Causeway Chronicle



on 15th-25th February at NI SCIENCE FESTIVAL 2024

Northern Ireland’s critically acclaimed Big Telly Theatre Company,are delighted to premier their new showIn partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, The National Centre of Social Research and the Centre for Cultural Value

Taking place in a domestic house in the style of an Irish wake, Granny Jackson’s Dead promises to be the session to end all sessions – after all, that’s what Granny would have wanted.

Location: 47 Malone Road, Belfast, BT9 6RY

Pioneers of immersive, site-specific theatre production, Big Telly Theatre Company tackle tech and tradition in this beautifully bonkers ode to an Irish Wake. Skillfully created and directed by Big Telly’s artistic director Zoe Seaton, a recipient of The Stage 100 and the Theatre Innovation award at the Origin First Irish Festival in New York. The company will also collaborate with a talented writing team – Owen Booth, renowned for his work on Big Telly’s Off Broadway sensation, “Frankenstein’s Monster,” and honoured with The Moth Prize, Bernie McGill, acclaimed for her work on “Sleepwalkers” and winner of this year’s Edge Hill Short Story Prize,R.B. Kelly, recognised for her novel “The Edge of Heaven” and shortlisted for the prestigious Arthur C Clarke Award. What makes this approach truly unique is the team’s approach, as each writer explores the storyline from a distinct character perspective to seamlessly blend theatre, virtual reality, and gaming, to explore the psychological and social impacts of digital memorialisation.
This is a cross-artform journey filled with home truths, twists, turns, and of course, tea. Tradition collides with technology as the family grapples with the decision to let Granny’s spirit go free while preserving her digital legacy.

Open windows, stopped clocks, serious craic, tears, tales, tea, sandwiches, songs, surprises, ritual, respect, inlaws, outlaws and at least one fight.
Augmented reality, virtual reality, warped reality, IoT, AI, grief bots, metahumans, holograms, immersive technology, smart technology, emerging technology, rage against the machine.
As a result of a Collaborate Fund research grant, Big Telly is proud to be working with Manchester Metropolitan University, and The National Centre of Social Research on deliberative research which investigates the intersection of immersive theatre and arts-led dialogue, specifically exploring the effects of digitising memory and memorialisation.

Big Telly are delighted to be collaborating with Harrisons Chamber of Distinction as a new arts and business partnership and as hosts of this production on 47 Malone Road.

‘a winsome cartwheel of a show’
-The New York Times
“loving, fractious, moribund, on occasion crazy-making”
-Wall Street Journal
“unexpectedly delightful, unpredictable, unmissable”
-Theater Scene
“an invention of hysterical, dramatic madness”
-Irish Echo
“Magical and awakens our imagination”
Front Row, BBC Radio 4
Best Theatre to Watch List
Time Out New York

WINNER: Theatre Innovation Award at Origin First Irish Festival, 2023
Artistic Director Zoe Seaton is credited in the STAGE 100 List.
WINNER of The Off West End OnComm awards for Alice – A Virtual Theme Park.

Zoe Seaton, Artistic Director of Big Telly Theatre Company says:

“There are so many different elements to this show, and I’m excited about all of them, but most of all, because I know that the audience will have a brilliant time at this delightfully dysfunctional family function. As Thornton Wilder put it – ‘From the start it has been the theatre’s business to entertain people. It needs no other passport than fun.’ ”

Researchers Michael Pinchbeck, Joshua Edelman, Kirsty Fairclough, from Manchester Metropolitan University say about the project ‘This is an exciting industry-facing collaboration between Manchester School of Art & Performance and School of Digital Arts using cutting-edge technology. Our performance research has a long-term interest in grief, memory and commemoration. During the pandemic, we saw how inescapable technology was for many forms of social interaction, including mourning. We’re interested in exploring how face-to-face encounters and digital tools can work together in an immersive performance. Collaborating with NatCen and Big Telly to explore these ideas in such an innovative, creative, and engaging way has transformed our approach to working across disciplines and contexts”
Eleanor O’Keeffe of The National Centre for Social Research says:
“Digital technologies are rapidly changing how we grieve and remember loved ones. Granny Jackson’s Dead slows us all down to think through those changes, engaging us to properly consider what we gain and what we lose as families, communities, societies. Grief technologies haven’t yet been scoped by policy makers, but their design and proliferation hold huge implications for public health and social relationships. Big Telly’s is a valuable, deliberative intervention in navigating publics through these social and ethical issues and asking them what the futures of technology in this area of human life should be”.
Alison McCrudden, Joint Head of Literature and Drama, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added
“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to be principal funder of Big Telly Theatre Company who present their wonderful new production, Granny Jackson’s Dead, this February as part of the NI Science Festival. Our funding reflects the Arts Council’s commitment to encouraging innovative practices that cross artform boundaries and build digital capabilities within the Northern Ireland arts sector. This exciting new production has been developed by a talented group of cast, writers, and creatives, and I would encourage everyone to go along and enjoy!”

Location: 47 Malone Road, Belfast, BT9 6RY

Shelley Atkinson
Ciaran Nolan
Gavin Peden
Emily Tracey
Rosie McClelland
Michael Curran Dorsano

Zoë Seaton – Director
Designer – Rosie McClelland
Writers – Bernie McGill, Owen Booth, R.B Kelly
Producer – Crissy O’Donovan

Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson