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The Wonders of The Wake

The Wonders of the Wake: Stage event and musical by Kevin Toolis. The Wonders of the Wake is a unique celebration of one of the oldest rites of humanity, the Irish Wake: in song, music, bardic poetry and story-telling. From the ancient Neolithic graves of the Atlantic seaboard, to the plains of Troy and Homer’s Iliad, to yesterday’s funeral, the Irish Wake still teaches us all how to live, love and die. The Wonders of the Wake in music, song and word celebrates the craic, the joy, the prumsái, and the haunting lament of a traditional Irish Wake. The Wonders of the Wake at the Pushing Up Daisies Festival is a collaboration between Kevin Toolis author of My Father’s Wake: How the Irish Teach us to Live, Love and Die and Wesley Robinson, Irish traditional song tutor, folklorist and award winning singer. Kevin Toolis is a BAFTA winning filmmaker and author. He is the writer of an acclaimed chronicle of the Troubles, Rebel Hearts and has written the London West End political satire The Confessions of Gordon Brown. His family have lived in Achill island, Co Mayo in the West of Ireland for the last 200 years.


Outside The Box

Liz Rothschild is a performer, celebrant and award winning burial ground owner. Her unique insights and experiences have created a highly original and beautifully cathartic show, combining mercurial tales and miraculous truths, collected over the years from life’s finishing line.
Funny, wise and taboo busting; Outside The Box confronts the ‘Elephant in the room’ with grace and humour, asking its audience to embrace mortality and look on the bright side of life, with a weave of untold and surprising stories, a hint of history and some pithy commentary on the funeral industry (from one who knows!).

Liz trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and also with Dario Fo, Agosto Boal, Monique Pagneaux and actors from the Grotowski Theatre Laboratory.  She has performed in reps around the country and in small scale touring companies.


Dancing With Death

Jane Flood has been telling traditional stories and running workshops since 1994 . Her work has taken her to East Africa with UNICEF, Nepal, and Tibet with the Himalayan Broadcasting Company and Peru and Ecuador with
The British Council
In the past ten years her focus has moved nearer to home in response to a growing awareness of Climate Change and Environmental Issues.
She has been storyteller in residence for The Mendip Hills, The Blackdown Hills, The North Somerset Coast and most recently the Avalon Marshes
Currently she is working on an ongoing project in Zanzibar which involves collecting traditional stories from village elders with the task of crafting these stories to be made into a book to be used in Swahili speaking schools.
Stories are her passion and she strongly believes that as well as offering entertainment they are tools for discovery of the self and a way to grapple with the complicated conundrum of what it means to be human.

“Jane has an extraordinary ability to connect with and transport her audience through her warmth, humour, passion and skill with words and images .” ( Bridport Story Cafe) 


Wesley Robinson

Wesley Robinson grew up surrounded my music in the tight Irish community of 70’s Britain with parents from the West and North West of Ireland. He is a Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann regional singing champion, all-Britain medallist and teacher of traditional song at Bath and Birmingham Summer schools as well as Bristol’s Hibernia Centre for Irish music. He is a song collector, song writer and researcher who is deeply connected to his Traveller and settled Irish heritage.


Mother and Daughter: Journey to the End

Christine Sweetman Willis is an actor, performer and singer. She likes to create performances born of a real life story. She then weaves these histories into a live piece using music , photography and text.
‘Mother and Daughter: journey to the end’ is her life story and her history with her mother up until her death at home in Dublin.

Christine’s piece is an all revealing exposé of her Irish family life. Born the youngest of nine living children and two still births, Christine plots the history of her deep relationship with her mother and consequently with her mother’s all consuming grief and losses through the death of Christine's sister when she was two, the deep consequences of that on her mother, her father and the whole family. Her mother’s depression and absence as a mother, the death of her father when she was ten years old and being then brought up by seven mothers; her sisters.

Christine likes to perform pieces that are either based on her own life or drawn from her life experiences. She uses music, either her own or pieces that will create the right mood, photographs that will trigger the feelings she is trying to convey and she brings items and memento mori that she will pass amongst the audience.

Christine was left solely as a young teenager to mind her mother and she became both independent and trapped by this relationship. Christine left for Australia but it took travelling the world and landing up in Weston Super Mare that enabled her to rebuild her love of her mother and to forgive and ultimately to be there at her deathbed in the family home in Dublin telling her mother she loved her and thanking her for all she had done.
As part of the show Christine is asking the audience (if they would like) to bring a copied photo of their mother or their daughter to be pinned up as part of the show piece and they will all be given a ceremonial send off at the end of the performance.!!!