Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

Rites of Passage

One of the organisers of an ambitious Dublin Fringe Festival projects explains what it’s all about

Tue, Aug 6, 2013, 12:42


“It’s kind of like a Reeling in the Years; Eurovision, moving statues, World Cup ’90, the famine, GAA. the druids, how all those experiences have lead us to have a mixed up sense of who we are, how the country gathers and it what a sense it means to be Irish.” Kathy Scott is describing most ambitious Trailblaze project yet, which is currently crowdfunding a stint at the Fringe.

Trailblaze is where I’ve encountered some of the most inspiring talks, people and messages over the past couple of years, so I chatted to Scott about what the story was with this latest project. After an astounding event themed around justice last November at the Green Street Courthouse, Scott and Clare Mulvaney got the confidence to push things forward into a different realm: Rites Of Passage. Scott says the event will put Ireland on the psychiatrist’s couch with three Trailblaze nights:  Evolving Our Past, State of The Nation and Tourguides to The Future, four international Head Schools, participants from all over the world, musicians, performers, a children’s choir made up of 100 kids under the stewardship of Nina Hynes and more.

The task of examining the psyche of a nation in a live experience is a tough one, and Rites of Passage will be as much about exploring the dark side of Ireland as well as jubilant moments. This isn’t just about an event that happens at the Fringe and then that’s it. Anyone who has ever been to Trailblaze stuff or the Wonderlust stage at Body & Soul knows that you end up taking loads of great things away from it, and so much stuff to mull over, “All you can really hope for is that it activates something in someone who is at the event,” Scott says, “It’s important to me that people come for an experience and are prepared to go along, letting themselves be opened up, because there are no right answers. I think if somebody feels that we’re maybe in a cul de sac socially at the moment, or feel they have no connection with an Ireland being represented at the top, or if they’re just getting on with it… this is asking people to really think about how are they participating in Ireland. We’re not about us and them, we’re not pointing fingers. But we’re all in this together, so how do we make sense of it? We do aways want that moment where people come out and feel things in a more fuller way, experience what people say on a deeper level. The idea of ‘making Ireland a better place makes me cringe’, because it’s about looking at the shit as well. People who are on the ground questioning the status  quo – it’s way more important to have those voices in the mix.”

You can fund Rites Of Passage here. It’s worth it.