inhouse productions

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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Relaxed Performance of The Nutcracker

After last year’s warm response to our relaxed performance of Peter Pan we are pleased to announce that we will hold a relaxed performance of our Christmas Show The Nutcracker on Thursday 14 December at 11am.

What is a relaxed performance?

Relaxed Performances are specifically designed to welcome people who will benefit from a more relaxed performance environment, including, but not limited to, people with an Autism Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorders, or a learning disability. It is also a good way to introduce younger children to live performances in a less formal setting than regular theatre events.

  • There is a relaxed attitude to noise and movement and some small changes made to the light and sound effects.
  • Theatre lights will stay on and people will be warned of sudden noises.
  • For anyone overwhelmed during the performance, a “chill out” area will be provided in the upper foyer.
  • An easy way to understand the atmosphere is perhaps, ‘the opposite of the quiet carriage on a train’.

Why do a relaxed performances?

Many aspects of a standard theatre experience can cause difficulties for children. Busy foyers, unexpected music, lights going up and down and applause can all be unsettling. Even the interval can confuse because it may seem strange to leave the auditorium in the middle of an event.

These performances are for anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed performance environment, including people with an autistic spectrum condition, sensory or communication disorders, or a learning disability, or just those who are uncomfortable being in a darkly lit room, or those who feel they can’t sit quietly for an extended period of time.

Can everyone come to this performance?

Yes everyone is welcome, it’s important that those for whom it is intended get to share the experience with their peers and siblings. That’s the joy of a relaxed performance!

Will it be very different from attending a regular performance?

Audience feedback to our Peter Pan relaxed performances was very positive. We made a few subtle alterations – the auditorium lights were only partially dimmed (no blackouts) and any especially loud noises were reduced. Most people felt that it did not affect their enjoyment of the show.

Please contact Daithi or Nicola at the box office on 0749120777 if you have any questions or are interesting in bringing a group.

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News for teachers: Manny Man the stage show

John D Ruddy brings his creation Manny Man to the stage with An Grianán Theatre in 2018.A youtube sensation, a hit book and soon to be a stage show! See Ireland’s tumultuous millennia of history turned into a fun and easy-to-understand story.

We are currently developing a stage adaptation of John D Ruddy’s Manny Man Does the History of Ireland with a view to presenting it to schools audiences in May 2018.

Manny Man brings history to life with clarity and hilarity in videos that have amassed millions of views around the world.

Why did the Celts love stealing cows? What was the Norman Invasion, and were they all called Norman? From the Ice Age up to the present day, through the Vikings and Tudors, British rule and the fight for independence, he covers it all – with his tongue in his cheek, of course.

Ideal for 5th & 6th national school classes and second level history students.

Rehearsed reading

We will hold a rehearsed reading of the play with its cast John D Ruddy and Louise Conaghan on Thursday 19 October to an invited audience only. If you are a teacher interested in attending please get in touch with Nicola or Daithi at the box office on 0749120777. This will be a great chance to get a preview of the show and feedback and suggestions will be welcome.

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News for teachers: Christmas show and free workshops

An Grianán Theatre Productions in association with Zona Dance present The NutcrackerUPDATE: ALL AVAILABLE WORKSHOP SLOTS HAVE NOW BEEN FILLED.

Join us this December for a sparkling new version of Christmas favourite The Nutcracker, and our version is for boys every bit as much as it’s for girls!

Adapted by Guy Le Jeune from the folk tales of ETA Hoffman and Alexandre Dumas and directed by choreographer Jessica Peoples of ZoNa dance, our Nutcracker is set in Donegal and brings exciting drama and dialogue to the show while retaining some of the ballet version’s more famous dance pieces, and we think your students will love it.

Like last year’s production of Peter Pan, this will be a youth led cast ages 8 to 21 and with 30 acting roles and 26 dancers it’s going to be huge!

In school workshops

In addition, we are supporting the show with in-school movement workshops which are available free of charge and will be taught by our show’s director Jessica Peoples. The workshops will take place in October or November and will include movement theatre and dance suitable for boys and girls and will explore one of the scenes of the Nutcracker where the Nutcracker soldier meets his nemesis… The Mouse King!

We expect these workshops to be filled pretty quickly so to schedule one for your class please contact Jessica directly on 086 8222189 or by eMail.

Performances Schedule:
Tues 12 to Friday 15 December at 11am. Sat 16 at 2pm and 7pm.

Special rate for schools: €8, teachers/SNAs are free. Book now on 0749120777.

The Nutcracker is produced by An Grianán Theatre in association with ZoNa Dance Co.

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Shoot The Gear – new play about the fishing community in Killybegs

An Grianán on tour: Shoot the Gear by Guy Le JeuneAn Grianán Theatre is on the road South of the Gap as part of the Donegal Bay and Bluestacks Festival. Our new production Shoot The Gear created by our Theatre Artist in Residence Guy LeJeune celebrates the stories and experiences of the Killybegs fishermen. The play which will be performed in the Fish Auction Hall on Killybegs Quay is a celebration of the fishing industry in words and music. Featuring a cast of four multi talented performers Ronan Carr, Louise Conaghan, Orlaith Gilcreest and Fionn Robinson, the show runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 September at 8 PM nightly.

The Shoot the Gear project has been facilitated by the Killybegs Fishermens Organization, whose support has proved crucial in gaining access to, and the trust of, a broad range of people connected to the industry, from fishermen and their wives and families, to buyers and sellers, net makers and menders, boatyard men, harbour staff, factory workers and more.

Tickets can be purchased on the door or in advance at our box office on 0749120777 or online here.

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Open Auditions for An Grianán Theatre’s Christmas 2017 Production


We are holding open auditions for our December production of The Nutcracker on Sun 17 September.

About the show

This is a fresh new version of the magical Christmas tale. Our Nutcracker is set in Donegal and blends drama, comedy and dance in a colourful story for family and school audiences.

There will be speaking and dance roles.

Like last year’s Christmas show Peter Pan, this will be a youth led production so we are looking for male and female performers from ages 8 to 21.

Audition date: Sun 17 September

10am to 12pm – children ages 8 to 11

12pm to 2pm – ages 12+

There is no need to prepare anything in advance.

NB: You will need to get permission to take time off school as the performance dates are during term time.

If you are not available for the performance dates below please do not audition!

Performance dates

Tues 12 to Fri 15 December at 11am

Sat 16 Dec at 2pm and 7pm

The Nutcracker is produced by An Grianán Theatre Productions in association with Zona Dance Co. Adapted by Guy Le Jeune, directed by Jessica Peoples.

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Auditions: Peter Pan

Could you be our Peter Pan?

We are looking for someone in their mid to late teens. Male or female, ability to act, sing and dance a definite plus!

We are also casting for:
The Darlings:
Wendy – female, playing age approx 12/13 years old
John – male, slightly younger than Wendy
Michael – male, playing age 8 years old.

There are a variety of other roles suitable for children ages 8+, teens and adults.

Auditions will be held on Saturday 17th September from 2.30pm – 5pm at An Grianán, it is advised that you arrive close to 2pm to fill out an information sheet prior to the audition.

The audition will take the form of a group workshop and the team are seeking proficiency in acting, movement, singing and dance.

Rehearsals will take place every Saturday afternoon.

auditions for Peter Pan Sat 17 September 2016


NB: performance schedule includes week day matinee shows so please make sure that you are able to get time off school/work.

Performance dates are Tues 13 to Sat 17 December 2016.

Transition year students could use this production towards securing their President’s Award.

This new version will be adapted by Nora Kavanagh and co-directed by her with Trudy O’Donnell.

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Brian Friel 1929-2015

[box style=”red” closable=”un-closable”]We welcome members of the public to come and sign the book of condolence. We will pass this on to Brian’s family. If you would like to sign it it please call in to the theatre’s box office.[/box]

We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Ireland’s greatest playwright and proud resident of Donegal, Brian Friel. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife Anne and their children and extended family and friends.

We will feel Brian’s loss very deeply.  He was a great friend and patron of An Grianán Theatre.  We admired his work and made it part of our brief to celebrate his close association with the theatre over the years. We took a special pride in producing his many works.  Our first An Grianán production was his play Translations which was part of our opening season in 1999. Since then we have continued to produce many of his other plays over the years including major productions of Dancing at Lughnasa, Making History as part of the Flight of the Earls Commemorations and The Home Place to celebrate his 80th birthday. We have also had productions and readings of many of other plays including Faith Healer and Molly Sweeney, Aristocrats and The Freedom of the City as well as lesser known works such as Volunteers and The Gentle Island.

Cast and crew celebrate the opening night of Translations at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny with its playwright Brian Friel (third from left). November 1999

Cast and crew celebrate the opening night of Translations with its playwright Brian Friel (third from left). November 1999

We were delighted to have had the opportunity this summer with our other arts partners to initiate the first ever Brian Friel Festival, the Lughnasa International Friel Festival,  a unique festival based in both Donegal and Belfast celebrating his life and legacy.  We are so pleased that Brian was able to experience that and to know the high esteem in which we hold him.

Brian Friel with director of An Grianán Theatre, Patricia McBride, at the Donegal Person of the Year Awards in 2010.

Brian Friel with director of An Grianán Theatre, Patricia McBride, at the Donegal Person of the Year Awards in 2010.

We will treasure our memories of Brian and the generous support he gave the theatre and the happy nights he spent here in the company of the theatre staff and actors. He was an inspiration to us in our work and we are proud to have had his friendship. Thank you Brian for the beautiful legacy of work and for putting Donegal on the international stage. “Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Patricia McBride,
Director, An Griánan Theatre

* * * * * *

Paul Boyd was kind enough to share  this lovely story of a memorable encounter with Brian shortly after the theatre opened in 1999:

In 1999 I met Brian Friel at An Grianan Theatre. It was the theatre’s inaugural season, and “Translations” was the first in-house production (my “Alice The Musical” was to be its second a month or two later).

I sat next to Brian and his wife Anne at the opening night of “Translations” – we were all skulking at the very back row, in a kind of writers hide.

At one point, Brian stood up, and the brand new seat he was sitting on had such a hair-trigger tip-up that it just wasn’t there when he sat back down again. Anne and I had to discretely pick him up off the floor and much giggling ensued, which lead to our interval and post-show chats.

He was an incredibly gracious man and over the following years when we would be in the same venue at the same time (we shared many a season) he always made a point of saying hello and claimed to be aware of my most recent work; I have no idea if he did, or if he had just scanned the brochure minutes before, but either way it was always an honour and a pleasure to be in his company.

He was our greatest living playwright. Sitting next to him at a function felt akin to sitting next to Beckett or O’Casey – nothing less than an historic privilege.

He always looked exactly how you imagined he would, he spoke fondly of his beloved Donegal, which is possibly why he always looked so much at home at An Grianan, more so than at any other theatre at which I met him.

An Grianan (which has a soft spot in my own heart anyway) will always remind me of Friel. And I can still identify the offending seat in the back row that sent the “Irish Chekov” crashing to the floor that night in 1999. And as it happens, I’m very glad that it did.

Today both Ireland and the global theatre community lost a giant of a man.

Paul Boyd,  via Facebook


(Portrait of Brian Friel ‘Renouncing Chance’ by Colin Davidson, 2010 used by kind permission of the artist for our Rediscovering Friel project for the Earagail Arts Festival, July 2011).

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Environment the Musical on RTE tonight.

Last May children from our youth theatre programme presented a new production of Annette McNelis’ litter awareness show Environment the Musical. Tonight RTE1’s Nationwide will present a special report on the show:

“We all share responsibility for protecting our environment, be it in the home recycling or by keeping our streets litter free. All over the country teams of volunteers in Tidy Town groups have the unenviable task of picking up other people’s litter. In Donegal the environmental cleanup is hitting all the right notes and it’s down to one lady who has come up with a novel idea to get litter in the bin. Mary Harte joined the young people of the “Mean, Green, Anti-Litter Machine”.

It will be broadcast at 7pm on RTE 1 and will also be available online on the RTE Player.

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Casting Call: Fiesta Auditions

We are reviving our very successful production of Fiesta this autumn and will be holding auditions to recast three of the main roles as well as some chorus positions.

Date and time:

Thursday 13th August at 7pm in An Grianan Theatre

Main Cast
2 female
1 male

Plus chorus roles

Adults only roles available.

The performance dates are Wednesday 4 to Saturday 7 November 2015.

A sell out hit at the 2014 Earagail Arts Festival, Fiesta is a celebration of the dancers, the chancers and the lovers who graced the Fiesta Ballroom, Letterkenny – the famous dancehall venue that formed a hugely important part of the social history of Donegal and the wider North West region.

Fiesta was originally commissioned for the Earagail Arts Festival as a co-production with Earagail Arts Festival, An Grianán Theatre and Donegal County Council Arts Office and supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Failte Ireland and Donegal County Council.
IMPORTANTeMail with name and contact number if you are interested in auditioning.

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