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A Midnight Court Sitting

Maeve Collins

A Midnight Court Sitting is a participatory performance event devised and directed by Maeve Collins. It takes as it’s starting point the poem, Cuirt An Mheanoíche written by Brian Merriman in the 18th century.

This contemporary event engages with the poems lack of regard for stereotypes, it’s bawdy yet non-offensive humour and it’s affirmation of the rights of women to wholesome sex. Issues that arise in this contemporary event include: Where are the good men, gender relations and the state of the country. A Midnight Court Sitting uses the convention of an alternative court room to open up an earthy conversation around these issues with the public.

The intention for 2016 is to hold A Midnight Court Sitting that sets up/stages and juxtaposes the dialogue between male and female in relation to power and gender as expressed in Cúirt an Mhean Oíche / The Midnight Court poem and in the proclamation. It will summons the citizens of the county to participate in this democratic art process.

Each work will take the form of a multi-disciplinary socially engaged event that combines performative action, laughter, conversation, song, language and audience participation to explore Ireland’s position as feminine principal, taken from Poblacht na hÉireann. Ireland, the woman, will take the guise of Brian Merriman’s Giant Hag as Queen Aoibheal, in the Aisling poem Cúirt an Mhean Oíche.

Through a reworking of this poem a conversation will be constructed as an enquiry with participants on gender relations and the state of the country. Ending with a proclamation by Queen Aoibheal this epic and visionary poem, written in 1780 has much to offer in a lively conversation on culture, women and proclamation within contemporary Irish society.

Valentines Edition – Maeve Collins – “A Midnight Court Sitting” – multidisciplinary socially engaged, live  event that combines performative action, laughter, conversation, song, language and audience participation.

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