• Cyril McAree

If Dublin’s Statues Could Talk - What Would They Say?

Visitors to Dublin can now take a call from well-known Dublin statues such as Oscar Wilde and CúChullain as actors Brendan Gleeson, Brenda Fricker and Gabrial Byrne voicestories penned by outstanding authors such as John Banville and Roddy Doyle. This new innovative, city-wide initiative, known as Dublin’s Talking Statues, was launched by Fáilte Ireland and Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Áine Clancy at the GPO – Witness History Visitor Centre, Dublin.

Using drama, humour and technology, Dublin’s Talking Statuesbreathes new life into a selection of Dublin statues and adds another layer to the visitor’s experience of Dublin. This pilot project, which is funded by Fáilte Ireland, commissioned by Art Producers, Sing London, and supported by Dublin City Council, animates ten Dublin statues which are a mix of important historical figures, contemporary art figures and famous Dublin characters.

Launching the initiative, Dublin’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Áine Clancy said:“Talking Statues is great innovation and I look forward to the response of Dubliners and Visitors to this initiative.”

As visitors walk past statues, newly erected plaques will encourage them to use their smartphone to swipe a QR code (or access a weblink). If they do this, they will get a call back from well-known actors such as Ruth Negga, Peter Coonan and Brendan O’Carroll who will recite a specially written monologue giving a voice to the statue in question.

Each monologue is designed to bring the stories of the statues, and of Dublin itself, to life with words written by an assortment of esteemed writers including scriptwriter Rachel Kilfeather, Irish poet and playwright, Paula Meehan and comedic writer Arthur Mathews. Listen to extracts from some of the monologues here.

Speaking about the new initiative, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Dublin, Keelin Fagan explained: “Fáilte Ireland is delighted to have worked with Dublin City Council and Sing London on this unique project which provides an interesting platform for visitors and locals alike to learn about Dublin’s storied past. Through the wonderful voices and words of contemporary writers such as Roddy Doyle, Paula Meehan, John Banville and actors Gabriel Byrne, Brenda Fricker, Brendan Gleeson and Ruth Negga, Dublin’s Talking Statues are being animated in an innovative, engaging and surprising way that serves only to deepenvisitor’s experience while in Dublin.”

The ten statues now animated across Dublin are part of a pilot programme withfurther statues being considered for animation in 2018. The project was developed by Art Producers, Sing London, who were selected following a competitive tender process. They have previously worked on similar projects in London, Manchester, Leeds, Bedford, Chester, Vilnius, Berlin and Chicago. View a video on the London project here and of the Chicago project here.

Dublin’s Talking Statues have been developed by Fáilte Ireland with the assistance of Dublin City Council, who granted approval for use of the statues and our other stakeholders, OPW, Trinity College, The National Gallery, The GPO and The Abbey Theatre. Find out more about the project at www.talkingstatuesdublin.ie.

Commenting on the project Ray Yeats, Dublin City Council, City Arts Officer said:“Talking Statues is a great idea and this pilot scheme, engaging so many of Ireland’s great writers and performers, will give it the opportunity, I hope, to grow and flourish.”

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