An avid Yeats fan I am always drawn to any event that celebrates his life and works. Even just a picture or quote on a wall will be sufficient to invite me inside. With last year, 2015, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Yeats’ birth, I visited many events throughout Derry, Donegal and Dublin celebrating ‘the terrible beauty’ that is Yeats’ work. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve visited the Yeats Exhibition at Dublin’s National Library. I’ve even brought the kiddo along at times and watched as he enjoyed readings and listening to extracts of Yeats’ work.
So when I heard just last week that Michael Scotts new production of ‘Songs from the Swans of Coole’ was coming to Derry’s Millennium Forum I was a tad excited. Listening to Yeats’ poetry put to music sounds like an idylic way to spend an evening to me.
On reading the cast list I then discovered that Mary McEvoy was there at the fore. Of course that meant only one thing! I had to have a chat and see how she felt about being part of this stage production commemorating one of our greatest poets. Earlier today I did just that and she didn’t disappoint in her passion and enthusiasm for the poetry of Yeats.
Just how does McEvoy feel about being part of this cast? “It’s an absolute honour to perform Yeats’ poetry to an audience” she told me. “We all have a Yeats poem we like, and I’ m geniunely honoured to be able to read some of mine on stage”.
What exactly is ‘Songs from the Swans of Coole’? Mary explains that it is a collection of poems from Yeats which will be performed in chronoglogical order but there will be “no beginning, middle or end. It’s like one long poem put to music. This is a real homage to Yeats” she says.
Mary will be joined on stage for the forthcoming Derry performance by renowned Abbey actor Des Cave. Alongside them will be Irish tenors Sandra Oman and Anthony Norton. They will sing a selection of Yeats poems in an operatic and classical style alongside a traditional Irish orchestra.
Mary McEvoy is no stranger to Derry and was here just last year on the Millenium Forum stage in John B. Keane’s ‘Matchmaker’. I asked her if she’s looking forward to her upcoing visit to the city and she laughs saying: “I’m excited because of the honour but I’m looking forward because I love Derry, It’s always great craic.”
I for one won’t be missing this great opportunity to not only see Mary on stage reading the poetry of Yeats but to experience an evening celebrating the work of one of our greatest and indeed the worlds greatest ever poets.
Songs from the Swans At Coole will run at Millennium Forum Derry next Thrusday night, January 28th at 8pm. Tickets can be booked online here at Millennium Forum Derry.