We missed speaking with Linda Murray the Artistic Director of Solas Nua before she was wisked away to Ireland after the Capital Fringe Festival. We descide to get together for a virtual interview for our readers.
Ronnie Tell our readers how you came to be across the Atlantic for the next year. I know its not just a vacation.
Linda Essentially my visa is up and I have a two year requirement tagged to it, which means I cannot be resident in the USA until April 2008. That said, the stipulations of my visa were not met on the US side and so I have a wonderful immigration lawyer crusading on my behalf for an exemption to the two year requirement. We’re confident that I won’t be away for more than a year, and hopefully even less than that.
Ronnie How will you direct Solas Nua’s artistic vision from such a long distance? That has to be hard.
Linda Well, next season is set in terms of its artistic direction and Dan Brick should be releasing that soon. Obviously, if I am gone all year it will be a challenge and I will have to fly back to D.C. regularly to monitor things, but honestly, as the AD and one of the Irish members of Solas Nua, a lot of my work for the organization involves dealing with artists and government bodies in Ireland, so hopefully that will get easier instead of harder! And our tiny staff is extremely capable of running things on their own. If anything, this year will prove how little they need me.
Ronnie What are Solas Nua’s plans for future? You have had such a great year.
Linda We want to build on the theatre foundation we’ve laid, but also start to raise exposure in the other areas. For instance, we held two film festivals last
year, one of them quite large at E Street Cinema, but I wasn’t satisfied with the public awareness and press coverage we achieved. This year we have another film festival planned, our second annual book day give away on St. Patrick’s Day, and we’re also planning to start weekly podcasts of new Irish music and hopefully we’ll also get the visual arts department underway. In essence, we want to keep adding events annually, until we are a fully functioning arts organization and then we’ll start campaigning for a space to house all of our activities so that my living room doesn’t constantly look under attack. But
that is a long, long way off…
Ronnie Now that the Fringe Festival has concluded tell us how you feel about year one?
Linda I was delighted with the public response to the fringe in general and especially with how people embraced our production. Despite the national parks service and other bureaucrats we’re determined to keep site-specific work to the fore of our agenda. Next year I’ll hopefully get time to see more shows, but, in general next year, I’d like to see an expansion on the idea of fringe and more unorthodox ways of interpreting the term.
Ronnie Will you be going to Edinburgh? (Fringe Festival)
Linda Hmm, I am tempted! I probably will, as I haven’t been in a couple of years, but I need to figure out the dates of the Dublin Fringe before I decide on that. The fringe is a valuable place to find new writing – with the exception of Marina Carr’s “The Mai”, all of our plays this season originated in the fringe
so I need to make Dublin my first priority.
Ronnie Finally, Given all the controversy over US Immigration policy how do you feel about having to be a long distance AD?
Linda I understand the fear that September 11th caused and I try to be respectful of that. Of course its hard – I’m from a tiny country that never instigated violence and I just want to contribute to the cultural environment of D.C. But my hope is that if I follow procedure and hang in there I’ll be back before too long. I have been in this process for three years now, after all!