constance and eva
Constance and Eva excavates the lives of two Anglo Irish sisters Constance Markiewicz and Eva Gore-Booth. Though raised in the 'Big House' aristocracy of Ireland, these sisters relinquished their privileged upbringing to dedicate their lives to a range of causes. Constance was a suffragette, labour activist during Dublin's 1913 lock-out, an instrumental figure in the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, and the first woman to be elected to Westminster (though as a member of Sinn Fein she did not take her seat). Eva was a suffragette, women's workers' rights advocate in Manchester, publisher of a pioneering journal on gender and sexuality in London, and a pacifist. Both women were famous - even infamous - during their lifetimes, but history has largely forgotten them.
Constance and Eva is an hour-long multimedia play combining a script derived entirely from prison letters and archival text with filmed and recorded reflections on the lives of the sisters from the creative team, historians, and members of the Irish community in Britain who may or may not be familiar with the sisters. The play examines the potentialities and complexities of social and political activism so relevant in a post-Trump, post-Brexit context.
The artistic idea driving this project has been to interrogate the erasure of these sisters. As such, the writing process has followed an unconventional path, with an emphasis on ‘the archive’ and material culture of the period, as well as the past and contemporary discourses surrounding the sisters. The actors (Charlotte Gallagher and Hannah Berry), director (Luke Davies) and I have worked collaboratively from the beginning, developing ideas and testing them out in rehearsals and often traveling together for research – from Dublin’s Kilmainham jail to the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland to Poland where Con’s husband’s family still resides – where we identified material to use in the script. This process of ‘diving into the wreck’ of history has been so much a part of the story that the play therefore will contain a film of rehearsals and interviews with us that will act as a thread and videos of Skype calls and audio recordings of interviews with historians and members of the Irish community in Britain. As such, Constance and Eva traces an engagement with history, its making, and, in the current political climate, its undoing.
MOTHERBABYHOME (forthcoming with zimZalla Avant Objects, Manchester) is a 796-page book of poems on St Mary's Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Ireland, which was run from 1926 to 1962 by the Bon Secours Sisters on behalf of the Irish state to house unmarried expectant mothers and their children. The location of the graves of the 796 children who died there is unknown, though local knowledge points to a nearby field. There is mounting evidence that some of these missing children might have been trafficked to the US and elsewhere. An excavation of voices, these poems are composed entirely of text from archives and contemporary sources related to the Home.
Kimberly has performed this sonically rich work for the New Dublin Press Performing Poetry Project, the International Literature Festival Dublin, University College Dublin Irish Poetry Reading Collection and The Other Room series in Manchester. She performed the work for the Irish Literary Society in London in October 2016.
cases of sudden conversion
The result of a collaboration between Kimberly Campanello and composer and University of York postdoctoral researcher Jon Hughes, cases of sudden conversion combines field recordings gathered in India with electronics, viola, and body percussion, new literary translations of ancient Sanskrit tantric verse, and newly-composed poems emerging from experiences researching and practicing yoga and tantra. It premiered in May in Poland at Kolanko no. 6 as the featured artistic event for the Modern Yoga Research Group’s conference Yoga darśana, yoga sādhana: traditions, transmissions, transformations. It was recently performed at York St John University as part of the Creative Writing & Creative Culture Symposium.
The poems were published in the pamphlet Hymn to Kālī (Eyewear Publishing).
SacrumProfanum combined contemporary music (Benjamin Dwyer), poetry (Kimberly Campanello), video installation (Dylan Griffith) and visual art (Tony Carragher and Gleny Kohnke), fieldwork reportage and innovative publication design (New Dublin Press) in a large-scale multimedia performance and exhibition responding to the sheela-na-gig stone carvings.
It was premiered and exhibited at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast as part of the 2015 Belfast Book Festival. Poems from SacrumProfanum were published in Strange Country (The Dreadful Press) and Imagines (New Dublin Press).