Providing a city centre resource for Theatre and Performing Arts in Limerick


a new, interdisciplinary art collaboration between Limerick and the French city of Nantes


VASSALAGE is an artistic response to the historic and growing, contemporary, global phenomenon of human bondage, exploring the evolution of slavery from the 1600s through to the many forms of modern slavery that still exist in every part of the world in 2016.  This large work will artistically reflect on investigations into what remains a global, societal monster amongst us.

VASSALAGE is inspired by historic connections of old Limerick families to slavery from the 1600s. Respected business families from Limerick were heavily involved in the sale and trafficking of slaves in the Port of Nantes. It is only in recent years, and through some opposition, that Nantes engaged with its dark chapter and began to take a responsibility for the documentation of what was legislated in France as Le Code Noir, The Black Code.  

This multi-layered work will combine the talents of some of Ireland’s most established and emerging artists working in visual art, theatre, sonic art and will be facilitated and produced by The GAFF (Limerick Theatre and Performance Hub), the organisation that delivered The Pigtown Fling music legacy project and PULSE theatre legacy programme, both for Limerick National City of Culture, in 2014.  Le Lieu Unique, the iconic multi-disciplinary arts centre located in Nantes, is already a partner in this project and will co-produce and co-host aspects of the programme.

As a new, large-scale work, VASSALAGE sets out to provoke new conversation and awareness on modern slavery and to fuse the creative talents of individual Irish artists with an international partnership of renowned arts institutions.  Limerick and Nantes share chapters in a dark past and it is in both cities that VASSALAGE will unfold in 2017.