Waterford playwright Jim Nolan may revive the Red Kettle Theatre brand next year to coincide with a new Waterford-based play he’s aiming to stage at Garter Lane Arts Centre.
Speaking to The Munster Express, Nolan (a Red Kettle founding member who left the theatre company in 1999) revealed that he had “bought the name” of the company, which went into liquidation in 2014. “I discovered and learned fairly quickly that nobody had ever patented the name, so I bought it. I bought it for a reason: that either I would use it again some time or that I would give it to someone else. So the hope is that while Red Kettle, as we all knew it, won’t come back, that the name will breathe again.” Jim Nolan continued: “If the name was to be used again, while the name would be the same, such an entity in comparison to its original predecessor, would be entirely different. There is never again going to be a Red Kettle Theatre Company, with an office, an administration structure and five productions a year, but the name remains important to me and, some time, I hope to use it again, and it may be, that my next play, which is called ‘The Red Iron’, might be staged under the Red Kettle label – but then again it may not be!”
‘The Red Iron’ is the first play Jim Nolan has set in Waterford since 1985’s ‘The Gods Are Angry, Miss Kerr’, and is based on fictitious events which coincide with the Waterford senior hurlers’ All-Ireland Final homecoming. “In terms of talking about staging it, I immediately went from having the first draft written to examining how I’ll find the money to put this on, and there are different avenues, well, these days there more like narrow streets, when it comes to getting funding, but you pursue them all. And I have to say that I feel as positive and excited about doing this kind of work now as I did 30 years ago when I’d written ‘The Gods Are Angry, Miss Kerr’ and I know that I’ll be in rehearsal for this play in 12 months’ time – as long as I’m still breathing, I’m absolutely certain of that. And how I can be so certain about this? To be honest, that feeling is based on nothing other than my own optimism, not just about the play but a sense of adventure, about one door opening after another one closes, and I remember having that sense 30-plus years ago when a few of us like TV Honan, Jim Daly and Ben Hennessy were talking about setting up a professional theatre company in Waterford, at a time when people were saying that it couldn’t happen, that the town was too small. But we weren’t interested in entertaining any sort of negativity at the time – and I really thought I had lost that feeling over the passage of time. But, perversely, I seem to have, and I’ve no idea why because there’s no logic to it, I feel a really profound sense about (the new play), and a sense of positive energy about finding a way to get that play to the stage. And it doesn’t matter now I get there, because it will happen and it’s a real buzz for me, and I think part of that is down to the fact that this play is based in Waterford, because I’m writing Waterford voices for Waterford actors for Waterford audiences…I need to get this play on, and I will.”
The next work directed by Jim Nolan to take to the Garter Lane stage shall be his take on Una Troy’s drama, ‘Mount Prospect’, which is due to run from November 13th to 17th. Featuring a strong local cast, ‘Mount Prospect’ will be previewed in a future edition.