irish theatre

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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

Read more

The Cripple of Inishmaan: A Closer Look

A big Hollywood production is coming…no, not Star Wars – this is the storyline to Martin McDonagh’s brilliant comedy drama The Cripple of Inishmaan which comes to An Grianán Theatre on Sat 9 April.

Set in 1934, on the remote island of Inishmaan off the west coast of Ireland, there is great excitement when news arrives that a Hollywood film is being made on the neighbouring island of Inishmore. The one person who wants to be in the film more than anybody is young Cripple Billy, if only to break away from the bitter tedium of his daily life.

The Cripple Of Inishmaan examines an ordinary coming of age in extraordinary circumstances and shows once more that playwright Martin McDonagh is master of the deepest, darkest and most powerful humour.

Bardic Theatre present Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan, April 2016 An Grianan Theatre

First produced in 1996, The Cripple of Inishmaan quickly became a modern Irish classic and was previously presented at An Grianán by Druid Theatre with Aaron Monaghan as Cripple Billy. More recently it enjoyed West End and Broadway success with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe as Billy.

Like The Pillowman, another McDonagh hit which will be coming to An Grianán in the autumn, The Cripple of Inishmaan is a play about stories and storytelling. An acknowledged comic masterpiece, it is full of wonderful dialogue, memorable characters, and many surprises that will keep audiences in suspense to the end.

Bardic Theatre present Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan, April 2016 An Grianan Theatre

Born in London, to Irish parents, Martin McDonagh has achieved considerable acclaim as a playwright, screenwriter and film director. His films include the Oscar winning short Six Shooter and the BAFTA winning, Oscar nominated comedy In Bruges. His most famous play is The Beauty Queen of Leenane, a multi-Tony award winning hit which was part of the renowned Leenane Trilogy with A Skull in Connemara and The Lonesome West.

Bardic Theatre present Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan, April 2016 An Grianan Theatre

This production comes from Northern Irish company Bardic Theatre who are making their first visit to An Grianán. Over the last 30 years, Bardic Theatre has become widely recognised as a professional community theatre, not only for its top quality professional productions which have nurtured a ream of household theatre & show-biz names, but mostly for its ground-breaking community impact in Mid Ulster.

The Cripple of Inishmaan
Saturday 9 April at 8pm
Tickets: €15/€12 Book now!

Read more

Ireland Celebrates Its Greatest Living Playwright With New Two-Part Festival

The inaugural Lughnasa International Friel Festival (LIFF) will take place between 20-31st August 2015, in celebration of Ireland’s greatest living playwright, Brian Friel. In what is to become the only cross-border annual cultural festival celebration, the LIFF festival, directed by Sean Doran, will feature an extensive multi-arts and multi-disciplinary programme of performances, talks, discussions, music, dance and food in both Donegal (20-23rd August) and Belfast (27-31st August).

Given our long association with the work of Brian Friel, we at An Grianán Theatre are very pleased to be a partner in this exciting new festival as our director Patricia McBride explains: “I am delighted to see the launch of the inaugural Friel Festival this August. An Grianán Theatre was supportive of the festival from the start and was instrumental in its development. We have enjoyed a very warm relationship with Brian Friel and have produced many of his plays since the theatre first opened and it is a pleasure to see the man and his work honoured in this way.  The Festival will make a wonderful addition to Donegal’s cultural calendar.”

At the heart of the programme every year will be a signature production of one of Friel’s key plays presented in both locations, and from which the themes and tone of the festival will be drawn. This year it will be Dancing At Lughnasa, and the Lyric Theatre Belfast will present a major new production which will premiere in  An Grianán on Thur 20 August and run for four days before transferring to the Lyric in Belfast.

Celebrating the life and work of Friel in the two places most important and most influential to his work, Donegal and Northern Ireland, the two-part festival will respectively be entitled ‘Donegal, Welcome to Friel Country’ and ‘Belfast, Here I Come!’. The physical landscape of these places will be an important element to the overall festival experience with programming in sites including community halls, a pier, a peace wall, an island, a bridge, schools and churches.

President Michael D Higgins said “It is entirely fitting that this festival is taking place on a cross-border basis, given (Brian) Friel’s experience of living north and south of the border. In a certain sense, Ballybeg is a metonym for the island of Ireland, if not the wider world – a literary device through which universal questions are addressed by examining the individual and the local.  I wish all those involved in this project every success.”

Ireland celebrates Brian Friel, its greatest living playwright with  new two-part festival:  the Lughnasa International Friel Festival (LIFF),  Donegal and Belfast August 2015.  Photo by Bobbie Hanvey.

Ireland celebrates Brian Friel, its greatest living playwright with new two-part festival: the Lughnasa International Friel Festival (LIFF), Donegal and Belfast August 2015. Photo by Bobbie Hanvey.

Donegal, Welcome to Friel Country

Starting on Thursday 20 August, the first chapter of the celebration will open with a journey across the Foyle estuary from Magilligan to Greencastle, Co Donegal, where Brian Friel lives, launching four days of unique events and performances that evoke the relationship between the writer and the place. These include an opening lecture given by Fintan O’Toole at The Guildhall Derry, the setting for Friel’s play, Freedom of the City introduced by Gary McKeone*.

Belfast, Here I Come

The festival then moves on to Belfast from 27 – 31 August, with celebrations, many of them free, including classical and traditional music, five open air stages for dancing, a harvest food festival, Belfast’s first ever kite flying festival and Amongst Women. Curated by Deputy Artistic Director, Liam Browne, Amongst Women is an all women talks programme featuring amongst many others, Shami Chakrabarti, Director, UK Liberty; Kamila Shamsie, Pakistani novelist and commentator; Kathy Lette, comedian and author; Mary Portas, retail guru; Ahdaf Soueif, Egyptian novelist and political and cultural commentator, and Sandi Toksvig, writer, presenter, comedian and politician.

“universal appeal”

President Bill Clinton, Founder of the Clinton Foundation & 42nd President of the United States who has quoted Friel in his speeches said “Friel’s work is an Irish treasure for the entire world. Although many of his plays are set in his small town of Ballybeg, the themes and issues explored in them—identity, family, and conflict—have a universal appeal. It is his extraordinary understanding of people, their motivations and their dreams, and their sense of themselves and others that keeps pulling us back to Friel again and again.”

During the festival, Queen’s University Belfast will launch the first Brian Friel Summer School in Redcastle, Inishowen, County Donegal from 24 – 26 August, providing opportunities for students to experience the work of the writer, right in the heart of ‘Friel Country’. Queen’s has the only theatre in the world named after Brian Friel.

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

An Grianán Theatre has a long association with Brian Friel. Pictured is the cast and crew celebrating the opening night of An Grianán’s production of Translations with Brian Friel (third from left) in November 1999.

‘Donegal County Council is delighted to support and to work with the inaugural Lughnasa International Friel Festival to explore, interpret and celebrate the work of one Ireland’s finest living playwrights. A much-loved and valued member of our community, we are proud that he has made his home here. There is no better way to enjoy the plays of Friel than here among the townlands of Donegal, that have so inspired his writing.’  Mícheál Uas. ó hÉanaigh, Director of Service, Community, Culture and Planning Development, Donegal County Council.

Northern Ireland’s Culture Minister Carál Nί Chuilίn said; “It is fitting that one of Ireland’s greatest ever playwrights is being honoured with an annual festival and I congratulate Sean Doran on making this happen in an innovative and exciting manner.  Brian Friel’s rich storytelling prowess has enriched all our lives and I’m sure that this will be a festival that will do him proud.”

Commenting on the festival programme Brian Friel said, “If you want a festival that is tame and conventional and mildly entertaining don’t ask Sean Doran to organise it. Witness his Beckett Festival in Enniskillen – it is wild and imaginative and creative and riveting. I have total confidence he’ll do the same with the Friel Festival.”

Left to right: Miche Doherty, Conleth Hill, Ian McElhinney and Stuart Graham in Brian Friel's 'The Home Place at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny. The Home Place was a co-production with the Lyric Theatre, Belfast and was the major drama highlight of our tenth anniversary celebrations. Jan/Feb 2009.Photo: Declan Doherty . All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Left to right: Miche Doherty, Conleth Hill, Ian McElhinney and Stuart Graham in Brian Friel’s ‘The Home Place at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny in Jan 2009. The Home Place was a co-production with the Lyric Theatre, Belfast and was the major drama highlight of our tenth anniversary celebrations.  We are delighted to welcome the Lyric back this August with Dancing at Lughnasa. Photo: Declan Doherty. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Follow the festival happenings on Twitter @LughnasalntFF and on Facebook/lughnasainternationalfrielfestival using #LIFF2015

 BOX OFFICES OPEN 29TH JULY – DETAILS:

·         Tickets for ‘Donegal, Welcome to Friel Country’ Events

An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny. + 353 (0) 74 9120777. http://www.angrianan.com/

·         Tickets for ‘Belfast, Here I Come!’ Events

Visit Belfast Welcome Centre, Belfast, + 44 (0) 28 90246609. http://visit-belfast.com/

PRINCIPAL FUNDING PARTNER : Belfast City Council

FUNDING SUPPORTERS : Donegal County Council, Tourism NI, DHA (Department of Heritage and the Arts ROI), DARD (Department of Agriculture and Rural Development NI), Arts Council Ireland, Arts Council Northern Ireland, An Grianan Theatre, Lyric Theatre Belfast.

*Brian Friel dedicated his last and final play ‘The Home Place’ to Gary McKeone.

 

Read more