Cork producer gives free access to her radio dramas for children

Ann Dalton of Seoid Productions has put out a free resource for children online, including podcasts of her three radio dramas... and much more. She tells us about her life and work in our Person to Person feature
Cork producer gives free access to her radio dramas for children
Ann Dalton of Seoid Productions.

Tell us about yourself;

I am a writer, producer and facilitator, the front woman of Seoid Productions which I set up over five years ago.

Seoid is the Gaelic word for ‘gem’ or ‘jewel’. I robbed it from a well-known bilingual author and I haven’t confessed to him yet! He kindly sent me some feedback, (as Gaeilge) when I first started writing for children and used the word ‘seoid’ to describe my story at the time.

I knew immediately it was the name I wanted to march forward with. Writing and producing, for me, is very much like working with a jewel. I am constantly polishing, perfecting it, reaching to the core of it and knowing that each piece is different, unique. The wonderful thing about doing the work I do is that there is always a new energy and enthusiasm around a new piece of writing or project, and the challenge is finding a way of exposing it and securing a living wage for everyone involved.

Much of my writing/producing over the last five years has been for children, specifically for radio. All of my plays have been broadcast on RTÉ Jnr and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

I also deliver workshops to children based on my writing and audio work. One of the activities the kids most enjoy during my workshops is recording their own stories or occasionally some voxpops. It was lovely recently to be part of a project where first class children interviewed the outgoing sixth class group. They succeeded in getting such honest and open answers from their older peers about their worries and hopes for the future.

Behind Seoid Productions we have a great team of talented actors, directors and editors and we are lucky to have the support of the RTÉ studio in Cork for many of our projects.

From idea to script to the listener’s ear is a long journey that can only be completed with the talent and commitment of everyone on the team. I am very much a hands-on producer, and while I expect a lot from everyone who works with me, I also give 110%.

I was delighted to dip my toe into the world of theatre also over three years ago when I produced my first bilingual multi-media drama production, Fear an Rothair, the first theatre piece to be staged at the beautiful Goldie Chapel at Nano Nagle Place.

Since then, I have also co-written and produced for Cork Theatre Company, Ocean of Notions and am proud to be a part of their intimate, compelling productions.

In my career, I often liken myself to the ‘cat with nine lives’. I have studied and worked in varying fields from HR to Holistic Medicine to Creative Media Production. More and more now I see the need for people in the workplace to be creative, innovative and adaptable. I may even have to reinvent myself after this current crisis we find ourselves in as, I imagine, many people will but I would encourage people to face their fear and do it anyway. With the support of family and friends, we can all surprise ourselves with how much we can achieve.

Where were you born?

Ballincollig, when it was still a village.

Where do you live?

Northside of Cork City, on one of the roads that Frank O’Connor considered posh in his day. We came along and changed that!

Family?

Z, my hubby, Shahla, my 13 year old daughter and Sami, my 11 year old son.

Best friend?

Three close friends from my decade in London during my twenties. I call them my soul friends as although none of us live near each other anymore, we always pick up just where we left off and have great ‘heart to hearts’ — Rita, Reneé and Ivor xxx

Earliest childhood memory?

I have a notoriously bad memory for details from my childhood. If I didn’t have four sisters, I would be truly stuck! However, the day I was chased by a ram is one even I couldn’t forget!

I was strolling down that lovely arched laneway that leads to the old square in Ballincollig when I heard a thump, thump behind me. I could barely bring myself to look around, I was so petrified. I ran as fast as my little legs could carry me into the first place I came upon which happened to be Mrs O’Callaghan’s sweet shop. Safe inside the shop, I watched the ram bolt past and on through the village, a traumatic event but a happy ending for me. Believe me, gobstoppers work wonders for childhood shock!

Person you most admire?

For me, it’s ‘ordinary’ people just doing their thing. My late father, who had a passion for life and an interest in everything from wildflowers to Tibetan monks. My late friend, PJ who was brought up in St Philomena’s orphanage and later Artane Industrial School while his mother, who worked on the cruise ships, visited him occasionally and bought him his first guitar. ‘Ordinary’ lives but ‘extra-ordinary’ people.

Ann Dalton
Ann Dalton

Where was your most memorable holiday?

The first trip I made with my husband Z, to Pakistan. I arrived in a village in the Punjab and about 50 people, all somehow related to Z’s late father, gathered around me. The family decided to dress me up in their traditional bridal gear so I got the full works — the most beautiful burgundy and gold wedding gown which weighed a ton, henna painted on my hands, forthright questions from the women asking if ours was a ‘love marriage’. It was one of those amazing ‘When in Rome’ experiences when you don’t know what’s coming at you next but you just hope that you don’t put your foot (with the burgundy polished toenails) in it!

Favourite TV programme?

At the moment, I am really enjoying The Marvellous Mrs. Maisal.

Favourite radio show?

Generally prefer night-time radio for some alternative music and flick around a lot between the different stations.

Your signature dish if cooking?

Z is definitely the one with a flair for cooking in our house. I have gained a few titles to my name though… Queen of Potatoes for my home made chips on a Friday night and Mrs Fruit Scone!. There was silent mutiny in the house recently when my daughter declared that my dahl and rice was better than her had’s. Have put it down to teenage rebellion!

Favourite restaurant?

da Mirco’s on Bridge Street for Italian cuisine…. Foccacia that you would sell your granny for!

Last book you read?

The Education of an Idealist: A memoir by Samantha Power.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

Loving Cork singer, Lyra’s Mother. It usually takes me a while to catch up on music these days but I have finally clued in to her talent.

Favourite song?

It will be a different answer every day because I love music but today it is Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Raincoat.

One person you would like to see in concert?

Kate Bush at Live at St Luke’s would be exquisite!

Your proudest moment?

My first poems anthologised by Survivors Poetry Press in London; My first radio play broadcast on RTÉ; My first theatre production before a live audience…. ll the firsts.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I have just put out a free resource online for children, including podcasts of three of my radio dramas with lots of activities around writing/illustrating/sound for them to do easily at home.

Not every child is a reader but I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t like a good story.

See https://www.seoidproductions.com/activities-for-kids.html

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