Sweeney of the Birds

blood-swordOne of my ancestors – Connor McKenna – married a merrow queen in County Monaghan in the 17th century, and madness, hallucinations and storytelling have been in the family ever since.

Sweeney of the Birds

Based on Seamus Heaney’s killer modern translation of the epic tale of a king who turned away, and turned into a bird.

Andrew’s performance style is captivating and arresting, with his strong physical and vocal control and intense relationship with his audience. He tells the sweeping epic story of the Mad King, portraying multiple characters with a nuanced attention to gesture and vocal patterns. Drawing on his observations of birds, Andrew portrays Sweeney’s descent into madness as a metamorphosis into a wild bird-like state. It is mesmerising. 

– Jen Bray, Daylesford Words in Winter Festival

Hang on for the ride!
Post traumatic stress disorder.
A berserk giant run amok.

sweeneyJust the thing for a winter’s evening. Or any evening.

What is madness, when the sane are climbing on each other’s backs and lying in order to relentlessly wage war?

Sweeney of the Birds is based on a fifth-century Irish epic about King Sweeney, who in the thick of battle ‘levitated in a frantic cumbersome motion, like a bird of the air’.

A physical reinterpretation of an ancient Irish story that explores madness and difference, and what it means to step away from the throng.


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