Street in New York: Cork actor’s new group brings performances across Atlantic

Irish actress Sarah Street’s acting resume isn’t short on top-level performances on stage and screen.

Now Street and her group, The Pond Theater Company, is seeking to bring plays from Ireland and the United Kingdom across the ocean for New York playgoers.

Street, along with fellow actors Lily Dorment, Colleen Clinton, and Nick Hetherington, forms The Pond Theatre Company, which seeks to bring the work of emerging playwrights in the Ireland and the UK to audiences that haven’t yet been able to enjoy these performances stateside. According to the group’s website, their goal is to produce two to three plays from Irish and British playwrights a year, with the aim of contextualizing the experiences of life in countries that many Americans have connections to but sometimes know little about.

The members of The Pond Theater Company.

The first two plays the group will put on will be “Abigail’s Party” and “Muswell Hill”. The former, written by Mike Leigh, will premiere this fall. The Pond Theatre Company will be working in conjunction with The Barrow Group, the acclaimed New York theater company and acting school. Set in 1970s London, The Pond Theatre Company’s production of the play will run from November 10 to December 3, and tickets go on sale September 6.

Street looks at these productions as an opportunity to bring great works to audiences that might not otherwise get a chance to see them, and sees The Pond’s role as a way to corner a niche in their artistic market.

“I’m Irish, Lily and Nick are British, and Colleen is of an Irish-American background — when we all got together, we knew wanted to work on British and Irish plays. Lily, Colleen and I were taking a scene study class at The Barrow Group, and we were doing some scenes from “Abigail’s Party”, and our teacher kept complimenting our performances and encouraged us to continue working on it. Eventually, we decided we really wanted to produce the play, and we asked if they wanted to co-produce “Abigail’s Party” with us.

Street preaches to the cohesion of the group and to each member of The Pond’s skill set as to why the team works so well.

“Since we’ve formed, we’ve been working our tails off fundraising. We’re all actors and we all have different skill sets — Colleen has a graphic design background, Lily has a business background, and I think the fact that we’re not just creatively minded people makes putting on these works much easier to do.”

The group’s efforts to bring works that are lesser known in the United States has not fallen on deaf ears. “Nick, Colleen and Lily took a trip to London a few weeks ago and met with some literary agents — and there’s definitely a gap. These plays are getting done and dying on the vine. We don’t want to see these great works just collecting dust on a shelf.”

The Pond Theatre Company’s logo.

Street is clearly looking forward to getting started on “Abigail’s Party” this fall with her teammates, and to bringing a cult British hit to a new audience that can learn to love it. The Cork actor’s New York career is already impressive, and she’s looking to further explore her creative outlets through The Pond Theater Company. She’s also looking to reach back to her Irish roots through the plays she selects.

“It’s really an exciting time for me as an actor and a writer, and it’s empowering to have this creative family. There’s a sense that we can decide what plays we want to do, that we can decide what playwrights we want to showcase. If you’d told me this time last year that this is something I’d be doing now, I don’t think I’d have believed you.”

“Part of the reason we’re doing something like this is because we want the Irish community to hear from us. Next season, we’d like to do two Irish plays. We want to be able to be recognized by our community and bring them plays they recognize and enjoy, and expose them to new ones as well.”

The Pond Theatre Company’s production of “Abigail’s Party” runs from November 10 to December 3rd. Tickets go on sale September 6th. You can follow Sarah on Twitter at @SarahStreet7.

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