Project Description

Breach is a temporary indoor/outdoor performance and gathering space in the courtyard and outbuildings of an agricultural co-operative farm store in Callan, Co.Kilkenny. The space was designed by Culturstruction in consultation with the Abhainn Ri festival committee to host events taking place as part of the community based festival of participation and inclusion in 2011.

Working with a minimal budget and taking a positive ‘asset-based approach’ the design was developed to make best use of readily available materials and the skill sets within the community. The construction process explored the potential of building as a collective and collaborative event and referenced the agricultural tradition of the meitheal in Ireland. The final design was collaboratively constructed over a period of ten days by participants and collaborators on the first Commonage Summer School in July 2011.

The initial project plan was to create a standalone pavilion and barn-raising event. However through research, discussion and meetings with the festival committee we began to consider the longer-term potential of integrating the design into the vacant old Co-Op farm store. Informed by the movement of many nocturnal interlopers (bats, cats and vandals) the design weaves a line through the courtyard and outbuildings. Corrugated galvanised steel simultaneously excludes (cordening off access to hazardous and vandalised areas of the complex) and accommodates. The completed programme incorporates sheltered seating areas, indoor and outdoor stage areas, a back stage changing area and a storage area. The large repurposed sliding doors act as a double-sided projection screen which can be used in conjunction with both indoor and outdoor stage areas. The double sided grey and white galvanised sheeting (a standard product for agricultural farm buildings) is manipulated and folded. Inside the grey side heightens the sense of a dark auditorium interior. Outside the white side of the sheet is used to emphasise the contrasting light levels between interior and exterior spaces.

The space was initially designed for a six week life span. However the popularity of its atmospheric spaces has led to its continued use. In 2011 the amphitheatre was host to a wide range of public events, music, dance, film screenings, talks, and theatre and was in use again during the Commonage Summer School 2012 and the Abhainn Ri Festival 2012. In 2013 the Co-Op buildings were again used as a box office and performance space for the Abhainn Ri Festival.

Intended as an antidote to the show-case of the temporary architectural pavilion we hope that the legacy and spirit of this modest intervention can be part of a longer term re-imagining and reconnecting between the communities of Callan and the rich heritage and potential of this space.

This project was directly supported by the Arts Council’s Artist in the Community Scheme administered by Create – the national development agency for collaborative arts.  Project mentoring was provided by Cliodhna Shaffrey.

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Project Details


Commonage and Abhainn Ri Festival of Participation and Inclusion




Process and Construction Design - Culturstruction (Jo Anne Butler and Tara Kennedy)

Carpenters - Paddy Phelan and John O’Brien

Commonage Summer School 2011 participants - Yvonne Cullivan, Dara Challoner, Damien Curry, Ethan Dooley-Coyne, Bill Doyle, Luke Brabazon, Aoife Flynn, John Flynn, Lisa Kenny, Aisling Kehoe, Aaron Kirk, Sodam Kim, Ruairi Gaffney, Simon Gough, Kate Griffin, Olivia Hillery, Paulina Huukari, Brian Jordan, Rosemarie Jordan, Caoimhe Loftus, Ian Mannion, Donal McElwaine, Sean McMahon, Shane Morrissey, Lucy Riordan, Kinga Rusin, John Wallace and Marcin Woszczyna.

Project Research and Development Phase Mentor - Cliodhna Shaffrey ( Funded through the Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme administered by Create – national development agency for collaborative arts).

Project collaborators - Callan Abhainn Ri Festival Committee, Callan Co-Op, Tara Brandell and the Croi Glan Dance Company, Equinox Theatre.

Commonage Summer School Team 2011 - Jo Anne Butler, Tara Kennedy, Rosie Lynch, Patrick Lydon, James Kennedy, Hollie Kearns, Kate McLoughlin.

Commonage Summer School 2011 funding - Kilkenny Leader Partnership, Arts Council Engaging with Architecture Award.

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