Imaginative retelling of Islandmagee Witch Trials highlight of Bounce Arts Festival
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Song of the Bones is a dark, immersive storytelling experience featuring the mystical electronic songs of Claire McCartney and Beccy Henderson of VOKXEN, haunting puppetry by Claire Roi Harvey, who has worked on Star Wars and the Dark Crystal and earthy percussion by David McLaughlin of the iconic performance art band, The Blue Man Group.
Alice McCullough, who recently caused a sensation at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival after warm receiving praise from Stephen Fry, said she was using her experience of being bi-polar to put her own spin on the story of the last witch trial in Ireland.
“The narrative is from the perspective of looking at madness and otherness. I myself have been sectioned in psychiatric hospitals a number of times. Song of the Bones tells the story of Mary Dunbar who came over from Scotland and she brought with her the hysteria about witchcraft that was prevalent in her homeland.
“Mary accused eight women of witchcraft and they were imprisoned in Carrickfergus for a year. I had empathy not just for the women accused but also for Mary. One version of the story was that Mary was hearing voices and felt she was possessed and believed these eight women had put a hex on her."
Song of the Bones uses elements of traditional Irish folk tales, mysticism and feminism to tell the story. It was created by Claire McCartney and Beccy Henderson, whose lush musical arrangements and lyricism has been compared to artists such as Kate Bush and Billy Eilish.
The show’s premiere, which is one of the centrepieces of the Bounce Arts Festival organised by the University of Atypical, is being staged at the Lyric Theatre’s Naughton Studio on October 7 and 8.
The intoxicating mix of music, puppetry and poetry, marks a change of direction for Alice.
“I have been performing at Bounce and with the University of Atypical for years but only doing a one woman show. It is great to be collaborating with all of these fantastically talented people on such a dark and challenging piece of work,” she said.
Tickets for the evening performances have been selling so fast that they have put on an extra matinee show on Saturday, October 8 at 3pm.