This summer, lesbian comic Breda Larkin is bringing her one-woman show, the Word of Breda, to every nook and cranny in Ireland. Her VW van is full of petrol, and she has her Virgin Mary statue on hand for company, as she gets ready to hit the road on her first tour – the aptly named, Breda’s Pilgrimage.
On her summer long travels, she will stop off in each location for two days, to get a feel for the LGBT community all over Ireland. The tour kicks off in Ballinspittle on June 3. But why bring her show on the road? “I kind of want to meet gay people more, like families in the community. I also really want to find powerful women in each area. I want to highlight the stories of women in these places that you wouldn’t necessarily know about.”
Breda has performed The Word of Breda for Dublin audiences as a part of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, and even across the shores at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In the critically acclaimed show she touches on everything from coming out to being a kid in the shticks.
She takes me back to her childhood growing up in Ballinasloe.
“I was a tomboy growing up in the country. We were farmers, and I’d always want to be out in the silage or on the tractor – but as a girl I was always pushed towards the housework!”
She tells me that growing up with her very girly twin sister didn’t help her farming aspirations either. “I remember my mother trying to put a dress on me like one my sister had, I was expected to wear one too. It was a struggle!
“When I went on to secondary school, which was run by the nuns, and I’d have to pretend to be just as excited as the other girls when the lads from the boys school down the road would be outside waiting at the end of the day. In hindsight it’s quite funny!”
In The Word of Breda, she quips about first realising that she was a lesbian while living in Dublin in her early 20s. She tells me that it wasn’t easy, and required the help of hallucinogenic drugs. “I had mushroom tea and had a complete epiphany! Although, thinking back, I think it was more to do with the woman who gave me the tea.”
Although she realised that she was a lesbian early on, she didn’t come out straight away. “I went travelling with my sister in South America,” she explains. “I remember chatting to this bird on a beach in Brazil and it turned out that she was gay too. Everywhere I went I met gay people. It was such an eye-opener.
“When I came back, that’s when I started to do to do stand up. I did a three year drama course in Kinsale and then started writing my own monologues.That is how The Word of Breda started.”
Breda plans to document her Pilgrimage from start to finish, and post regularly on her blog. She’s out to understand what makes each town and country village tick. “I’ll definitely be out on the streets on my soapbox and chatting to people,” she says. “People keep asking, ‘why are you going to come here? It’s a shit hole.’ Well I want to know why it’s a shithole!”
Breda’s 32 county tour kicks off on June 3and will run right through until August. Want to get involved? Contact Breda on [email protected]
For a full round up of tour dates, visit TheWordOfBreda.com.
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