pregnancy, consent, agency, crisis and sexuality. Using monologue, poetry and spoken word and a fusion of English, Hebrew and Gaeilge, this journey is an interwoven expression of womanhood.
You can download the tour information here.