“Flying” is a one woman play written by theatre-maker, Carol Moore. Lilian Bland was the first woman in the world to design, build and fly her own biplane, the Mayfly.
At Tobarcorran House, Carnmoney, Lilian built a model glider with a wingspan of six feet and tested it on Carnmoney Hill, assisted by her aunt’s gardener, Joe Blain. Over many months she adapted and scaled up her design to a wingspan of over 27 feet and built with bicycle parts, wood and linen. She bought a 20 hp engine and propellor and attached it at the rear of the plane. Eager to get it in the air, she improvised the petrol tank with a whiskey bottle of petrol and her aunt’s ear trumpet and successfully flew the Mayfly in August, 1910 on Lord O’Neill’s estate in Randalstown.
“Why is it deemed inappropriate for a woman to be curious at whatever takes her fancy - in my case flying. Why can a woman not translate the principles of a bird in flight and, like the Wright brothers, design her own plane? It is illogical to say we can’t. To say that I can’t. Believe me when I say, I will!
Lilian’s story is as extraordinary as she was. She shunned her expected role as a society lady and instead became a professional photographer, a fine shot, tinkered with cars, wore breeches, smoked and gambled.
“Flying” will celebrate Lilian’s aviation achievements and using projection mapping and augmented reality, digital artist, Gwen Stevenson, will bring the Mayfly design to life to enhance the theatre experience. Pending the necessary funding the play will be produced by An Grianan Theatre, Donegal, for the summer of 2021 and directed by writer, Carol Moore.
If you love ‘live’ theatre and wish to see it safely return in 2021, then this crowdfunding campaign is directed towards you.
We all know the arguments about why the arts need and deserve more funding, not least because the Covid-19 pandemic is currently decimating our creative industries.
“All artists can do at this time is continue to be creative and work even harder at sourcing potential funding streams to see that work realised.” Carol Moore
We appreciate this is a difficult time to be asking for donations and why this campaign is targeted and not on social media. We hope though you might like to share via email to those individuals who you consider may also choose to become friends of “Flying”
Cherrie McIlwaine (Friends of “Flying”)