Riverbank Arts Centre presents the world premiere of Keith Walsh’s debut play, Pure Mental, on national tour to 17 venues across the country from November 19 – December 17. Premiere’s at Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Friday 19 & Saturday 20 November.
Having finished up a 5-year stint presenting, in the pressure cooker that is a breakfast show, on National Radio, Keith Walsh finally found a bit of time for himself. He decided to take a step back, to try and figure out what the hell was going on in his head.
Keith started to go to therapy, he struggled to put a label on the way he was feeling. What was it? Midlife Crisis? Midlife awakening? Breakdown? Well his family thought he was going mad. What he did do was go on a journey to find and chat to his demons and to find the real person underneath the fuzzy mess of stress. What happened in his childhood that made him unable to access the emotions he needed to tackle life in his 40s?
Specific in that Keith is wrestling his own demons, Pure Mental also has an everyman quality and relevance, exploring the pressures and societal expectations of the 40-something Irish male. Keith’s autobiographical tale also contains a witty and very identifiable take on growing up in Midlands Ireland in the 1980s.
Pure Mental is Keith’s first work as a playwright, and he has risen to the challenge with the help of director, dramaturg and co-writer Janet Moran (A Holy Show, Swing, My Romantic History and Looking for America)
“It’s been great to have the play to focus on at this time.” Keith says. “Working with Janet has been a dream, to be honest when I realised that what I was writing might work on stage, she was the first person I thought of. I sent her what I’d written and she was up for it. So here we are. No turning back now. To be honest…it’s all a bit mental!”
Also an acclaimed writer and performer, Janet has brought a wealth of staging expertise to Keith script. The pair have been working together over the last year honing the theatrical elements of Pure Mental and fine-tuning the comedic aspects of this funny, open-hearted new play.
“Having known each other for 20 plus years, this is our first time collaborating.” Janet says. “So far we’ve conducted script meetings and rehearsals over zoom with impatient children and coffee supplying partners making appearances. We’re looking forward to bring the show to a theatre and a live audience”
Alex Rosiak, Acting Director of Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge, is delighted to be supporting and presenting this tour of Pure Mental. “Supporting artists in the exploration of their practice and creation of new work is a core part of what we do at Riverbank Arts Centre. This project with Keith and Janet was a particularly exciting collaboration, as it marks Keith’s first step into theatre. When we presented a work in progress of Pure Mental in June, over 4,000 people tuned in online. Keith’s personal story will chime with a lot of people. Producing a National tour is a new departure for Riverbank too, though we are used to working with partner venues throughout the country. Audiences are really missing the thrill of live theatre and we’re proud that we can help deliver that thrill to venues across Ireland with this dynamic new play.”
The Pure Mental nationwide tour starts in Keith’s hometown Newbridge at the Riverbank Arts Centre on 19th November and travels to Cork, Sligo, Kerry, Athlone, Limerick, Louth, Wicklow, Wexford, Mayo, Dublin, Laois, Clare Tipperary, Cavan Donegal and Kilkenny.
“You will laugh, you might cry, the voices in my head are telling me that you might want to throw rotten fruit at me? Is that still a thing? In the end we’ll all feel a lot better. I hope.” Keith Walsh
produced by Riverbank Arts Centre with the support of the Arts Council, Creative Ireland and Kildare County Council, with additional support by Mermaid Arts Centre.
For more information or booking see: www.riverbank.ie
Keith Walsh – Writer/Performer:
Keith Walsh is a Radio and TV Broadcaster. Most recently he presented on weekends from 5pm-7pm on RTÉ 2FM and weekdays on RTE Gold. Previously the lead anchor on RTÉ 2FM’s Early Morning Breakfast.
Show ‘Breakfast Republic’, Keith has also lent his talents to the small screen appearing in a variety of roles on RTÉ One, RTÉ Two and Virgin Media. Hailing from Lanseboro, Co Longford, now settled in Newbridge, Co. Kildare via Athlone!
Keith studied drama in Inchicore College of Further Education. Keith’s acting work on the small screen includes the part of ‘Phelim’ in Bridget and Eamon on RTÉ Two. Keith reprised his role in season four of Bridget and Eamon. He has appeared in The Gun Show and Tested on Humans also on RTÉ Two. On RTÉ One, Keith presented The New Year’s Eve Show (2015) with Kathryn Thomas and the St Patrick’s Day Highlights Show (2016 and 2017) with Sinead Kennedy. In addition to TV, Keith has performed in the iconic Abbey Theatre’s 24 Hour Plays.
This is Keith’s first piece of work as a playwright.
Janet Moran – Director/Dramaturg:
Janet Moran is an actor, playwright and director based in Dublin. Selected Theatre work includes Ulysses, The Plough & The Stars, Juno and the Paycock (National Theatre, London/Abbey Theatre coproduction), Shibari, Translations, No Romance, The Recruiting Officer, The Cherry Orchard, She Stoops to Conquer, Communion, The Barbaric Comedies, The Well of the Saints and The Hostage all at the Abbey Theatre, Car Show, Dublin by Lamplight, Everyday, Freefall and Desire under The Elms for Corn Exchange, and Spinning, Swing (co-writer) and Rathmines Road for Fishamble. Film and television work includes Trivia, Love/Hate, Love is the Drug, T (RTE), Dublin Oldschool, The Bailout (TV3), The Butcher Boy, Breakfast on Pluto, Milo, Minim Rest, Bono and My Ex, Moll Flanders, Nothing Personal, Volkswagen Joe and Quirke (BBC). She co-wrote the hit play Swing and wrote and directed A Holy Show which sold out at the Dublin and Edinburgh fringe festivals and its national tour in spring 2020. She directed Looking for América by Federico JuliánGonzález at Mermaid Arts Centre and Draiocht as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2020.
Riverbank Arts Centre – Producer:
Riverbank Arts Centre is a multi-disciplinary venue in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland. Riverbank Arts Centre works in partnership with international, national and local artists to deliver an accessible and consistently high quality arts programme in an intimate environment. We provide a multi-disciplinary programme which includes theatre, cinema, comedy, music, dance, workshops and visual arts. With a dedicated children’s gallery and programming of high quality theatre and workshops for younger audiences, Riverbank is also committed to promoting early engagement with and access to the arts. Riverbank Arts Centre is funded by Kildare County Council and The Arts Council.
PURE MENTAL 2021 TOUR DATES
Booking; 045 448 327 www.riverbank.ie │ Tickets €18/€15
Booking: 021 450 1673 www.everymancork.com │Tickets €22/€20
Booking: 071 9161518 www.hawkswell.com │Tickets €15
Booking: 064 6671555 https://www.inec.ie │Tickets €22
Booking: 09064 92129 www.deancrowetheatre.com │Tickets €18/€15
Booking: 061 953 400 www.limetreetheatre.ie │Tickets €18/€15
Booking: 042 9332332 www.antain.ie │Tickets €16/€14
Booking: 01 2724030 www.mermaidartscentre.ie │Tickets €20
Booking: 053 9233000 www.presentationcentre.ie │Tickets €18/€15
Booking: 094 902 3733 www.thelinenhall.com │Tickets €16
Booking: 01 885 2622 www.draiocht.ie │Tickets €18/€16
Booking: 057 866 3355 www.dunamaise.ie │Tickets €16/€14
Booking: 065 684 3103 www.glor.ie │Tickets €18/€16
Booking: 504 90204 www.thesourceartscentre.ie │Tickets €16/€14
Booking: 049 4380494 www.cavanarts.ie │Tickets €16/€14
Booking: 074 912 0777 www.angrianan.com │Tickets €15/€12
Booking: 056 7761674 www.watergatetheatre.ie │Tickets €18/€16