Sophie Motley in interview, 2nd September 2012
Willfredd theatre company won the Spirit of the Fringe last year for its fact-based show about growing up with two deaf parents. After one particular performance, director Sophie Motley was “chatting” – via sign language – to two farmers who were in the audience. “It just struck me that whether you’re deaf or not makes no difference to farming. It’s one job where communication isn’t a problem. It’s a different sort of work,” she says. “I then moved out to Wicklow. I’ve been living on a farm for the past 10 months. Part of it has just been my experience of waking up on a farm, going into the city and rehearsing a play. I started to noticed the difference and similarity between urban and rural existence.”
Having grown up in rural England, the 28-year-old notes that many of her childhood friends had recently left their urban lifestyles and city jobs to return to family farms. She researched the show by talking to them, and to people near her current home. “I’ve spent a lot of the summer speaking with farmers, beekeepers, allotment owners and a couple of people from forestry as well.” Farm will be staged in a warehouse on Dublin’s Pearse Street. The company felt it was a middle ground between farm and theatre.