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Blog - Kaite O'Reilly

Cosy, quirky, honest, daring… / 1 June 2015



How we live and how we die has never been more topical or relevant to our ageing society that likes to pretend we’re immortal and forever young. It’s universal, as well as our last taboo – a fascinating and compelling subject.

This is why I’m delighted that I’ve been commissioned to write Cosy, a play that explores our obsessions with ageing, self-ownership, and end of life scenarios in the company of a dysfunctional family on the verge of killing one another, if not themselves.

Cosy is a commission from Unlimited, which describes itself as ‘a scheme for arts by disabled artists, delivered by Shape and Artsadmin, funded by Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland and Spirit of 2012 to create high quality, extraordinary art by disabled artists and get that work seen by diverse audiences.’

I feel immensely honoured to receive this commission, especially as it is the sole Unlimited Commission for Wales. It will enable me to further develop the work-in-progress script then bring it to production, directed by Phillip Zarrilli and produced by Michael Salmon. Cosy will premiere in Wales in 2016 before going on tour and appearing at Unlimited festivals at the South Bank in London and Glasgow’s Tramway in September 2016.

I’ll be working with an inclusive company of six disabled and non-disabled female performers on a darkly humorous character-led play, exploring the means by which we shuffle off this mortal coil.

I want to handle this often feared topic with humorous irreverence, as well as sobriety and respect. What I love about humans is our ability to live joyfully and in the moment, despite the knowledge our time is finite and we will all die one day. How these two opposing perspectives co-exist will be fascinating to explore theatrically – and the deceptions, avoidances, contradictions and confrontations within a family with distinct and different ethical, religious, and political perspectives.

As someone who identifies as disabled, I have long been part of a vibrant community known for its joie de vivre and gallows humour – created, perhaps, from our knowledge of the fragility and resilience of the human body. I want to bring some of the quality of this insight and perspective to the script, in a production I hope will be funny, quirky, honest, daring, and fully engaging emotionally and intellectually.

It means a lot to have this opportunity, and it’s a real privilege to be amongst the gallery of outstanding Deaf and disabled commissioned artists in this round. To find out more about the other work commissioned, please go to:

This blog was reproduced with kind permission from Kaite O’Reilly. Please click on this link to visit the Cosy blog.

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Alan Morrison
9 years ago

Michael Northen / 27 March 2012

Jim is indeed an outstanding leader in disability poetry and was great to work with in putting together Beauty is a Verb. Another review of Slouching Towards Guantanamo can be seen at

Alan Morrison
9 years ago

kaite O\’Reilly / 4 December 2011 Thanks so much for your interest – Colin has passed on your email to me, so I’ll be in touch. You can see more about my work on my blog, which this is syndicated from: and my website, which is I edited FACE ON:Disability Arts In Ireland and Beyond for Padraig Naughton and Arts Disability Ireland some years ago and tht, combined with hailing from Dublin, gives me a good sense of the difference in contexts and cultures to the Irish and UK disability arts scene – which is fascinating in itself.… Read more »

Alan Morrison
9 years ago

Cathy O Kennedy / 29 November 2011

Hi my name is Cathy and i am a Irish based Choreographer working with integrated dance processes. I was attracted to your writing because of it’s title in addition to my interest in research with integrated dance in Ireland.I am currently working on a project titled ‘WEIGHT’ with dancers/ choreographers Bobby Byrne (Ireland and Spain) and Caroline Bowdwitch (Scottish Dance Theatre). Our process is based on Bobby’s writing and it would be great to open a dialogue with your project. is that something you would be interested in?

Alan Morrison
9 years ago

Isha / 22 September 2011

Umar, it’s rare to read a piece written by a non-disabled person who has such an understanding of our experience.

Alan Morrison
9 years ago

Trish Wheatley / 22 September 2011

I agree about DET in schools, it would make a big difference if done properly by high quality trainers with experience of disability.

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