Niamh Shaw – Artist in residence

NEW THEATRE SHOW EXPLORING MARS COLONISATION by our Artist in Residence NIAMH SHAW, at Smock Alley Theatre Dublin as part of Engineers Week


Our Artist in Residence Dr. Niamh Shaw is bringing her third science theatre show ‘Diary of a Martian Beekeeper’ to Smock Alley Theatre Dublin from March 13-16 as part of Engineers Week Ireland. And she credits her space community in helping her make the show a reality, especially ESA, ESERO Ireland (the education and resource office at ESA) and the International Space University’s annual Space Studies Programme (SSP), which we hosted last summer at CIT and Blackrock Castle.


Niamh is especially grateful to the SSP community who have supported her in the making of her new show over the past 2 years: she told us that the concept for the show began with interviews conducted at the Space studies programme in 2015, when she attended the programme at Ohio University, in partnership with NASA. There she spoke with CSA Astronaut Bob Thirsk and ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who were onsite for the annual Astronaut Panel event. And these interviews began her investigation in to the massive human effort in space exploration.


Lorraine Conroy (SSP17) and Juan de Dalmau from ESTECs communications office, and Stephanie O’Neill at the ESERO Ireland office have been advocates of Niamh’s work for many years and provided invaluable ESA support in getting the project off the ground. ESA’s Astronaut Centre also played a key role in providing access to employees at the centre, reflecting the massive human effort in space exploration- without their input (especially Irishman Aidan Crowley, research fellow at EAC), this show would not have been possible. BCO were also delighted to support Niamh in securing project funding from Science Foundation Ireland to allow her time to develop her concept in combining beekeeping with space exploration. Niamh premiered the show in the Rory Gallagher theatre as part of Space Week and now she brings it to Dublin at Smock Alley Theatre.

The play is set in 2036.  Niamh is on Mars and​ is a ​member​ of Crew 173, on a long duration mission to investigate new ways of growing food in this arid foreign land. As their 2-year mission comes to an end, one crucial experiment remains for Niamh. But will she overcome her personal struggles or put the whole crew and the mission in danger?

A highly visual exploration of future interplanetary human exploration, Shaw and her creative team have created a new world order, reminding us of the power of the collective, the fragility of the solitary human and the united will behind all major breakthroughs.  Because we may one day leave the cradle of Earth, but we will always be human.


Niamh said, “The play will be rooted in truth and science but will inspire and open the imaginations and hearts of audience”.

Anyone interested in getting a better understanding of the detail that goes into getting someone to Mars will be fascinated by this show, which was inspired by Elon Musks grand design for a future interplanetary civilisation, testimonies from ESA (European Space Agency) employees and Niamh’s own personal space journey.


‘Diary of a Martian Beekeeper’ runs from March 13-16th at 7.30pm at Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin.

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