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05 Dec 2021

Stage production about Ireland's first ever female jazz musician coming to Naas' Moat Theatre

Pic Supplied: Red Keane of JAZZ IRELAND

Pic Supplied: Red Keane of JAZZ IRELAND

A stage production that retells the story of Ireland's first ever female jazz musician will be coming to Naas' Moat Theatre, it has been confirmed.

Originally meant to release in March of 2020, the play's plot follow the true story of Zandra Mitchell, Ireland's first female saxophonist.

The show, which is produced by the company Darn Skippy Productions, previously ran for two sold-out runs at the Smock Alley Theatre in 2019 and early 2020. 

Josephine Alexandra (Zandra) Mitchell was born in 1903 in Phibsborough, Dublin, into a musical family.

From a very young age, she learned to play a wide range of instruments, including the violin, the cello and later the saxophone.

When Zandra went to London with her brother, Eddie, to play sax with his band, she was spotted by an agent, who invited her on a tour of Switzerland with a jazz band.

Zandra accepted the invitation and went on tour against the wishes of her parents, who threatened to disown her.

She travelled for years with many bands — including her own ‘Baby Mitchell’s Queens of Jazz’— and played with some of the greatest jazz musicians of the twentieth century, including Django Reinhardt and Coleman Hawkins.

Zandra eventually settled in Berlin and was one of only very few Irish citizens living there during World War II.

She witnessed Hitler’s rise to power from an incredibly dangerous perspective, as jazz was seen as ‘degenerate art’ and a threat to the Nazis’ control over Germany.

Zandra, Queen of Jazz is written and performed by Roseanne Lynch and directed and co-produced by Katherine Soloviev.

Original music, arrangements, and sound design are by Richard Lennon Lighting and costume design is by Lianne O’Shea, with support from Jazz Ireland.

Further support for the show comes from the dlr LexIcon Library.

The early development of this show was supported by an Emerging Artist Bursary from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Arts Office.

Zandra, Queen of Jazz will open at the Moat Theatre for November.

For further information, please contact Darn Skippy productions at darnskippyproductions@gmail.com or +353-(0)-83-807-2377.

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