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New Diverse Voices Take To The National Stage At Abbey Theatre

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New Diverse Voices Take To The National Stage At Abbey Theatre

This year's edition of 5x5, the Abbey Theatre's community theatre development programme supporting diversity and greater access at Ireland's National Theatre, starts today. This year's group of five projects include a Direct Provision theatre group, a Men's Shed, a group of women from the north inner city, a group of blind and visually impaired people, and a group of LGBT+ Irish speakers.

5x5 is a development series that enables artists and communities to engage with their national theatre for the first time. Each year, five community projects receive five days' worth of space, technical assistance and €5,000 to help in the development of a theatre piece on the Peacock Stage. 5x5 is supported by The Ireland Funds.

Running since 2018, 5x5 has already helped 10 community theatre groups develop new work including Run of the Mill's Making a Mark, a biographical show about Mark Smith, a 38-year-old actor with Down Syndrome. The show premiered at Dublin Fringe Festival 2019, where it won a Special Judges Award. Mark and co-creator Aisling Byrne recently appeared on an episode of The Tommy Tiernan Show.

Caitriona Fottrell, Director Ireland of The Ireland Funds: 'The Ireland Funds is once again proud to support the Abbey Theatre's 5x5 initiative through a Flagship Award investment. We are delighted to see such diversity in the five projects that have been selected and look forward to seeing how their stories develop and come to life on the national stage.'

Jen Coppinger, Head of Producing at the Abbey Theatre: 'We are thrilled to embark on the third iteration of our 5x5 project with thanks again to The Ireland Funds for funding the project for its 2019 and 2020 editions. 5x5 is a truly inspirational project to work on. It has brought new voices to the national stage, wonderful energy to the organisation and has opened up relationships between audiences, the groups involved and the Abbey. We anticipate that an exciting and equally exhilarating programme of work will take place in 2020 and look forward to being energised, moved and inspired at our national theatre.'



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