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Clonakilty author's novel set for major stage production

July 28th, 2017 5:40 PM

By Southern Star Team

Author Louise O'Neill, pictured at Dunowen House at Ardfield in Clonakilty. Her novel ‘Asking for It' is to be staged at next year's Cork Midsummer Festival. (Photo: Emma Jervis)

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CLONAKILTY award-winning author Louise O'Neill is to have one of her novels staged by a Cork theatre.

Last week the Arts Council announced over €1m in funding for 11 new innovative arts projects around the country under the Open Call Programme. 

Asking For It will be adapted by Landmark Productions in a co-production with the Everyman Theatre.

It will result in the world premiere of this large-scale, technically ambitious theatre piece which will be directed by Annabelle Comyn who was named ‘Best Director', in the Irish Times Theatre Awards in 2014 and will be adapted by  playwright Meadhbh McHugh

 It will be staged as part of the 2018 Cork Midsummer Festival next June and has been co-commissioned by the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.

The stage adaption, is the brainchild of the Everyman's artistic director Julie Kelleher,

 O'Neill's first novel, Only Ever Yours, which was initially released as a Young Adult novel, was subsequently released in an adult edition. Her second novel, Asking for It, caused a sensation, won the Book of Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2015, and has spent 52 weeks in the Irish top 10 bestseller lists. Bandit are developing a three-part made-for-TV film adaptation of the novel, which is in the early stages of development, and a documentary of the same name – borne out of the novel, and presented by O'Neill – aired on RTÉ television in November 2016. 

O'Neill also writes as a journalist for a variety of Irish national newspapers and magazines, covering feminist issues, fashion and pop culture.

‘Since the novel has been published, I have been overwhelmed by how people have responded,' Louise explained. ‘I receive emails from men and women all over the world who want to share their stories with me. 

‘They tell me that this book has helped them endure. It has made them feel as if they are not alone. They say that this book has, finally, given them a voice.

‘I have been humbled by these emails but it reinforced my belief in the power of art. I believe that art is not just a mirror, showing us our true selves, but it has the ability to shape the way in which we see ourselves, that it has the power to transform the world that we live in. Culture can change culture.

‘I am truly eager to see what sort of change a theatrical adaptation of Asking For It could enact.'

Director Annabelle Comyn said: ‘When I read Asking For It by Louise O'Neill it was like a punch to the stomach. I want my daughter, and her friends, and this next generation to be informed, made aware, and enabled and encouraged to speak openly about an important, complex and tricky and at times deeply divisive subject. 

‘Let it be controversial; let us look at ourselves,' she added.

In association with Fighting Words Cork at Graffiti Theatre Company, Cork Midsummer Festival will deliver a participatory and community programme, working with young people and schools to champion the voices and creativity of 14-19 year olds.

International partners include the Theatre Royal Stratford East in London, and the Irish Arts Center in New York.

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