drama

Shaking the Walls: The Winter’s Tale Summer 2019

Creative Europe funding

This week we learned we were successful in receiving Creative Europe funding for an exciting new project called Shaking the Walls with partners from across Europe. The project is led by Gdański Teatr Szekspirowski (Poland), the other partners are Parrabbola (UK), Cooltour Ostrava (Czech Republic) and Ratatam (Iceland).

2019 marks An Grianan Theatre’s 20th anniversary and we are really pleased that the Creative Europe funding will allow us to engage so many artists and creatives in making a work of scale and spectacle, in an off site location. The Shaking the Walls project is a great opportunity for us to examine the political and economic context of our place in the borders of the North West in association with our international partners.

The Winter’s Tale

We will be producing an off-site, immersive presentation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, in partnership with Parrabbola Theatre Company. The production will take place in July 2019, in Donegal and Derry, crossing the borders, the traditions and the waters of the North West.

Two Kingdoms, Sicilia and Bohemia divided by an ocean; two kings, raised together, but at odds over the love of a woman; lost princes, prison sentences, tragic deaths, bears and ocean voyages, and finally, a mysterious and magical ending that reconciles the kingdoms; It is a problem play, a text with multiple personalities, but ultimately it explores conflict, reconciliation and borders. It is Shakespeare’s Brexit masterpiece.

Following on from the production, the theatre’s writer in residence, Guy Le Jeune, will travel on to Gdańsk, Ostrava and Reykjavik, working with Parrabbola’s Director, Philip Parr, to create a new piece work that addresses the nature of the walls we build, both physical and metaphorical, to presented at the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre in 2020.

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New local production premieres at An Grianán

The Letterkenny Music and Drama Group’s Beneath An Irish Sky, a new play by local author Kieran Kelly.Letterkenny Music & Drama Group are delighted to be presenting a brand new play for their drama festival production this year. “Beneath an Irish Sky” will receive its premiere in An Grianán Theatre on Tuesday 13th February 2018 prior to competing on the demanding Drama Festival Circuit.

Inspired by archive reports and eyewitness testimonies, “Beneath An Irish Sky” is written by Kieran Kelly and looks at the events of the ‘decade of change’ from a Donegal perspective. Set in the town of Letterkenny between the years 1914-1924, it tells the fictionalised account of one man’s journey through those turbulent times, questioning what made him pick up a gun to fight for his country.

Originally written as a dramatic reading as part of An Grianán Theatre’s 1916 commemorations two years ago, the overwhelmingly positive response to that performance prompted Kieran to return to it and adapt it for a full production. “When it was first performed as a reading in 2016, it concerned an elderly man being interviewed in 1966 as he looked back on the events that affected him as a young man,” said Kieran. “However, when it came to adapt it for a full production, I found it more interesting to focus on the actual events in the past to drive the story forward rather than a piece of retrospection and so it is now set firmly between 1914 and 1924.”

Direction is in the sure hands of Pluincéad O’Fearraigh who is very much looking forward to producing a brand-new play for the Letterkenny audience and beyond. “I’m thrilled and delighted to be directing and producing this thought provoking and intriguing play by Kieran for its world premiere in An Grianán Theatre and then on the 3-act drama festival circuit. It’s not that often that you get the opportunity to direct a newly written play and I hope I do justice to the challenge of bringing the characters and the situations portrayed in this play to life for the audiences to enjoy. I cannot praise Kieran highly enough for his courage and skill in writing such a fantastic play.” Although he is keen to point out that you don’t have to be from Letterkenny to enjoy it. “While the situations and characters in the play are based in the town of Letterkenny, they are as relevant in any part of Ireland during the turbulent times in which this play is set.”

The play depicts how the central character of Brendan McDevitt (Eoin Callaghan) was affected by the seismic events unfolding around him – from World War 1, through the War of Independence and up to the Civil War – and shows how these events convinced him to gradually move from the peaceful Nationalism of the Ancient Order of Hibernians into the more militant Republicanism of Sinn Féin. This life altering decision will have far reaching implications for both himself and his family. The various decisions he makes throughout his journey are all influenced by those around him, from the attitude of his parents Barney (Kieran Kelly) and Cassie (Elaine Gillespie), the actions of his brother Michael (Loic Cech), his neighbour Mary (Laura Doherty) and the political allegiances of both the local priest Father Crawford (Michael Leddy) and the persuasive Doctor McBride (Martin Hasson).

The play opens in An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny on Tuesday 13th February 2018 at 8pm prior to touring the drama festival circuit throughout February and March. It will also be performed in the Amharclann Ghaoth Dobhair on Wednesday 21st February. For more details, find the Letterkenny Music & Drama Group on Facebook and for tickets for what promises to be a dramatic night of entertainment contact An Grianán Theatre on 0749120777 or www.angrianan.com.

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Hyemi Shin: Costume Designer – Swan Lake / Loch na hEala

Korean-born designer Hyemi Shin won The Irish Times Theatre Award 2017 for Best Costume Design for her work on Michael Keegan Dolan’s Swan Lake/ Loch na hEala.

Shin studied at Hongik University in Seoul and Wimbledon College of Arts and is also a Set Designer as well as a Costume Designer. She was the overall winner of the 2011 Linbury Prize. Her design credits include The SeagullHeronsMorningDesire under the Elms (costumes only) and Secret Theatre for Lyric Hammersmith, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Lyric Hammersmith and Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, Once in a LifetimeDirty Butterfly and Sizwe Banzi is Dead for Young Vic, The Brink for Orange Tree Theatre, Made Visible for The Yard and He Wore a Red Hat and Playland for New Perspectives Theatre/Nottingham Academy. The Kreutzer Sonata for Russian Chamber Ballet Moscow and Unearth for National Ballet of Canada.

(information from Royal Opera House, London, http://www.roh.org.uk/people/hyemi-shin)

Here we display some of the stunning initial costume sketches, kindly sent to us by Michael Keegan-Dolan. They clearly display the breathtaking talent and clarity of image that is present throughout all the elements of this production of Swan Lake/Loch na hEala which you can see at An Grianán on 31st Jan & 1st Feb.

Swan Lake / Loch na hEala is here for two nights only, Wed 31 Jan and Thur 1 Feb. Tickets available at our box office on 0749120777 or online at www.angrianan.com.

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Swan Lake: Why you should go see this show

Swan Lake/Loch na hEala comes to An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny in January 2018.Our costume designer Anne-marie Kilfeather on why you should definitely go and see Swan Lake / Loch na hEala:

You can go to one show this year, just one, and feel unbridled satisfaction for the rest of your days.

I saw Loch na hEala last year in Belvedere’s theatre during the Dublin Theatre Festival. I didn’t know what to expect, I just heard it would be pretty special and that the entire ensemble had been living together, not just practicing moves but breaking bread together each day and generally following a holistic lifestyle in preparation for performances. I was intrigued and rightly so.

The energy of that performance remains with me.

Live music was performed by seated musicians upstage, while dancers who moved as though channelling another realm, twisted and turned, even balanced majestically on breeze blocks.

It was mesmerising.

The simplicity of the colours in the costumes and set only heightened the tremendous prowess of these wonderful people as their stories unfolded. Every movement, from lightness to gut-wrenching torment was somehow translated through motion and stillness. I hardly remember the dialogue, even though it was delivered by the fantastic man that is Mikel Murfi.

I left that theatre with one thought, that I was so glad to be alive at that moment, witnessing it.

That is what great live theatre can do  – show you that there is magic in this world and all it takes is being there to know this.

Watching a documentary on the making of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ album, I was struck by these words as they said what I feel about the power of being at a live performance. This was how I felt when I saw him live a few years ago, but it also applies to all live experiences. I felt this way when I saw ‘Swan Lake’ too.

I’ll leave it to The Boss and Patti Scialfa to explain it better. Patti begins by describing the live experince…

Patti:
“First time I saw Bruce was in 1978. I’d never seen anything like that. It was shocking! I was surprised that you could be in such a large venue and still feel that you’re having a personal experience.”
Bruce: “When you come out there in that dark, and you make that magic, you pull something that doesn’t exist out of the air. Doesn’t exist until any given night when you’re standing there in front of your audience. Nothing exists in that space until you go, “One, two, three, four, voom!” Then you and the audience together manifest an entire world, an entire set of values, an entire way of thinking about your life and the world around you, and an entire set of possibilities. That can never be taken away.”

You only need to go to one thing in the theatre for 2018 but perhaps go on the first night as you might just want to go again.

Swan Lake / Loch na hEala is here for two nights only, Wed 31 Jan and Thur 1 Feb. Tickets available at our box office on 0749120777 or online at www.angrianan.com.

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Coming in Spring 2018: Swan Lake/Loch na hEala

Swan Lake/Loch na hEala comes to An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny in January 2018.After sold out tours in Ireland, London, across Europe, and Australia, Michael Keegan Dolan’s genre-defying contemporary reimagining of one of the most famous ballets in the world comes to An Grianán in Spring 2018.

Daithi Ramsay, An Grianán Theatre’s Marketing Manager, saw Loch na hEala/ Swan Lake at the Clonmel Junction Festival in July 2017:

“I had intended after the show to go to the festival club. Instead I walked the mile and a half back to the house I was staying in, open mouthed, silent. I sat in this silence for a long time processing what I’d just seen. It was the most visceral theatre experience I’ve ever shared. It integrates the music, drama and dance fully, and each of the performers excels. The story, such as it is, flows around the performers, anchored by Mikel Murfi.

Swan Lake/Loch na hEala comes to An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny in January 2018.“The story draws from the Children of Lír and Swan Lake, which they have firmly rooted in the bogs of the Irish midlands. There is a lovely mythical Irish quality to much of it but for me it’s the influence of the tragic story of Bridgie Cleary that stayed with me. The intensity of these pieces will stay with me for a very long time, and Mikel Murfi’s expressions in particular. As will remain my surprise at the many unexpected moments, some of them so beautiful and uplifting. This is the very best that theatre has to offer you really should come and see it.

Swan Lake/Loch na hEala comes to An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny in January 2018.“From where I sat in the front row I looked around at the audience: everyone was sitting forward, hands on their knees, rapt. When it was funny they laughed loudly and naturally; when it was disturbing they were on edge; when it was uplifting they were overjoyed. I wish I had photos of their faces to show you. At the end many wiped away tears while smiling. It was as if we had been plugged straight into the mains of the company and the show’s creator Michael Keegan Dolan and then all of a sudden we were released, but the feeling, the emotions, the thoughts remained.”

Swan Lake/Loch na hEala can be seen at An Grianan on Wed 31 Jan and Thur 1 Feb 2018. See the event page for further information.

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Star of the Sea

Coming to An Grianán | Tuesday 21st November – Joseph O’Connor’s gripping story of revenge and forgiveness.

“A lesson in theatre magic … captures an extraordinary and devastating story ” Irish Daily Mail | “Vital theatre” Sunday Business Post | “This emotional tour de force honours the author, and, most of all, the victims of The Famine and the coffin ships” Irish Independent | “Truly sensuous, ebullient, and multifaceted” Irish Times | “Unquestionably an exquisite piece of theatre ” Examiner.com | “Gorgeously assembled theatre ” Irish Times

Moonfish Theatre’s critically-acclaimed, sell-out success Star of the Sea is touring Ireland and the US this autumn, with a performance at An Grianán on Tuesday 21st November. Based on Joseph O’Connor’s epic best-selling novel, this story of love, murder, revenge and forgiveness in the time of the Famine is back by popular demand. An unmissable piece of Irish theatre, Star of the Sea was a sell-out hit of the Galway International Arts Festival 2014, which was followed by a packed tour across Ireland in 2015. This will be one of the last opportunities to see the show as this will be its final tour with Moonfish.

Star of the Sea tells the story of a famine ship sailing from Cobh to the promised land of New York in the winter of 1847. On board are passengers with secrets to hide – a silent maidservant, a ruined lord, and a murderer on the run – characters whose lives and fates are far more intertwined than they realise. Moving between the wild landscape of Connemara, grimy London streets, and the claustrophobic confines of the famine ship, this sweeping production from the award-winning Moonfish Theatre charts the lives of the three characters, from the childhoods that shaped them to their final, fateful journey.

O’Connor’s novel combines elements of thriller, mystery, romance, and Gothic suspense tale, and this innovative and much-loved theatrical re-telling has been adapted from his work by Moonfish’s ensemble cast. The company’s Star of the Sea sees language, movement, imagery, live sound effects, song, traditional music and six performers conjure the worlds of the characters. One of the remarkable things about the stage adaptation of the novel is the fact that Moonfish using their signature style of bi-lingual theatre have given voice to the characters whose first language would have been Irish. Audiences are invited to experience Irish as a theatrical language, translated continuously through subtitles, movement and song.

“I found their version of (the story) and their presentation of the adaptation just so moving and very emotional, and to hear those words spoken in the Irish language, was really something that I’ll never forget.” Joseph O’Connor

DEVISED & PERFORMED BY:
Mairead Ni Chroinin, Ionia Ni Chroinin, Grace Kiely , Zita Monahan, Morgan Cooke, Sean T O’Mealleigh

PERFORMANCE DETAILS

An Grianán, Letterkenny, Donegal
Tuesday 21st November 8pm
€18/€15/school groups €10
W: angrianan.com | T: 074 912 0777

BOOK NOW

Suitable for audiences aged 15+.

MOONFISH THEATRE

Moonfish Theatre is an award-winning theatre ensemble. Based in Galway, they create work in English and Irish, for young people and adults. In 2013 Moonfish was awarded the Stewart Parker Trust / BBC Northern Ireland Irish Language Theatre award for its acclaimed production of Pinocchio – A Nightmare.

To find out more: W: moonfishtheatre.com | Facebook: Moonfish TheatreGalway | Twitter: @MoonfishTheatre | Instagram: Moonfish Theatre

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
With thanks to: Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Galway City Council, Foras Na Gaeilge, Culture Ireland and New England Foundation for the Arts.

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Theatre Lovett: World class theatre for children

We’re dedicated to bringing you the best artistic shows for your children to see, it’s lovely to have shows with mass appeal but it’s equally important to bring you shows that will warm your hearts and widen your children’s imaginations. Theatre Lovett are among the very best creators of child centred drama working today.

Their latest show They Called Her Vivaldi is currently touring Ireland once again due to popular demand and can be see here at An Grianán on Sat 4 Nov. The tour culminates at the Irish National Theatre on the Peacock Stage, 30 November – 23 December 2017. This acclaimed production was selected from 100’s of performances for young audiences to showcase in the USA at IPAY (International Performing Arts for Youth) in January 2017 and will undertake an extensive US tour in 2019.

Judges Special Award nominee Irish Times Theatre Awards 2017

They Called Her Vivaldi is an upbeat comedy adventure about a sensitive musical-prodigy who makes a quiet name for herself in a cacophonous world. As our young heroine journeys over cobblestones and canals, we learn about love, loss, the place of salt in our diet and the courage to lose our footing without losing our way.

The production stars the inimitable Louis Lovett, Ireland’s most experienced and critically acclaimed performer for young audiences and well known on the adult stage. Renowned for his natural, playful ability to entertain, engage and enthral, Louis most recently starring in ‘Dublin By Lamplight’ with Corn Exchange and ‘The Train’ with Rough Magic both at The Abbey Theatre.

About Theatre Lovett

Theatre Lovett produce work for all ages, both child and adult, young and old, chicken and egg.  Artist Directors Muireann Ahern and Louis Lovett believe that children and young people can enjoy and understand theatre that does not pretend the adult world is anything other than a complex and occasionally dark place where we must make moral choices for ourselves as individuals. THEATRE LOVETT WANT TO BRING MORE THEATRE TO MORE CHILDREN, MORE OFTEN, touring in Ireland and raising the bar for international touring of Irish theatre for young audiences.

Performance Date:
Sat 4 Nov at 12pm and 2pm.
Tickets: €10/€7, family of four €30
Suitable for children ages 7+ and adults of all ages.
BOOK NOW

See our Theatre Lovett event page for further information.

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Druid’s Waiting for Godot now open for booking

Druid Theatre’s award-winning production of Waiting for Godot embarks on an extensive Irish and international tour in 2018 and will come to An Grianán for three nights only in March.

Tues 13 to Thur 15 March 2018 – Book now.

 

On a bare road in the middle of nowhere, two world-weary friends await the arrival of the mysterious Godot. While waiting, they speculate, bicker, joke and ponder life’s greater questions. As dusk begins to fall, two figures appear on the horizon.

Regarded as one of the most significant plays of the twentieth century, Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett is a masterpiece that draws endless interpretations and Druid’s production has won acclaim from audiences and critics alike, and multiple Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards.

Marty Rea as Vladimir and Aaron Monaghan as Estragon in Druid’s production of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett directed by Garry Hynes. Photo Matthew Thompson.jpg

Druid’s interpretation of this Beckett masterpiece premiered at the 2016 Galway International Arts Festival, captivating both audiences and critics alike. There wasn’t a ticket to be had for the subsequent Unusual Rural Tour, which played outdoors in Glencree, Inis Meáin and the Céide Fields. The sell-out production earlier this year had a month-long run at the Abbey Theatre in April prior to heading to Spoleto Festival USA in June.

“Our 2016 Unusual Rural Tour showed us just how much of an appetite there is for this production so it’s great to take it to so many corners of the country, and internationally, in 2018.” said Artistic Director, Garry Hynes. “It’s also fantastic to continue working on this extraordinary show with members of our Ensemble and creative team who have shaped something very special.”

Aaron Monaghan as Estragon, Garrett Lombard as Lucky and Marty Rea as Vladimir in Druid’s production of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett directed by Garry Hynes. Photo Matthew Thompson.

Waiting for Godot stars members of the famed Druid Ensemble Garrett Lombard, Aaron Monaghan, Rory Nolan and Marty Rea.

Druid actors are at the centre of the company’s creativity and a permanent Druid Ensemble was announced in 2013. The ensemble meet throughout the year and feed into Druid’s artistic programme. Waiting for Godot stemmed from the Druid ensemble and is testament to the shared commitment of both the company and the ensemble in investigating new creative possibilities.

Druid & An Grianán

Druid first performed at An Grianán with The Beauty Queen of Leenane in 2000.
Other productions performed here include DruidSynge (2004), The year of the Hiker (2006), The Cripple of Inishmaan (2008), The Gigli Concert (2009), DruidMurphy (2013) and most recently DruidShakespeare (2015): Richard II, Henry IV (Part One), Henry IV (Part Two) and Henry V in a new adaptation by Mark O’Rowe.

Marty Rea as Richard II in DruidShakespeare. Marty Rea plays Vladimir in the upcoming Waiting for Godot. Photo by Matthew Thompson.

Marty Rea as Richard II in DruidShakespeare. Marty Rea plays Vladimir in the upcoming Waiting for Godot. Photo by Matthew Thompson.

A bold idea

Druid began as a bold idea: to create Ireland’s first professional theatre company outside of Dublin. There were few resources with which to build a theatre company in the west of Ireland in 1975, but, through sheer dedication, and with the support of the Galway community, founders Garry Hynes, Marie Mullen and Mick Lally made this bold idea a reality. That reality has since become an international success story of extraordinary dimensions.

NUIG graduates, Garry Hynes, Marie Mullen and Mick Lally founded Druid in the mid 1970s and rehearsed in various buildings around Galway – the Jesuit Hall, The Fo’castle Hotel – before they found a home on Druid Lane. It was in that first year that Druid produced Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World and in it, found a playwright they would go on to explore and find success with at home and abroad.

The company’s first won success outside of Ireland was the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Druid quickly gained an international reputation with productions such as At the Black Pig’s Dyke (1992), Conversations on a Homecoming (1985), and Bailegangaire (1985) featuring Siobhan McKenna in one of her finest dramatic performances.

In 1996 Druid premièred Martin McDonagh’s debut work The Beauty Queen of Leenane, in a co-production with the Royal Court Theatre. It opened in Galway and played in London, Sydney, Dublin, and on Broadway, where the production won four Tony Awards, including Best Director for Garry Hynes, the first woman to win an award for directing in the history of the Tony’s.

To this day, while Druid works with a core group of actors, designers and production crew on a consistent basis, at its heart is the working relationship between Garry Hynes and Marie Mullen, one of the most successful and significant actor-director relationships of the modern theatre. Druid founder and actor, Mick Lally, passed away in August 2010 and up until that time had been one of Druid’s core group of actors.

http://www.druid.ie

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News for teachers: Shakespeare Sessions 2018

The Shakespeare Sessions by Cyclone Rep

Don’t miss out on the Early Bird offer: pay in full by 20 October 2017 and pay €13 per pupil (normal price €15).

Presented by Cork based theatre company Cyclone Rep, the Shakespeare Sessions are an invaluable study aid for Junior and Leaving Cert students.

The Shakespeare Sessions are entertaining and engaging student-centred performances of Shakespeare texts. Each performance includes a scholarly review clarifying the main themes as well as discussions with the students and the opportunity to participate. Cyclone Rep’s Shakespeare Sessions will guide Junior Cert and Leaving Cert learners in their understanding of The Bard’s masterpieces.

This spring the sessions will cover King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice.

Cyclone will be with us in February 19 and 20 2018 – find out more here.

 

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All Ireland One Act Drama Finals launch

Photocall from yesterday’s official launch of the All Ireland One Act Drama Finals which will be held in Letterkenny for the first time this December.
3 October 2017: Official launch of the All Ireland One Act Drama Finals which will be held in Letterkenny for the first time this December. Front row left to right: Jean Curran, John Travers, Mayor of Donegal Cllr Gerry Mc Monagle, Mayor of Letterkenny Municipal District Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh, Plunkett O'Fearraigh and Anne Mc Gowan. Back row left to right: Sean Mc Cormack, Cllr Ian Mc Garvey ,Cllr Michael Mc Bride, James Mc Laughlin A.I.B.and John O'Donnell.Front row left to right: Jean Curran, John Travers, Mayor of Donegal Cllr Gerry Mc Monagle, Mayor of Letterkenny Municipal District Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh, Plunkett O’Fearraigh and Anne Mc Gowan.
Back row left to right: Sean Mc Cormack, Cllr Ian Mc Garvey ,Cllr Michael Mc Bride, James Mc Laughlin A.I.B.and John O’Donnell.
 

Letterkenny has been fortunate to be asked to stage The All Ireland One Act Finals this year in An Grianán Theatre from Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd December. This is a great opportunity for the people of Letterkenny and Donegal to see the top 11 plays presented at all the one act festivals from around the country during November 2017. Ticket sales are already flying even though we won’t know who the finalists are until the end of November!

There will be 3 plays shown on Friday and Saturday nights, 3 on Sunday afternoon and 2 on Sunday night with the presentation of awards straight afterwards.The Festival Club will be held in An Grianán Theatre each night after the performances when the groups and audiences can mingle and let their hair down. Music will be provided each night.

A large crowd is expected in the town during the festival and there will be other fringe events occurring as well to entertain the visitors while in town – Visits to Glenveagh National Park & Grianán of Aileach, Historic walks of the town, traditional music /jazz sessions locally, golf competition etc. All these will be announced at a later date.

The All Ireland One Act Finals is hosted by Letterkenny One Act Festival under the auspices of Drama League of Ireland and The Amateur Drama Council of Ireland.

Tickets can be purchased at our box office on 0749120777 or online here. Cost is €18/€16 per session. Attend all four sessions for the great price of just €60 (discount automatically deducted when you add tickets for all four sessions to your cart).

Visit the official website for the latest festival news – www.oneactfinals2017.ie

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