The Story

Wexford-based violist Beth McNinch has been awarded the South East Venue Network (SEVN)’s new Arts Council-funded Artist Bursary.

Beth, who is Artistic Director of Music Ireland, will use the bursary to research and discover repertoire for solo viola. This will include both long forgotten and contemporary works, with a particular focus on Irish and female composers.

SEVN, which is comprised of Theatre Royal Waterford, Wexford Arts Centre, Courthouse, Tinahely, Co. Wicklow, Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Wicklow, Garter Lane, Waterford, National Opera House, Wexford, Visual, Carlow and Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny, created the bursary to provide much-needed financial and network support to an artist based in the South East region whose art practice has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The award was open to artists of all disciplines living in the region who have presented or exhibited work in a professional context within the last 5 years. Beth will receive a €9,000 financial bursary and in-kind support, including access to venue facilities, technical, management and communication support as well as mentoring and promotion support from SEVN network venues.

Elizabeth Whyte, Executive Director, Wexford Arts Centre and SEVN co-ordinator, said:

“This new bursary award has provided a vital opportunity for the venues to collaboratively support an artist such as Beth, whose practice has been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The bursary opportunity also allowed venues to learn more about artists in the region through the application process   We hope that we may continue to find additional ways to support further these artists in the future through the SEVN network.”  

Beth’s bursary win will enable her to research solo viola repertoire, utilising Trinity College Dublin’s archives for historical music and the Contemporary Music Centre for Irish composers. She is particularly interested in researching historical Irish work and music by female composers. Through this research, Beth will learn new repertoire, which she will bring to venues within the SEVN in order to explore the spaces acoustically with the assistance of producer Gavin Glass.

“It can be difficult to carve out time for personal artistic growth”, Beth commented. “Beyond preparing and planning for the next concert there is often little time to discover and research new ideas. Bursaries such as this are an important addition to supports that are starting to be made available due to the terrible impact Covid has had on our sector and I am absolutely blown away to be the recipient, it is a huge honour and privilege. I can only imagine the amazing proposals and artists who would have applied and am so grateful for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started on my project.” 

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