Following on from the success of an ambitious two-year collaborative filmmaking initiative with autistic young people in Fingal, a new book is being launched that celebrates the culmination of the Echo’s Bones project.
The project, which borrows its title from an unpublished story by Samuel Beckett, has been led by artist Sarah Browne, with a group of autistic young people in north county Dublin. It was commissioned by Fingal County Council under its Public Art Programme.
The book, Echo’s Bones: a parallel play and a screening of the film will take place this Saturday (14 October) at 2.30pm at the historic Swords Castle Chapel. Alongside the launch, there will be a special panel discussion with the key collaborators on the project. This will be facilitated by seasoned drama facilitator and practitioner Sarah Fitzgibbon. The esteemed theatre director and Beckett interpreter Sarah Jane Scaife who will also be on hand to share her insights.
Ahead of the launch, Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Adrian Henchy said: “This project as a striking illustration of Fingal’s commitment to embracing and fostering the diverse representation of our youth. My heartfelt congratulations go out to all those who contributed to the ‘Echo’s Bones’ project and I look forward to viewing the film this Saturday with all those involved in what has been an inspiring undertaking.”
Set in the north County Dublin landscape of the 1930s, the work is populated by unusual characters and creatures where an old asylum building meets the coastline. Situated in the same geography and borrowing from a Beckett sensibility, autism is not the topic of the film but a way of sensing the world and speculating about a shared future.
Echo’s Bones: a parallel play is a new book that presents the collaborative play devised and filmed with the young people in the same setting as the original Beckett story, nearly a century later. This book also features original artwork, a rich collection of research material from the film production, and newly commissioned fiction and non-fiction essays by neurodivergent writers Blindboyboatclub, Hamja Ahsan and Roy Claire Potter. The book is designed by Peter Maybury.
The Council’s Public Art Co-ordinator, Caroline Cowley, explains: “This has been a wonderful initiative to be involved with. It offers a distinctive platform for artists to create projects of profound cultural significance and visionary scope within the Fingal community. These projects are crafted to engage deeply with the community on a national and international level. The talented collaborators led by Sarah Browne has gone beyond our expectations.”
The new book will be available for purchase at the Swords Castle event and online from Independent book seller The Library Project: www.thelibraryproject.ie.