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An Opera For Your Inner Child and Your Grown-up Self

Irish National Opera, Theatre Lovett and the Abbey Theatre present Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel

Irish National Opera, Theatre Lovett and the Abbey Theatre present their national tour of Engelbert Humperdinck’s greatest hit, his heart-warming fairytale opera HANSEL AND GRETEL this spring.

After its opening run at The Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Saturday 8 – Saturday 15 February, 2020, Hansel and Gretel will be performed at An Grianán for one night only on Saturday 7 March – book now.

“Humperdinck’s music conjures just the right type of magic to ensnare us all in his world.” – Muireann Ahern, co-director

“A great starting point for anybody new to opera” – Fergus Sheil, INO Artistic Director

Irish National Opera, Theatre Lovett and the Abbey Theatre are collaborating for the first time on an exciting new production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s masterpiece, the compelling three-act opera Hansel and Gretel, reimagined in a mysterious modern setting. One of the greatest operas about children, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel is sweet and beguiling, combining childlike simplicity with heart-aching beauty. Don’t be fooled. This is a story of greed, mouth-wateringly sugar-coated.

This provocative production will be performed in English, with English surtitles, by an Irish cast of six singers and three actors, with an ensemble of seven musicians on stage

After six nights at the Abbey Theatre, this new production of the world’s favourite fairytale opera goes on a nationwide tour to nine theatres around the country.

HANSEL AND GRETEL
Hansel and Gretel, with a libretto by the composer’s sister Adelheid Wette based on the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale, was an immediate, whirlwind success at its premiere in Weimar in December 1893. A year later it had been produced in 50 theatres in Germany alone, and it quickly made its way to Dublin, where it was produced in August 1895. It’s one of the small number of operas that has an enduring appeal for children as well as adults and INO’s new production will be sung in David Pountney’s English translation.

THEATRE LOVETT
Theatre Lovett has been described by The Irish Times “one of the most imaginative and indispensable companies at work today”. Muireann Ahern, who co-directs the opera with Louis Lovett, says “We are thrilled to be sinking our teeth into Humperdinck’s delicious opera. Our penchant is for stage work that appeals to both adult and child. We are looking forward to working with Irish National Opera for the first time, and bringing our cross-generational approach to this operatic party. We will have a fresh slant on the situation of the poverty-stricken family whose children stray into a beguiling culinary underworld.”

THE ABBEY THEATRE
Graham McLaren and Neil Murray, Directors of the Abbey Theatre add “Collaboration is a key pillar of our programming – joining forces with talented artists and companies on projects that, we feel, say something about the world we live in and hold a mirror up to Irish society. We are proud to partner with Theatre Lovett and Irish National Opera to bring a fresh, new production of this beloved fairytale and fantastic opera to audiences both here at the Abbey in Dublin and across the country.”

IRISH NATIONAL OPERA
INO Artistic Director Fergus Sheil says, “I really love the work of Theatre Lovett. Both Muireann Ahern and Louis Lovett have a cheekiness and irreverence that guarantees fun, but they also have a serious understanding of how to make their work really connect with audiences. And I have always had a soft spot for Engelbert Humperdinck’s best-known opera, which was praised by some of the great figures of his time, including Richard Strauss, who conducted the first performance, and Gustav Mahler, who conducted it the following year. Hansel and Gretel seemed to me like a perfect vehicle for Muireann and Louis to begin their first operatic exploration.

“We are excited to bring an INO production to the stage of our national theatre for the first time, and with the nationwide tour, the production will have the longest run of any Irish National Opera production to date.”

IRISH CAST
Mezzo-soprano Raphaela Mangan, who sings Hansel, says, “A children’s story told through opera, what’s not to love?” And she describes the role of Hansel as “one of my favourite roles to sing.” Soprano Amy Ní Fhearraigh, the production’s Gretel, says “It’s the perfect opera for audiences young and old with its combination of lush but approachable and playful music. And of course, it’s a fairytale story that everyone knows and loves.”

The all-Irish cast also includes Miriam Murphy, who makes her INO stage debut as Mother. Ben McAteer, whose INO debut as the Count in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro was described by Opera Journal as “perfectly measured for technique and character,” sings Father. Cork soprano Emma Nash, praised by the Sunday Independent for her “powerfully soaring Amore” in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for INO, sings the Dew Fairy and Sandman. Carrickfergus mezzo-soprano Carolyn Dobbin makes her INO debut as the Witch.

Performance date: Sat 7 March at 8pm. Tickets are €30/€27 with special discounts for families and under 18s. Find out more here.

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Letterkenny Trad Week 2020 – Side-splitting and heartwarming play for Trad Week

‘Trad’ by Mark Doherty for Letterkenny stage

AN Grianán Theatre hosts a side-splitting, heartwarming play as part of the sixth annual Letterkenny Trad Week line-up, 19th to 26th January 2020.

Following their highly-acclaimed 2018 tour, and their extended sold-out run at The Abbey Theatre, Livin’ Dred Theatre present the award-winning ‘Trad’ by Mark Doherty, an hilarious, absurd and poignant tale of a 100-year-old Irishman and his father on Thursday, 23rd January.

Actor and playwright Mark Doherty said he’d love to say that he intended to write Trad, that he conceived the idea, committed it to the page, and sat back and watched as it came to fruition as he had hoped and foreseen.

“I always imagined that this is how it works. And maybe it is, for great playwrights. My journey was a little different,” he told RTÉ Culture earlier this year.

“Trad began its life as a short radio piece- a two-hander, and little more than an extended sketch. It featured two ancient, bickering characters, father and son, bound together, mutually dependent, full of love and resentment equally, in an undefined time and place (anyone ever come across a fella called Beckett?). Anyhow, it went out on RTÉ radio, and that was that.

“But I soon realised there was more to be done with it. The manuscript lived in a bottom drawer for months, but I could hear the characters screaming at me still. I would go to bed at night and re-run bits of scenes in my head. Or wake up to find the father and son had infiltrated my dreams.

“I could hear them with great clarity. So out came the script again.

“Without meaning to sound silly, this is a beautiful and privileged position to be in: the feeling that the characters are leading the writing process. On the rare days when this happens, it really is a thrill to go to work.

“Around this time, Rough Magic and the Dublin Fringe Festival came up with an initiative for new playwrights, called Seeds. In this environment, with lots of help and encouragement, my little play developed further. A year and a million rewrites later and I felt Trad, as a full-length stage piece, was ready to show to somebody.”

Featuring Clare Barrett, Gus McDonagh and Seamus O’Rourke, live original music by Jim Doherty, and directed by award-winning actor Aaron Monaghan, ‘Trad’ at An Grianán on Thursday, 23rd January is not to be missed.

Further festival highlights include Sharon Shannon, The Lisa O’Neill Trio, Clann Mhic Ruairí, Paul Harrigan, Laoise Kelly & Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn, Lemoncello and The Straddy Session.

Letterkenny Trad Week, 19th to 26th January 2020, is brought to you by the Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny and An Grianán Theatre, with the kind support of Donegal County Council, The Donegal News (Media Partner), Music Network, Arts Council of Ireland and Earagail Arts Festival.

Tickets are available from regionalculturalcentre.com, angrianan.com, Tel 07491 20777, on in person from An Grianán Theatre’s Box Office, Port Road, Letterkenny.

Letterkenny Trad Week 2020

Lisa O’Neill Trio & Lemoncello
Sunday, 19th January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Anxo Lorenzo, Jim Murray, Dónal O’Connor & Jack Talty
Monday, 20th January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Clann Mhic Ruairi & Guests
Tuesday, 21st January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Laoise Kelly + Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn & The Straddy Session
Wednesday, 22nd January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Trad
Thursday, 23rd January, 8pm
An Grianan Theatre – €18/€16
Book now!

Xylouris White & Navá
Friday, 24th January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Paul Harrigan, Tim Edey & Friends
Album Launch
Saturday 25th January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Sharon Shannon
Sunday 26th January, 8pm
An Grianán Theatre – €25
Book now!

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Letterkenny Trad Week 2020 – Sharon Shannon takes you back to 1989

Music spanning three decades from legendary musician

AN Grianán Theatre is delighted to welcome one of the biggest names in Irish trad to cross over into popular music for the upcoming sixth annual Letterkenny Trad Week (19th to 26th January).

Sharon Shannon

Legendary button accordion player Sharon Shannon will be closing the 2020 festival at the Letterkenny theatre on Sunday, 26th January.

In June 1989 Sharon was rehearsing and demoing tracks for her first album, when she was whisked away to the world famous Glastonbury festival with The Waterboys.

In the 30 years that have elapsed since then, Sharon has recorded ten studio albums; five live albums, release four four ‘Best of’ compilations and three live concert DVDs. Sharon has received many awards, including being the youngest ever recipient of the Meteor Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

She has collaborated, recorded and toured with everyone from Willy Nelson, Bono, Johnny Depp, Shane McGowan, John Prine to Nigel Kennedy and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Sharon has also had many hit records including The Galway Girl with Steve Earle, It’s Christmas Time Again with Wallis Bird and Go Tell the Devil with Imelda May.

In the mid-1980s, Shannon studied the accordion with Karen Tweed and the fiddle with Frank Custy, and performed with the band Arcady, of which she was a founding member.

In May 1989, Sharon began work on her first album at Winkles Hotel Kinvara with producer John Dunford. This recording session lasted three days and featured guest appearances by some of the biggest names in Irish music, including Donal Lunny, Gerry O’Berne, Mary Shannon, Eoin O’Neill, The Waterboys/ Mike Scott and U2’s Adam Clayton. Last month, the musician released 16 tracks recorded at this time that have never been released on an album aptly called The Winkles Tapes.

Sharon’s Letterkenny Trad Week performance at An Grianán Theatre, for which she will be accompanied by Alan Connor on keys/guitar, will showcase music from her back catalogue beginning in 1989 right through to the present day.
Alan is a multi instrumentalist who has served as right hand man to International Artists Sharon Shannon & Jack L over the past ten years.

He has toured extensively all over the world including the USA, Australia, Asia, Canada and all over Europe.
Alan has also played with artists such as Imelda May, Shane McGowan, Something Happens, Mary Black, Steve Earle, Mary Coughlan, Frances Black, Finbar Furey and many more.

Further festival highlights in January include Lisa O’Neill, Clann Mhic Ruairí, Paul Harrigan, Laoise Kelly & Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn, Donegal/Carlow duo Lemoncello and Donegal-based group The Straddy Sessions.

Letterkenny Trad Week, 19th to 26th January 2020, is brought to you by the Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny and An Grianán Theatre, with the kind support of Donegal County Council, The Donegal News (Media Partner), Music Network, Arts Council of Ireland and Earagail Arts Festival.

Tickets are available from regionalculturalcentre.com, angrianan.com, Tel 07491 20777, on in person from An Grianán Theatre’s Box Office, Port Road, Letterkenny.

Letterkenny Trad Week 2020

Lisa O’Neill Trio & Lemoncello
Sunday, 19th January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Anxo Lorenzo, Jim Murray, Dónal O’Connor & Jack Talty
Monday, 20th January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Clann Mhic Ruairi & Guests
Tuesday, 21st January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Laoise Kelly + Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn & The Straddy Session
Wednesday, 22nd January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Trad
Thursday, 23rd January, 8pm
An Grianan Theatre – €18/€16
Book now!

Xylouris White & Navá
Friday, 24th January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Paul Harrigan, Tim Edey & Friends
Album Launch
Saturday 25th January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Sharon Shannon
Sunday 26th January, 8pm
An Grianán Theatre – €25
Book now!

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Job Vacancy: Front of House Supervisor 2020

 

Come work with us in 2020!

An Grianán Theatre is currently celebrating our 20th Year with a busy programme of events and activities and we have a vacancy coming up for a Front of House Supervisor. This is a pivotal role in the provision of a positive customer experience in the theatre.

JOB DESCRIPTION

JOB TITLE Front of House Supervisor

EMPLOYER – An Grianán Theatre Management CLG, (An Grianán Theatre), Port Road, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal F92 RV1F

GENERAL STATEMENT OF DUTIES

The main role of Front of House (FOH) Supervisor is to ensure that there is a safe, efficient and hospitable Front of House environment for all users of the theatre including patrons artists and companies. The FOH Supervisor will ensure that An Grianán is offering the highest level of customer care to all users. The Front of House includes the theatre’s bar, foyers, toilets, rehearsal room, stairs, lifts and auditorium.

This role is responsible directly to the Director and requires close liaison with the Box Office/Marketing Manager, the Community Employment Supervisor, the Cafe Bar Manager, the Technical Manager and technical staff.

The FOH Supervisor must also become familiar with the theatre’s box office system, Ticketsolve and with the internal telephone system. This training will be provided. A familiarity with the theatre’s programme of events is also expected.

SPECIFIC DUTIES

To supervise other FOH staff in the delivery of their duties eg. directing the audience to their seats, serving drinks, selling merchandise including programmes and confectionery and if necessary to step in to offer support to them at busy periods.  Front of House Staff includes Bar staff, Ushers, Box Office, and Cafe staff.  It is essential that the FOH Supervisor is familiar with other members of staff responsibilities and ensures that their duties are fulfilled to the highest standard.

Greet members of the public and visitors to the theatre, handle enquiriesin person and on the telephone

To ensure that all areas of FOH are operating efficiently –  ensuring all FOH areas including toilets are clean and tidy and stocked with materials promoting forthcoming shows

Direct members of the public to the theatre’s facilities.

To support the duties of the box office staff, handle cash, cheques and credit/debit card transactions reconciling sales to money taken at the end of each day for box office sales and merchandise sales where appropriate.

Liaise with the technical staff to ensure the prompt start of all performances.

To conjunction with the technical staff to ensure that the needs of patrons with physical or intellectual disabilities are met for their full enjoyment of their visit to An Grianán Theatre eg. Wheelchair users are accommodated, induction loop working etc.

When requested to assist with publicity mail shots, invitation lists etc. and help monitor the customer database for errors and changes

To act as the appointed officer in the theatre in the event of any emergency situation such as customer illness, fire and bomb alerts and to act as the Liaison officer with the emergency services on behalf of the theatre in such a situation and to evacuate the theatre if necessary

To deal with complaints or dissatisfied patrons and ensure any issues are communicated to the appropriate member of staff.

To write up an Incident Report detailing any incident or accident involving a member of staff for the public for the attention of the theatre’s Health and Safety Officer

To lock up the theatre buildings as required and ensure that the security alarm is activated.

To have an ongoing responsibility to undertake necessary training eg. First Aid, Box Office, Customer Care etc as appropriate

Carry out any other duties, which reasonably fall within the broad terms of the principle responsibilities

Terms : 20 hours per week, mainly evenings and weekend  work.

Person Specification

The ideal candidate will be a mature individual with previous experience in the hospitality sector.

Please apply in writing with your CV and a covering letter outlining your suitability for the role. Send your application for the attention of Patricia McBride, Director, An Grianán Theatre, Port Road, Letterkenny, Co Donegal F92 RV1F or by email to angrianandirector@gmail.com

Dead Line for applications: Monday 13th January 2020 at 2 PM.

 

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Letterkenny Trad Week 2020

Letterkenny Trad Week 2020

LETTERKENNY Trad Week has just unveiled its full line-up for January 2020 featuring a host of homegrown and international talent.

Now going into its sixth year, the annual event continues to go from strength to strength attracting a high calibre of musicianship.

Hosted by the Regional Cultural Centre and An Grianán Theatre, the event aims to promote Irish traditional music, as well as giving you a flavour of traditions from around the world.

This year’s line-up includes Sharon Shannon, Lisa O’Neill, Clann Mhic Ruairí, Paul Harrigan & Tim Edey, Laoise Kelly & Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn, Lemoncello, The Straddy Sessions, Xylouris White, Navá and more.

Kicking off this week-long celebration of Irish and world music will be renowned Cavan singer/songwriter Lisa O’Neill on Sunday, 19th January, in the RCC. Support on the night will come from Donegal/Carlow duo Lemoncello, Laura Quirke and Claire Kinsella, who are making their first appearance in Claire’s native Letterkenny.

Letterkenny Trad Week will come to a close with a big concert at An Grianán with legendary button accordion player Sharon Shannon on Sunday, 26h January.

In addition to hosting Sharon Shannon, who will be accompanied accompanied by Alan Connor on keys/guitar, An Grianán is also hosting a fantastic play during Trad Week.

Following their highly-acclaimed 2018 tour, and their extended sold-out run at The Abbey Theatre, Livin’ Dred Theatre present the award-winning ‘Trad’ by Mark Doherty at An Grianán Theatre, an hilarious, absurd and poignant tale of a 100-year-old Irishman… and his father! Together they set out to discover the son they never knew he had.

Jeremy Howard, General Manager at the RCC, said: “Letterkenny Trad Week has not only hosted some of the biggest names in Irish traditional and international folk music, it has also brought together musicians for collaborations and introduced new acts.

“This year is no different as we look forward to welcoming Music Network’s quartet of Galician and Irish artists, Anxo Lorenzo gaita/whistles), Jim Murray (guitar), Dónal O’Connor (fiddle) and Jack Talty (concertina) and hosting the first-ever performance of the Strady Session.

“The new Donegal-based ensemble includes singer/guitarist Michael Gallanagh from Inishowen, fiddle player Barry McLaughlin from Tyrone, Monaghan concertina player Róna Dinkin, flute player John Lee from Leitrim and fiddle player Séamus McGuire from Sligo.”

An Grianán’s Director, Patricia McBride said: “I am really delighted that An Grianán is again hosting Trad Week in association with RCC in 2020. It’s a great start to the year’s programme.

“We have a superb line-up of artists and events throughout the week, an absolute feast for music fans in the north-west.”

Letterkenny Trad Week, 19th to 26th January 2020, is brought to you by the Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny and An Grianán Theatre, with the kind support of Donegal County Council, The Donegal News (Media Partner), Music Network, Arts Council of Ireland and Earagail Arts Festival.

Tickets are available from regionalculturalcentre.com, angrianan.com, Tel 07491 20777, on in person from An Grianán Theatre’s Box Office, Port Road, Letterkenny.

Lisa O’Neill Trio & Lemoncello
Sunday, 19th January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Anxo Lorenzo, Jim Murray, Dónal O’Connor & Jack Talty
Monday, 20th January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Clann Mhic Ruairi & Guests
Tuesday, 21st January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Laoise Kelly + Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn & The Straddy Session
Wednesday, 22nd January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Trad
Thursday, 23rd January, 8pm
An Grianan Theatre – €18/€16
Book now!

Xylouris White & Navá
Friday, 24th January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Paul Harrigan, Tim Edey & Friends
Album Launch
Saturday 25th January, 8pm
Regional Cultural Centre – €15/€12
Book now!

Sharon Shannon
Sunday 26th January, 8pm
An Grianán Theatre – €25
Book now!

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Christmas Box Office Opening Hours 2019

Christmas at An Grianan

Mon 16 Dec 10am to 5pm

Tues 17 Dec 10am to 7pm DMEP Christmas Festival Concert at 7pm

Wed 18 Dec 10am to 5pm, 6pm to 8pm Ballet Ireland’s Swan Lake at 8pm

Thur 19 Dec 10am to 5pm – our last day for posting vouchers and tickets in time for Christmas

Fri 20 Dec 10am to 5pm, 6pm to 8pm, Mickey Joe Harte & Rory Gallagher’s Christmas Concert at 8pm

Sat 21 Dec 6pm to 8pm, The High Kings at 8pm,

Sun 22 Dec Closed

Mon 23 Dec 10am to 5pm

Christmas Eve Closed

Christmas Day Closed

St Stephen’s Day Closed

Fri 27 Dec Closed

Sat 28 Dec 6pm to 8pm – In Their Thousands at 8pm

Sun 29 Dec 6pm to 8pm The Fureys at 8pm

Mon 30 Dec Closed

Tues 31 Dec Closed

Wed 1 Jan  Closed

Thur 2 Jan Closed

Fri 3 Jan Closed

Sat 4 Jan Closed

Sun 5 Jan  Box office open 3pm to 5pm Nollaig na mBan at 5pm

Please note that any box office queries received after Mon 23 December will not be dealt with until normal box office hours resume on Mon 6 January.

Our gift vouchers make a lovely Christmas for the theatre-goer in your life and come wrapped up in these luxurious gift wallets. You can buy them online here or in person at our box office. You can choose to have posted in a deluxe gift wallet or print them at home.

Any postal orders received after Thur 19 December will not be posted until normal box office hours resume on Wed 2 January.

If you’ve miss the last post for sending a gift why not send a digital gift voucher instead – you can buy one online here.

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An Grianán @ 20: Birth of a Theatre

Architectural scale model of An Grianán Theatre.

Above: Architectural scale model of An Grianán Theatre.

As we celebrate 20 years of An Grianán here is an extract from the souvenir brochure which was published to mark the official opening of the theatre in 1999. It gives a brief history of the community effort to bring An Grianán Theatre into existence:

“As one might expect for a project of this importance, the dream of having a purpose built theatre for Letterkenny and the north of County Donegal has been around a long time. It was only in the late 1980s, however, that a number of factors came together which allowed the plans to eventually reach fruition.

“In 1985 a committee was formed in Letterkenny to promote the building of a theatre and arts centre. At the same time Donegal County Council was finalising plans for a new Central Library, and following a series of meetings over the winter of 1985/6 between the local committee – soon to evolve into the Earagail Arts Group – and the County Librarian and other Council officials, the then Assistant County Manager proposed to the council that a cultural complex, involving a theatre, arts centre and central library be built on a Council-owned site. The site in question was the Rectory field, where An Grianán Theatre is now located, and which had been bought in 1983 by the Council from the Representative Church Body of the Church of Ireland as the location from the Library. This proposal was endorsed by the Council and in September 1987 fully developed and costed plans – costing just over £2M (€2.5M) for the theatre and arts centre – were submitted to the Department of the Taoiseach, the Arts Council, Bord Fáilte and the new established International Fund for Ireland. The theatre design evolved from the expressed needs of the local community, the overall approach was greatly influenced by the late Ray McAnally, Donegal’s most accomplished actor, and the detailed design of the stage and backstage areas owed much to the people involved in the local drama movement.

“The National Lottery had been established earlier in 1987, and hopes were high that through a combination of this and other sources Letterkenny would receive the necessary funding. In the event, however, the allocation in November 1987 of £200,000 (approx €254,000) left the Council in somewhat of a quandary – enough to keep the project alive, but too little to begin work.

“when a preacher comes to town first he build his congregation, then he builds his church”. Brian Friel

“Instead of celebration it was back to the drawing board. A number of options were considered, including building the complex in the designated area of the town, with a view to attracting a major developer, but nothing came of the idea. There the matter rested until May 1990, when the council decided to proceed with the plan in two phases. The first phase, would be the building of the Central Library and Arts Centre on the site of the former Literary Institute at Lower Main St, and the second would be the building of the theatre. The Central Library and Arts Centre duly went ahead, and is now in its fifth year of service. While there was some concern that putting the theatre on the back burner might mean that it would not be built for a long time, if ever, local support for the project never wavered, and amongst other initiatives, Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce became involved in trying to turn that support into practical results. Happily the picture was to improve radically, just a few years later.

“The decision by the newly formed government in 1993 to create the first ever cabinet post of Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, was to radically change the arts landscape of the country. Soon after taking office Michael D. Higgins, TD, the first Minister to fill the post, announced the Cultural Development Incentive Scheme, offering up to 75% funding for theatres, arts centres and museums. The Council quickly decided to seek funding under the CDIS, and commissioned new plans for a theatre at the Rectory Field, which had been enlarged by the purchase of the site fronting the Port Road. The plans were submitted to the government in February 1995, and following revisions suggested by the Department, and a visit to Letterkenny by the Minister – no stranger to Donegal as a frequent speaker at the MaGill Summer School in Glenties – Minister Higgins announced the allocation of £1.5M (approx €1.9M) to the project in February 1996.

“This was the cause of great celebration in the County, but still left a sizeable amount sum to be raised locally, by the local authorities, and the community. It was agreed that this would be borne more less equally by Donegal County, Letterkenny Urban District Council and local fund-raising. The North West Theatre Project had been formed in June 1995 form the various local drama groups and other interested parties, and it was this enterprising group which agreed to spearhead the fund-raising drive that everyone knew would be needed.

“Finalising the detailed plans, not least the cost plans, and examining the various tenders received took another two years – most of it spent cutting our cloth to suit our measure – the original cost of £3.3M (€4.2M) had to pared back to nearer £2M (€2.5M). The sense of achievement and anticipation was tangible when a large crowd of Councillors, officials and members of the North West Theatre Project gathered in the Rectory Field in April 1998 to witness the turning of the sod, and the beginning of the final phase of realising the dream of a theatre for Letterkenny and the Northwest.

“Back in 1987 two members of the Errigal Arts Group went to see Brian Friel to enlist his support. His advice was “when a preacher comes to town first he build his congregation, then he builds his church”. Looking at the programme for the first few months at An Grianán, Donegal can say it has its ‘congregation’ and its ‘church’.

“12 years in planning, 18 months in building, the dream is now a reality!”

Originally published in November 1999

The North West Theatre Project

Billy Patterson, President
Paddy O’Connor, Chairperson
Pluincéad Ó Fearraigh, Vice-Chairperson
Mary Harte, Secretary
Joe Glenfield, Treasurer
Edwin McCloughan PRO
Committee: Geraldine Callaghan, Phil Dalton, Kathleen Doherty, Danny McGlinchey, Dan McTeague, Damien O’Reilly.

The North West Theatre Project, made up entirely of volunteers, was central to making An Grianán Theatre a reality. As well as their success in fundraising – raising £225,000 (€285,700) in a town the size of Letterkenny was surely a stunning achievement – they inspired the local community about what a theatre can be in the life of the community.

Project Team

Liam Kelly, Assistant County Manager
Liam Ronayne, County Librarian
Patricia McBride, Director, An Grianán
Michael Swanton, Administrative Officer, Housing & Building
Peter Coyle, Town Clerk, Letterkenny
Traolach Ó Fionnáin, Arts Officer

An Grianán Board (1999)

Sean McCormick, Chairperson
Cllr. Jean Crossan
Cllr. Jim Lynch
Cllr. Bernard McGlinchey
Cllr. J.J. Reid
Tadhg Culbert
Phil Dalton
Pluincéad Ó Fearraigh
Liam Ronayne

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6th Donegal Chamber Music Festival

Saturday 12th to Sunday 20th of October 2019

Venues: Glebe Gallery and House, An Grianan Theatre, Rockhill House, Conwal Parish Church, Letterkenny.
Book online here

Saturday 12th October 12.30pm – The Glebe Gallery, Churchill.
Donegal Junior String Orchestra’s 10th Anniversary Concert – Festival’s Opening Concert
The Donegal Junior String Orchestra celebrate a decade of music-making at their popular annual family concert in the Glebe Gallery courtyard. Past and present members will play together and also in chamber groups. A special feature is a performance from the newly-formed Donegal Town String Quartet. This concert is part of Wainfest, Donegal’s arts and books festival for children.
Free Admission – No booking required

Sunday 13th October, 5pm – Glebe House, Churchill
“Tangos, Songs and Dances” with the Szabó-Yélamo String Duo
(Orsolya Szabó-Yélamo, violin; Víctor Yélamo, cello)
Donegal-based International String Duo return to the Glebe House for another intimate chamber music recital with a programme of classical pieces, well-known tangos and popular songs.
Admission: €15 (include wine and tapas at the Tea Rooms afterwards)
Booking essential. Tickets in advance only from An Grianán Box Office (074) 912 0777

Tuesday 15th of October, 8pm – An Grianán Theatre
Vivaldi: Griselda, RV 718 – Irish National Opera
The complications of royal marriage. A commoner become Queen. A King obsessed with testing her virtue. The brilliance of Venice’s most famous composer brought to the opera stage.
High jinks in high places in the first Irish production of an opera by Vivaldi (1678 – 1741), one of the world’s favourite composers. Irish National Opera features rising English mezzo-soprano Katie Bray in the title role, and also prize-winning Belfast mezzo Sinead O’Kelly, with music from the Irish Baroque Orchestra. Sung in Italian with English surtitles
Admission Tickets: €30 /€27

Athraonadh by Aisling Óir Harp Duo (Nodlaig Ní Bhrollaigh & Lucy Kerr)

Thursday 17th October, 8pm – Rockhill House
Athraonadh by Aisling Óir Harp Duo (Nodlaig Ní Bhrollaigh & Lucy Kerr)
Athraonadh means the refraction of light or sound that creates a change in a celestial object. The repertoire’s source is Gaelic, re-invigorated by contemporary arrangements and alternative rhythms along with new works by Nodlaig & Lucy. The two classically and traditionally trained harpers are from the Roe Valley area and are the directors of the Ruaidhrí Dall Harp School based in Dungiven Castle.
Admission: €15 (include tea/coffee and tray bakes afterwards)
Booking essential. Tickets in advance only from An Grianán Box Office (074) 912 0777

Sunday 20th October, 2pm – Conwal Parish Church, Letterkenny
Donegal Chamber Orchestra at Conwal Church – Festival’s Closing Concert
The Donegal Chamber Orchestra returns to Conwal Church to close this year’s Chamber Music with a Sunday afternoon recital, the latest in the classical concert series ‘Sundays in Conwal’.
The programme will include music by Albinoni, Elgar, Kreisler and the world premiere of ‘Plan of a Piece’ for flute, strings and speaker, based on a text by Jane Austen, specially composed for the occasion by Derek Ball. The Orchestra will be joined on the stage by actress Maura Logue reading Jane Austen’s text. This concert is part of the 4th Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter Literary Festival.
Admission: €10/€5. Tickets will be available at the door from 1.30pm

The 6th Donegal Chamber Music Festival is presented by the Donegal Chamber Music Society and Donegal Music Education Partnership, in association with An Grianan Theatre, The Glebe Gallery and House, Rockhill House and Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter.

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Free Open Days: Circus and Bingo!

Bingo Wings Open Day. Photo by Caleb Purcell.

The Bingo Wings Project – bringing young and old together through circus and bingo!

Fidget Feet present their latest show Bingo Wings at An Grianan this October and as part of the build up to the show they are hosting free open days which promise to be lots of fun for all ages.

Come along to any of the open days where you will get to spend an afternoon trying out some fun circus skills, have a cuppa, make new friends and of course play some bingo!

This is suitable for all ages, everyone welcome, from children to senior citizens.

Open Days

Times: 4.30pm to 7pm

  • Sun 22 Sept An Grianán
  • Sun 29 Sept Loreto Convent
  • Sun 6 Oct An Grianán
  • Sun 13 Oct An Grianán

Bingo Wings Open Day. Photo by Caleb Purcell.

Bingo Wings is Fidget Feet’s new show which you can see at An Grianán on Fri 18 and Sat 19 October – find out more here.

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Want to work with us? Vacancies on our CE scheme.

Stage technician Peter Rose. Photo by Paul McGuckin.

We have a number of places available on our Community Employment Scheme in various departments including box office, house keeping and technical.

Community Employment Rates and Conditions apply. Please note the eligible age for participation on Community Employment is 21 years. Please contact your local Department of Social Protection office for details of any exceptions to this.

To apply please send your CV and PPS number to:

Martina Murphy

Community Employment Supervisor

An Grianán Theatre

Port Rd

Letterkenny

Co Donegal

eMail

0749120777 (press 2 for admin)

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