Digital Partners for The Enemy Within

Image shows a monk in front of a warrior

Announcing our Digital Partners for the online presentation of The Enemy Within!

In addition to our live dates (Tues 23 to Sat 27 Nov, preview Sun 21) we are also making The Enemy Within available to watch in your own home between 2nd and 5th December right here at and at the websites of our digital tour partners:

Backstage Theatre
Droichead Arts Centre
Hawk’s Well Theatre
Lime Tree Theatre
Lyric Theatre
Pavilion Theatre
Siamsa Tíre

NB: Please check venue websites for more details as dates vary.

Starring Donegal native Seán McGinley in the lead role of Columba/Colmcille, our production of The Enemy Within is one of the key events of the Colmcille 1500 commemorations, marking the life and legacy of Colmcille 1500 years on from his birth.

Directed by fellow Donegal native Caitríona McLaughlin, the newly announced Artistic Director of the Abbey Theatre, the production will welcome in person audiences to An Grianán, and will also be available to watch as a digital production from home.

A major early work by Friel, who made Donegal his home, The Enemy Within examines a period in the life of Colmcille as a mature man, having worked in his ministry for many years and settled in his monastery in Iona yet still subject to the demands of his turbulent family clan in Donegal. The action takes place in the autumn of 587 on the island of Iona, off the West coast of Scotland.

The stellar cast also includes Liam Carney, Bosco Hogan, Ciaran McGlynn, Charlie Bonner, Sean Donegan, Francis Harkin, Ronan Carr, Jack Quinn and Aidan Moriarty.


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Finghin Collins – Wanderer Tour

Pianist Finghin Collins.


In the spirit of a cultural adventurer, Finghin Collins, pianist and classical music dynamo, embarks on his national Wanderer Tour this winter. The tour spans three weeks from November 13th to December 5th, 2021. He’ll be performing here at An Grianán on Sundays 28 November.

Speaking about the tour, Finghin Colins said:

“I’m delighted, after months of inactivity during the pandemic, to take to the road again and perform for Irish communities in wonderful locations around Ireland. I was inspired to name my tour after Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasie, the composer’s most virtuosic piano work, and a pillar of this programme. I can’t think of a better way to nurture well-being than through live music performance and I hope my Wanderer recitals bring people joy.”

Finghin has chosen four beautiful compositions for his core programme:

Schubert Wanderer Fantasie, a four-movement fantasy for solo piano, considered to be Schubert’s most technically demanding work for the instrument. Bach English Suite No 3 in G minor, one of a suite of six dances which Bach “composed for music lovers, to refresh their spirits”. Liszt Harmonies du Soir, a sumptuous palette of sound, depicting the arrival of evening. Chopin Scherzo No. 2, with its gorgeous rich melody, is one of the composer’s best loved works for solo piano.

As well as these pillar compositions, shorter pieces by a diverse range of composers will fill out the concert programme. These include a selection of pieces from the Ros Tapestry Suite, as well as from Musical Moments from Morning to Night, which he performed for the opening of the 2021 inaugural Dublin International Chamber Music Festival. Composers featured include Amy Beach, Béla Bartók, Clara and Robert Schumann, Claude Debussy, Eric Sweeney, Elaine Agnew and more.

Programme for An Grianán

Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy. This is Schubert’s most demanding work for piano solo, which Schubert named after one of his own songs “Der Wanderer” – music from the song appears in each of the linked movements of the piece. The second half of the programme takes us on the day’s journey into night with a diverse range of pieces inspired by morning, evening and night, including the late Eric Sweeney’s homage to the ancient lighthouse at Hook Head in County Wexford, part of the Ros Tapestry Suite.

  • Bach English Suite No 3 in G minor
  • Schubert Wanderer Fantasie Op.15
  • Amy Beach Hermit Thursh at Morn
  • Schubert / Godowsky Morning Greeting
  • Sweeney Evening: The Lighthouse at Hook Head (Ros Tapestry Suite)
  • Liszt Harmonies du Soir
  • Clara Schumann Notturno
  • Chopin Scherzo No. 2 Op. 31

Sun 28 November at 8pm
Book now.

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27 Oct 2021: Covid Guidelines

Our current guidelines for attending shows at An Grianán Theatre.

  • Please note that under current Covid guidelines all adults attending shows must provide proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated under 18s must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.
  • The use of face coverings is mandatory (under 12s exempt) in all areas of An Grianán Theatre and during the show.
  • Latecomers may not be admitted.
  • Please have your e-ticket downloaded to your device prior to arriving at the venue and ready on your phone for scanning. You can also present a printed copy instead if you prefer.
  • If you or any member of your party have had symptoms of COVID-19 in the 10 days prior to an event we would ask that you do not visit the venue and instead contact Box Office by phone or email.


  • Contactless e-ticketing
  • One-way systems
  • COVID-19 safety signage
  • Hand-sanitizer dispensers throughout the building
  • Wearing of face coverings by all administration and technical staff
  • All patrons (except under 12s) to wear face coverings
  • Contact tracing

NB: guidelines are subject to change at short notice.

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The Wellness Cafe is back

An Grianán Theatre’s cafe was the home for Donegal’s first Wellness Cafe and it’s great to see the movement expanding with a number of cafes now opening around the county.

The Wellness cafe was set up for people to meet up in a relaxed informal space to connect and socialise with an opportunity to participate in workshops & other activities to support their wellbeing and to hear what is happening in your local area.

The focus is on mental wellness and anyone can come along and try it out. It helps combat loneliness and allows you to meet new people and have a laugh.

The Eatery at An Grianán is host for Letterkenny’s Wellness Cafe and meets Thursdays from 10.30am to 12pm.

To find out more about the Wellness Cafes and to find the one nearest to you visit the Donegal Wellness Cafe Facebook page.

Donegal Wellness Cafes are supported by Donegal Mind Wellness, Inishowen Development Partnership and the HSE.

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In My Mind’s Eye – Frances Browne Literary Festival

Shirley-Anne Bonner presents a reading of her new play inspired by the life of Frances Browne.

An Grianán hosts a reading of a new play by Shirley-Ann Bonner on Sat 9 October as part of this year’s Frances Brown Literary Festival.

In My Mind’s Eye explores how Frances Browne’s intense imaginative inner life and creativity transformed obstacles into unbelievable artistic success.

Despite a lack of formal education, being blind, and the limitations of geographical isolation, poverty and gendered expectations of her time, Frances Browne became a literary celebrity in her day. Known as “The Blind Poetess of Ulster”, she worked chiefly in Edinburgh and then London.

Directed by Emily Foran, this rehearsed reading provides a flavour of the full production to come in 2022.

Louise Conaghan
Aoife Browne
Megan Armitage
Maggie Hannon
John Ruddy

The reading will be followed by a post-show discussion with author Shirley-Anne Bonner, Dr. Charlotte Mc Ivor (NUI Galway Drama Dept) and Rebecca Mairs (Lyric Theatre Belfast). The panel will also respond to audience questions.

Shirley-Anne Bonner, author of In My Mind's Eye

Shirley-Anne Bonner
Originally from Stranorlar, Shirley-Anne lives in Galway and was chosen as part of the Lyric Theatre Belfast’s New Playwright’s Programme 2018/2019. Her first play Frances Brown: In My Mind’s Eye had rehearsed readings at the Lyric Theatre, and at the American Irish Historical Society, New York, at the Origins Theatre, First Irish Theatre Festival in January 2019. Her new play Legends of Ulster, an adaptation of Brown’s legends is premiering at the Balor Theatre in October 2021, and will also be performed in the Abbey Arts Centre Ballyshannon. In My Mind’s Eye is in development for a full production by An Grianan Theatre for 2022.

Shirley-Anne (Godfrey) is a PhD candidate at the O’ Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway. A Government of Ireland Research Council Scholar, she is developing theatre practices to recover the legacies of marginalised Irish women writers in relation to the plays of Lady Augusta Gregory (1852-1932) and the writings of Frances Browne (1816-1879).

Recent publication: ‘Lady Gregory’s Grania (1912) : Myth and Mythology”, eds. David Clare, Fiona Mc Donagh, and Justine Nakase. The Golden Thread: Irish Women Playwrights, Volume One (1716-1922). Liverpool University Press

Rebecca Mairs is a script editor and dramaturg. She has been Literary Manager of the Lyric Theatre Belfast since 2016, where she acts as company dramaturg, oversees the theatre’s commissions slate, and manages artist support schemes such as the New Playwrights Programme. Prior to this she worked at Northern Ireland Screen and Craft Northern Ireland.

Dr. Charlotte Mc Ivor

Charlotte McIvor is a Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway and a co-lead in the Active* Consent Programme, an Irish national programme that uses workshops, research, drama and social media interventions to support young people from 15-25 to have positive and confident sexual health and well-being.. She is the author of Migration and Performance in Contemporary Ireland: Towards A New Interculturalism and multiple edited collections, articles and book chapters on interculturalism, migration, race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality and performance.

Emily Foran

Emily Foran, Director
Emily is a theatre director based in Belfast and trained at The Lir Academy. She was a Hatch & Scratch Artist at the MAC Belfast and is a recipient of this year’s Marie Mullen Bursary with Druid Theatre. Her recent work includes writing and directing her first short film BAD VIBES, Except a Man by Jan Carson with the MAC Theatre, Here and Now at The Brian Friel Theatre as part of Northern Ireland Office’s 21 Artists for the 21st Century programme; a filmed version of Revved by Patrick Quinn for An Grianan Theatre; And Other Hellish Things by Shane Burke for Druid Debuts; Bloodlines by Vittoria Caffola for the Listen at the Lyric series at Lyric Theatre Belfast; short film Partition by Nandi Jola with Brassneck Theatre; No Touching Theatre Festival as Associate Director and Programmer, The Mouth of the Birch by Shane Mac an Bhaird for Druid Debuts, Anniversary Lockdown by Lata Sharma with The Lyric Theatre and BBC Northern Ireland and associate director on New Speak: Reimagined with The Lyric Theatre

In My Mind’s Eye reading, Sat 9 Oct at 7pm. Tickets: €5

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E-tickets: environmentally-friendly entry

An Grianán has now made the switch to electronic tickets and we will no longer be providing printed tickets for our shows.

Where a show has a capacity of more than 50 people you will need to download and print out your ticket at home, or display it on your phone, which is a quick and environmentally friendly way to do it.

To ensure quick and efficient entry to the event please ensure that you have downloaded your e-ticket to your phone prior to arriving at the venue.

The most important part of your ticket is the QR Code, which is what we’ll scan. it looks like this:

example of a QR code

Here’s how to download your ticket to your phone:

Open up the email app on your phone – this is likely to be Gmail, Outlook or Mail.

Open the confirmation email we sent you – the sender will be and the subject line will be “Order Created – ”.


order sender address example

Click the link that says “Click here to download your ticket” – this will automatically download the tickets as a PDF to your device.

Open the PDF – this may happen automatically, it may appear in your notifications or you can find it in your Downloads folder.

Example of an e-ticket.

Set your screen to 100% brightness – this is generally a slider that appears alongside your notifications by swiping up or down from your homescreen, depending on whether you use Apple’s iPhone or Google’s Android.

On iPhones:

On an iPhone X or later, or an iPad with iOS 12 or iPadOS, swipe down from the top-right corner of your display.
On an iPhone 8 or earlier, or on an iPod touch, swipe up from the bottom edge of your display.
Drag the brightness bar up or down to adjust the brightness.

On Android devices:

Android brightness

Present the QR code in the e-ticket PDF when we ask for your ticket – we are able to scan this code and admit you to the auditorium. Please open the original PDF – a photo of your computer screen or even a screenshot of the QR code won’t work.

If you have more than one ticket in your PDF, simply scroll down to the next page and present the QR code on that page, and so on for each ticket.

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Six New Shows in early October are Now on Sale !

As we prepare for the full reopening of the event industry, An Grianán Theatre welcomes the new regulations that allow it to run more events and in response has added six more shows in early October. Events which take place before 22nd October will run with a maximum of 60% of capacity, and all ticket holders will be required to show proof of either an EU or UK Covid Certificate or proof of recovery from Covid. 

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings on Tuesday 5 October with shows at 4pm and 7pm, is a show for people of all ages from 8 years and up. All tickets are only €5. Adapted from the classic story by Gabriel García Márquez, Dan Colley and Riverbank Arts Centre bring this classic piece of magical realism to the stage in all its beautiful, strange, emotional richness. In a kitchen, in a theatre, two storytellers and their audience find something remarkable, a very old man with enormous wings. The wise neighbour woman tells us he’s an angel. The priest says he’s an imposter. Pilgrims flock to see him, hoping to be healed by him, hoping for a gawp. They leave with something different than what they expected.

A Wilde Fan on Thursday 7th Oct at 8pm, by Limerick’s Bottom Dog Theatre Company, and performed by acclaimed actor Myles Breen. Featuring excerpts from Wilde’s writings alongside Breen’s trademark wit and flair, A Wilde Fan is a personal and theatrical take on one of history’s greatest artists, by his biggest fan. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken!” Oscar Wilde.  Tickets are only €12 full price and €10 concession.

Arán & Im on Saturday 9th October in the theatre café, is a theatrical performance in which Manchán Magan bakes sourdough bread for 70 minutes while offering insights into the wonders of the Irish language – exploring potent words of landscape, terms of intuition and insight, and the many phrases that bring to life the mysterious glory of our natural world. The capacity for these shows is a maximum of 30 people, and there will be 2 shows, one at 12.30 and one at 3pm.  The show is a celebration of language, land and local Irish food, with freshly-baked traditional sourdough bread for the audience to slice and spread with butter they churn themselves from Irish cream. (Knowledge of Irish is not required.)

Later on Saturday 9th October at 7pm, in the auditorium, there will be a Play Reading & Discussion of In My Mind’s Eye by Shirley Anne Bonnar, and tickets are only €5. This is part of the Frances Brown Festival.  Meet playwright Shirley-Anne Bonner in a Post-Show discussion with Dr. Charlotte Mc Ivor (NUI Galway Drama Department) and Rebecca Mairs (Lyric Theatre Belfast). The panel will also respond to audience questions.

Shimmer is a dance show for small audiences of babies aged 3-12 months on 12th October. Full of silver, light and wonder, Shimmer is a unique, dream-like dance show for audiences of babies and their adults. Shimmer invites its audiences into an immersive reflective space created by Katie Davenport animated by a twinkling original score by David Goodall, gentle choreography by Hayley Earlam that responds to its individual tiny audience members and stunning wraparound video art by Conan McIvor.

Krapp’s Last Tape, on Saturday 16th October, is one of Samuel Beckett’s most iconic plays. First produced in 1958 it is one of the earliest one man plays produced for the stage and is considered by many critics to be Beckett’s most perfect piece of writing for the theatre. 69 year old Krapp is celebrating his birthday while listening to tapes of himself at 39. Poor old Krapp has only the “sour curd and the iron stool” to look forward to in his old age.

Funny, compelling, comic and starring Denis Conway as Krapp, this new production embraces the elements of clown while remaining faithful to the powerful text. 

Information for shows before 22nd October (where capacity is above 50)

Please Note: All ticket holders will be required to show proof of either an EU or NI Covid Vaccination Certificate, or proof of recovery from Covid.

From October 5th, the seating capacity will be increased and seating will be unallocated. Customers will be able to select their seats on arrival on a first come first serve basis, social distancing is strongly encouraged. 

The use of face coverings is mandatory in all areas of An Grianán Theatre and during the show.

Latecomers may not be admitted.

If you or any member of your party have had symptoms of COVID-19 in the 10 days prior to an event we would ask that you do not visit the venue and instead contact Box Office by phone or email.


  • Contactless e-ticketing
  • Social-distanced queuing, audience areas and staging
  • One-way systems
  • COVID-19 safety signage
  • Hand-sanitizer dispensers throughout the building
  • Wearing of face coverings by all  administration and technical staff
  • All patrons (except under 12s) to wear face coverings where possible
  • Contact tracing


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Youth Theatre is back! New day, new times…And a new location!

Bugsy Malone, 2020. An Grianán Youth Theatre. Photo by Paul McGuckin.

UPDATE: 27 Sept 2021: With the exception of the 4-7 year old group, all our classes are now fully booked. If you would like to be added to our waiting list to be notified when we open classes for booking again you can do so by sending an eMail here – use the subject line ‘Youth Theatre Waiting List’ and include name, age and contact details.

Good news! An Grianán Youth Theatre finally resumes regular classes again after our long, long Covid enforced hiatus. It’s all change with a new day, new times AND a new location.

All classes – that’s junior and senior groups – will now be on Fridays and we will be temporarily moving location to ZoNa Dance Studios until our new studio space is ready next year.

Our junior classes (ages 4 to 12) will be just after school time from 3:30pm to 5:30pm while our senior classes (ages 13 to 21) will be from 6pm to 9pm. Places on our junior classes are available on a first come, first served basis while we will as usual be holding auditions for our senior classes.

Junior Drama

Autumn Term – 12 week term
24th Sept to 17th Dec (no class on Fri 29 Oct)

Class Times
Ages 4 to 7: 3:30pm to 4:15pm Book now
Ages 8 to 12: 4:30pm to 5:30pm SOLD OUT

Only 12 spaces will be available in each class and will be available on a first come, first served basis.

NB: all classes must be booked in advance. Registration forms (which will be sent after booking a place) must be returned prior to commencing class. Booking opens on Mon 13 Sept at 10am.

Senior Youth Theatre

Auditions to join our senior youth theatre will be held on Fri 24 Sept at ZoNa Studios.

We will be holding small Covid safe workshop auditions of 30 minutes –  please prepare a short performance of no longer than one minute. 

You must register in advance to take part in the auditions.

Register now for your audition slot.

The focus for our autumn term is going to be on getting back to basics. It’s a long time since we’ve all been together in a room so we’ll be learning how to work together as a group again and recapping all those essential skills to get us ship shape for our big 2022 project, a full cast production of comedy drama The Gentleman Pirate, written by senior member Niamh Langan, which will be our show for Cruinniú na nÓg in June 2022.

Senior Youth Theatre Autumn dates and times
Fri 1st Oct to Fri 17th Dec (no class on Fri 29 Oct)
Intermediate*: 6pm to 7.30pm
Advanced*: 7.30pm to 9pm

*groups will be decided during auditions on Fri 24th Sept.

NB: if you are a returning member you are required to audition to rejoin.

Find out more about our youth theatre here.


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Culture Night at An Grianán with The Gentleman Pirate

Culture Night 2021 - Come Together Again

The theme for this year’s Culture Night is ‘Come Together Again’ and whether you can make it out in person to see a show or get together at home to watch online we hope you can find time to enjoy some of this year’s events.

At An Grianán we’ll be presenting a blended programme of live and on demand events. Our youth theatre will present their new show The Gentleman Pirate in front of a live audience and we will be making a number of previously recorded shows available to watch on demand for free.

The Gentleman Pirate

While our youth theatre has been largely on hiatus over lockdown (with the exception of our Monologues project) we did manage to get a small Covid safe group together to work on a new show called The Gentleman Pirate. Written by senior youth theatre member Niamh Langan, this comic caper is suitable for family audiences and tells the not quite true story of Stede Bonnet, a member of the landed gentry who ran away to become a not very competent pirate and sometime shipmate to the legendary Blackbeard. It’s a little bit Blackadder, a little bit Monty Python and all round good fun!

Ciara Chernick and Niamh Langan (seen here as Tweedledum and Tweedledee in 2019’s Alice) are two of our returning cast members.

We’re so pleased with how the show is coming together that we are going to be developing it as a full cast performance for next year’s Cruinniú na nÓg so this will be your chance to see it before anyone else does.

NB: We will be keeping the audience to a max of 50 for this show and maintaining social distancing. Book here while tickets are still available,

The Gentleman Pirate is An Grianán Youth theatre’s first public show since Feb 2020’s immersive production of Bugsy Malone (above).

Watch online

We are making three of our past shows available to watch on demand for free:

To watch any of these shows for free simply use the code CultureNight

Sister Black by Maggie Hannon

Catherine Black (1878-1949) MBE, was born in Ramelton. She trained as a nurse in England and worked in the slums of Whitechapel, at the Somme in World war 1, and as King George V’s private nurse in the last 7 years of his life. Her memoir ‘King’s nurse Beggar’s nurse’ was published in 1939 and there’s a copy in the library at Buckingham Palace. This one-woman play is based on that memoir and is written and performed by local performer Maggie Hannon.

Louise Conaghan in The Morrigan, performed at An Grianán for Culture Night 2020. Photo by Paul McGuckin.

The Morrigan by Louise Conaghan

The Ancient Irish Gods and Goddesses have been roused from their slumber! This clown…ahem…goddess must find a way back to the Otherworld but before she does, she wants to know what on earth has been happening since she last walked it.

First presented for Culture Night 2020, The Morrigan is a high energy show with slapstick comedy suitable for all the family, written and performed by Louise Conaghan.

Manny Man Does the History of Ireland on Stage Online - streaming 19 to 25 October 2020

Manny Man Does the History of Ireland by John D Ruddy

Based on his series of books and YouTube videos, John D Ruddy brings Manny Man and the History of Ireland to the stage. Watch Syn and Oppy as they race through Irish history with illustrated cut-outs and craziness!

From the Ice Age all the way to Ireland today and all in less than 90 minutes, with the same tongue-in-cheek humour Manny Man is known for. When it comes to fun history, Manny Man is your only man! Suitable for family audiences ages 8+.

When is Culture Night?

Fri 17th September 2021

About Culture Night

Culture Night is an annual all-island public event that celebrates culture, creativity and the arts. On Culture Night, arts and cultural organisations and venues of all shapes and sizes, including the National Cultural Institutions, extend their opening hours to allow for increased access to the public. Special and unique events and workshops are specifically programmed at participating locations and everything is available free of charge.

Culture Night has grown from a relatively small scale cultural event staged only in Dublin in 2006 to the significant national cultural event it now is. The initiative has captured both the public imagination and the enthusiasm of artists and cultural organisations.

Culture Night Donegal is brought to you by the Arts Council, in partnership with Donegal County Council.

Download the official programme here.

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An Grianán Theatre to produce Brian Friel’s The Enemy Within


The monastery at Iona, the setting of The Enemy Within

An Grianán Theatre embarks on its most ambitious production to date later this year, with Caitríona McLaughlin, the newly announced Artistic Director of the Abbey Theatre, directing a new version of Brian Friel’s The Enemy Within, and Sean McGinley the talented and popular actor originally from Ballyshannon, signed up to star in it.

This production is one of the signature events in the Colmcille 1500 commemorative year.

The Enemy Within is a major early work by Friel and examines a period in the life of Colmcille as a mature man, having worked in his ministry for many years and settled in his monastery in Iona yet still subject to the demands of his turbulent family clan in Donegal.

Rehearsals are planned to take place in Letterkenny throughout October and November, with live performances in An Grianán Theatre in mid November. The show will also be recorded and made available to other venues as a digital production.

This will be the first time that Caitriona McLaughlin has directed a Brian Friel play: “I think this is a beautiful play and as a Donegal woman, I am thrilled at the prospect of getting to direct my first Brian Friel play at home, in Donegal. It feels very special and important both personally and thematically. The themes of exile are all too familiar, just now, and the notion of battling conflicting thoughts, impulses or loyalties is a large part of the human condition, and particularly in Ireland. This forced time of reflection through Covid has had an impact on all of us and this opportunity for an exploration of that part of the human psyche feels timely and valuable right now. Plus of course we get to do this production as part of a Country wide celebration of St. Columba and 1500 years since his birth. A singular figure who has the kind of passion, drive and commitment we see today in the tenacity of our artists and sports heroes.”

Caitríona McLaughlin, director of An Grianán Theatre's The Enemy Within

Caitríona McLaughlin, Director of An Grianán Theatre’s The Enemy Within

Sean McGinley

Actor Sean McGinley, whose c.v. boasts roles in such films as The General, Braveheart, The Butcher Boy, and Gangs of New York, as well as prominent roles in Roddy Doyle’s TV Series The Family, and The Republic of Doyle, will star in An Grianán Theatre’s Production of Brian Friel’s The Enemy Within this November. Originally from Ballyshannon, McGinley started acting with the fledgling Druid company in Galway, while a student there in the late 1970s. It started him on a career that has taken him all over the world, on film and on stage. He was last seen on An Grianán’s stage in The Abbey production of Observe The Sons of Ulster in 2016.

Photo shows Sean McGinley in the Abbey's production of Observe The Sons of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme

Sean McGinley & Catríona McLaughlin

Brian Friel

Brian Friel was one of Ireland’s greatest ever playwrights. Born in Omagh and educated at St Columb’s College, Derry, and St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, where he studied for a career in the priesthood. Instead of going into the church he followed his father’s example into teaching, working at schools in and around Derry in the 1950s. In 1967 he moved to Donegal, where he lived, with his wife Anne, until his passing in October 2015.

His first stage success was in 1964 with Philadelphia, Here I Come! and his plays since then include The Freedom of the City (1973), Volunteers (1975), Translations (1980) Dancing at Lughnasa (1990) and Molly Sweeney (1994). Translations was also the first production for the important and influential Field Day theatre company, which Friel founded with the actor Stephen Rea.

Brian Friel with the cast of Translationss in 1999 – the first of several of his plays produced in-house by An Grianán Theatre.

An Grianán and Friel

An Grianán has a long history of producing Brian Friel’s work, the first An Grianán production was his play Translations, in 1999. Since then they 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.

Caitríona McLaughlin

Caitríona McLaughlin is the newly appointed Artistic Director of the Abbey Theatre. Originally from Inishowen in County Donegal, Caitriona studied science at the University of Ulster before moving into theatre. Since 2017 she has been Associate Director at the Abbey Theatre, where her productions include: The Great Hunger by Patrick Kavanagh (with Conall Morrison); Citysong by Dylan Coburn Gray (ITTA nomination Best New Play); On Raftery’s Hill by Marina Carr, (for which she won Best Director at the 2019 ITTA); and Two Pints by Roddy Doyle, which toured widely in Ireland and the USA, and which she brought home to Simpson’s Bar in Carndonagh. She has also worked with theatre and opera companies on both sides of the border, including Wexford Opera, Hot for Theatre, INO, The Local Group, and Landmark, and she was the director on O’Casey in the Estate, a TV documentary shown on RTE.


1500 years ago, one of Ireland’s most famous sons was born in Gartan, Co. Donegal. With strong roots in the North West of Ireland, Colmcille (or St. Columba) went on to blaze a trail of cultural and social change around the world. He became one of Ireland’s three patron saints, the patron saint of Derry and his influence extends to this day.

Colmcille 1500

Donegal County Council and Derry City & Strabane District Council have come together, with support from the North West Development Fund, to commemorate Colmcille’s remarkable life and legacy with a series of events and activities throughout the coming year.


Funding for this show comes from the Arts Council of Ireland, Creative Ireland, Donegal County Council and Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

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