News

World premiere of new Frank McGuinness play this April

An Grianán and our partner venues in the Nasc Network are delighted to co-present the world premiere of acclaimed Donegal playwright’s new play with the Gate Theatre.

In the first online Gate At Home production, a new play by Frank McGuinness will have its world premiere streamed from the Gate auditorium next month.

Frank McGuinness wrote the play during lockdown for the two renowned Irish actors Stephen Rea and Judith Roddy. Fellow Inishowen native Caitríona McLaughlin, newly appointed Artistic Director- designate of the Abbey Theatre, will direct the production.

This moving new play about an Irish father (Stephen Rea) and daughter (Judith Roddy) at visiting hour in a nursing home during the pandemic, will be performed and recorded in the Gate auditorium, and streamed to audiences on April 22nd, 23rd and 24th at 7.30pm.

The play quietly observes a daughter visiting her elderly father in his nursing home. His mind is beginning to wander, but conversations about the past can be dangerous, and family memories can look very different, depending on who is telling the story.

Gate At Home is a new artistic initiative of bespoke productions streamed from the Gate Creative Studio re-creating a unique and distinctive performance experience viewable from home.

Patricia McBride, director of An Grianán, “We are delighted to team up with the Gate Theatre to bring our audiences this new play by Frank McGuinness, directed by Caitriona McLaughlin and starring Stephen Rea and Judith Roddy. We are really pleased and proud to celebrate our Donegal connections with the outstanding creative team on this project. Caitriona McLaughlin from Inishowen is an esteemed director and Artistic Director designate of our National Theatre. Frank McGuinness, also from Inishowen is a distinguished, internationally lauded writer and is simply a national treasure. Renowned actors Judith Roddy and Stephen Rea have graced the stage of An Grianán Theatre on many occasions and we are delighted to have them back in this virtual tour.”

“I am thrilled to bring this dynamic creative team together for our first Gate At Home production,” said Selina Cartmell, Gate Director. “The Gate team have worked so hard to make this production happen, despite the ongoing financial challenges of the pandemic. With the welcome government investment of our vital Arts Council funding, last month we were able to announce the Gate Creative Studio, the Gate Masterclasses, and a series of commissions for Irish writers and theatre companies. Now we are especially grateful to bring theatre production back to the Gate in 2021.”

Frank McGuinness

Frank McGuinness’s extraordinary plays have been produced around the world to critical acclaim, including The Factory Girls, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me and Dolly West’s Kitchen. His adaptations for theatre form an exceptional body of work with translations of the plays of Racine, Sophocles, Ibsen, Lorca and Strindberg. Productions of his plays at the Gate include Innocence (1986) and The Bread Man (1990). Adaptions include Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen (1988), Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov (1990) and The Threepenny Opera by Bertold Brecht (1991).

His play Gates of Gold (2002), commissioned by the Gate, was a work of fiction inspired by the lives of Gate founders Hilton Edwards and Michael MacLiammoir. It offered a fascinating glimpse into a unique partnership, two lives devoted to each other, and to the theatre they founded.

The Visiting Hour Cast and Creative Team

Cast: Stephen Rea and Judith Roddy
Directed by Caitríona McLaughlin
Set and Costume Design by Katie Davenport
Lighting Design by Paul Keogan
Sound and Composition by Tom Lane

Booking

Thursday 22 April 7.30pm

Friday 23 April 7.30pm

Friday 23 April – CAPTIONED 7.30pm

Saturday 24 April 7.30pm

€20 early bird available until April 2
€15 concession | €25 standard ticket | €40 household ticket | €50 support the Gate ticket
Running time: 60 minutes. A captioned version of the production will be streamed April 23rd.

A Digital Tour, presented in partnership with venues around Ireland in the NASC Theatre
Network including: An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny, Backstage Theatre, Longford,
Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, glór, Ennis, Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick, Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, Siamsa Tíre, Tralee and Town Hall Theatre, Galway.
The Gate is also happy to welcome Lyric Theatre, Belfast as a Digital Tour location.

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Young Curators – apply now

Young Curators - apply now

18 to 29 years of age? Interested in the arts? Would you like to curate a programme of events for us?

An Grianán and its partner venues in the Nasc Theatre Network have teamed up to present a Young Curators Festival programme across all eight venues in the network in June 2021.

We are looking for two young people to be the curators for An Grianán. You’ll be supported by a member of staff at An Grianán as well as receiving mentoring from two arts practitioners who will mentor you on programming and negotiating deals, and will assist you in establishing connections with artists.

You will also engage with the young curator panels in our partner venues, sharing ideas and information on programming opportunities. We’ll kick off with an introductory session at which three young curators will share their experience and learning from last year’s Young Curators Festival at the Backstage Theatre. Agreed expenses will be paid, and the Curators will be allocated a programme budget to manage.

The project will require intensive and regular online meetings and research to develop the festival programme from 1st April to early June, and then delivery of the festival in mid-June (with a time commitment of roughly 5 hours each week). Agreed expenses will be paid, and the Curators will be allocated a programme budget to manage.

Programmed by young people for young people, the festival aims to feature a high quality hybrid of online and live performance and workshops in a variety of disciplines such as theatre, spoken word, dance and music. All work will be selected with adaptability in mind, should COVID restrictions prevent any of the live programme from happening.

If interested please contact Patricia by email no later than 5pm on Monday 29 March telling us a little bit about yourself and why you want to participate in this project (max 300 words).

SUBMISSIONS CLOSED

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Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh agus a chairde show to be broadcast on TG4 on St. Patrick’s Day !

The recent An Grianán Theatre show for Letterkenny Trad Week, Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh agus a chairde, which was streamed online by an Grianán Theatre, and which raised €3000 for charity, has been chosen by TG4 to be broadcast on St Patrick’s Day at 9.30pm. The show, which was produced by An Grianán Theatre and The Regional Cultural Centre will also be available worldwide on the TG4 player. 

Letterkenny Trad Week is an initiative of An Grianán Theatre and the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny and is now in its 7th year.

The centrepiece of the show is Mairead’s new composition,  ‘Ré an t-Solais’….’The Era of Light’, commissioned by An Grianán and inspired by the hope of a new era after the intensity of the pandemic lockdown. This new music can also be purchased at this link: Mairead’s bandcamp page

 All the musicians for the show were paid by An Grianán, and the production was organised by The Regional Cultural Centre, An Grianán’s partner in Letterkenny Trad Week. This new screening of the show by TG4 means that the musicians will also receive an additional payment. 

The online demand for the show when first broadcast by Letterkenny Trad Week demonstrated the global reach of Mairead and Altan, and how they have gained an appreciative audience all across the globe for this music which originated in Donegal. 

In the show Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh is joined by special guests including Manus Lunny, members of Altan, and the Harrigan and McGrory families.

Both An Grianán Theatre and The Regional Cultural Centre receive annual funding from Donegal County Council and The Arts Council. 

 

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Monologues, An Grianán Youth Theatre, 2021

February 2021

Presented by An Grianán Youth Theatre

Monologues – An Grianán Youth Theatre from AnGrianan Theatre on Vimeo.

Our youth theatre monologues project was created in an effort to try and maintain youth theatre classes during Covid-19 restrictions over Winter 2020. When we first pitched the project in August 2020, we were still in a level 3 lockdown and in person classes were feasible, albeit with very reduced class numbers. Our intention had been to deliver a hybrid programme of both in person and online classes. However within a few weeks we were at first moved to level 4 and then, with the rest of the country, level 5, and all of our classes had to be delivered online. Our members stuck with us and in December, adhering to very strict quarantine measures, we were finally able to get our students into the theatre, one by one, to film their monologues.

The students were from our senior youth theatre with an age range of 13 to 18.

Want to join our youth theatre? We’re currently taking a break but if you would to be added to our waiting list you can do so by sending an eMail here – use the subject line ‘Youth Theatre Waiting List’.

A Bedtime Story
Written and performed by Inan Ekici

Always and Forever
Written by Frankie Wade
Performed by Niamh Langan and Frankie Wade

Audition
Written and performed by
Evin O’Donnell

Blank
Written and performed by
Isaac Morrison

Ghost
Written and performed by
Niamh Langan

Home
Written by Erinn Sweeney
Performed by Alice O’Connor

Late
Written and performed by
Shauna O’Donnell

My Last Word
Written by Kate Smyth
Performed by Zoe McCauley

Shipwrecked
Written and performed by
Jack Lydon

The Poem
Written and performed by
Siobhan O’Brien

The Proposition of Bianco Caruso
Written and performed by
Jade Ormond

The Undoing
Written by Ellen McMorrow
Performed by Ella Terry Sweeney

Director: Nora Kavanagh
Production Manager: Niall Cranney
Sound: Peter Rose
Filming: Eugene McGinty, Charlie Joe Doherty
Editing: Nicola Burns

Recorded at An Grianán Theatre, December 2020 in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions.

Special thanks to the team at the Regional Cultural Centre.

An Grianán Youth Theatre is an initiative of An Grianán Theatre.

All rights reserved.

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Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh agus a chairde show raised €3000 for charities.

The recent An Grianán Theatre show for Letterkenny Trad Week, Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh agus a chairde, which was streamed online, raised €3000 for charity, €1500 of which went to The Donegal Hospice and €1500 to Donegal Cancer Flights and Services. 

‘When we were organising the show Mairead said she’d like some of the income to go to these charities and we were very happy to be able to facilitate that’, said Patricia McBride, Director of An Grianán Theatre. The shows raised just under €3000, so we rounded it up and shared it among the two charities which Mairead had identified’ 

All the musicians for the show were paid by An Grianán, and the production was organised by The Regional Cultural Centre, An Grianán’s partner in Letterkenny Trad Week. Indeed so impressive was the quality of the production that TG4 are interested in taking the show for broadcast during their St Patrick’s week celebrations this March. 

The online demand for the show demonstrated the global reach of Mairead and Altan, and how they have gained an appreciative audience all across the globe for this music which originated in Donegal. The show was watched by over 1500 people, with bookings from many different countries such as Japan, Australia, Germany and America. 

In the show Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh was joined by special guests including Manus Lunny, members of Altan, and the Harrigan and McGrory families.

An important part of the show was Mairead’s new composition, commissioned by An Grianán, ‘Ré an t-Solais’….’The Era of Light’, inspired by the hope of a new era after the intensity of the pandemic lockdown of 2020. This new music can be purchased at Mairead’s bandcamp page

Letterkenny Trad Week is a collaboration between An Grianán Theatre and the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny and is now in its 7th year. Both organisations receive annual funding from Donegal County Council and The Arts Council. 

 

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Life, whatever its difficulties, is unquenchable.

Eleanor Methven and Janet Moran in An Grianán Theatre's production of Dancing at Lughnasa, 2002.

“…it is the function of the playwright to slip behind statistics and listen for the other existence, the inner life, the life of the spirit and to pick up its pulse even in the most depleted times.”

In 2002 we were very fortunate to have Brian Friel write a programme note for our production of Dancing at Lughnasa. During these ‘depleted times’ of rolling Lock Downs his words on the importance of art and the inner life of the imagination have a particular resonance today.

It is an accepted belief that Ireland in the Thirties – and counties like Donegal in particular – was a grim and depressed place, a land without hope. And indeed even a casual knowledge of what we call the ‘economic climate’ of that time offers us a dispiriting picture. Emigration was bleeding the country. Money was scarce. A very large portion of the population had a very difficult struggle to make ends meet.

And we have come to believe, too, that the economic climate so overshadowed, so blighted our lives that we became a crabbed, narrow-minded and deeply unhappy people. That we became passive and introspective. That poverty so crushed us that joy became altogether foreign to us. That families merely endured in a kind of dour sulk, silently waiting for the black clouds to break. When we consider the Thirties we think that the whole notion of what it is to be human has to be rethought, redefined.

“Another story, perhaps a truer story, certainly a more comprehensive story, resides in the inner life, the life of the spirit. And that life, whatever its difficulties, is unquenchable.”

It is not the function of a play to take issue with economic facts, but it is the function of the playwright to slip behind statistics and listen for the other existence, the inner life, the life of the spirit and to pick up its pulse even in the most depleted times. Although the Mundy girls were not destitute, they certainly weren’t affluent. An extra penny on the weekly grocery bill is a reason for anxiety. And Maggie’s task of conjuring an adequate meal for eight people out of three eggs doesn’t suggest wealth. And Rose and Aggie, who knitted day and night, still didn’t earn enough to clothe themselves. In economic conditions like these I believe that greater demands are made on the inner life and that it is the responsibility of the spirit – and indeed the imagination – to meet those demands. It is those demands and the responses of the spirit and the imagination to them that are the concerns of the playwright. The Mundy girls (they weren’t girls, of course; they were women; but girls was the language of the time) had no idea they lived in an economic climate of any kind. But they did experience deprivation and depression. And they experienced, too, happiness and great, great joy. And in their brief stage-life each is vibrantly alert to, and uncannily in sympathy with, every nuance of her sister’s thoughts and emotions. They engage with life, all of life. They want to dance, both in defiance and in delight. They give the lie to the belief – the cliché, really – that Ireland in the Thirties was populated only by a suppressed and sullen people. They offer us evidence that the ‘economic climate’ of that time is not the whole story. Another story, perhaps a truer story, certainly a more comprehensive story, resides in the inner life, the life of the spirit. And that life, whatever its difficulties, is unquenchable.

Brian Friel, 2002.

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Little Acorns: Short Plays, Submissions closed.

Submissions for this are now closed.

We have an idea.

We want to broadcast some original short plays on our social media platforms, free to the general public. They should be between 5 and 10 minutes, and ideally uplifting and fun. Obviously the language used and subjects covered should be able to be broadcast on social media platforms such as Facebook.

Applicants should be over 18 and from the North West.

If chosen you’ll be given a budget of €1000 to create your play. It should have a maximum cast of 4, and a minimum of 2. An Grianán will provide the space and the team to record and edit it, if done in the theatre, adhering to the strictest coronavirus regulations and taking all possible health and safety steps.

The set and lighting design should be very simple, the actors will have to stay at least 2 metres apart, and come from within the permitted travel area under the regulations. Props should be kept to a minimum too.

The plays can be in any language, or indeed in a dialect. There’ll be up to five chosen for recording, hopefully, in March or April, and you can submit your script anytime from now on.

Send your script and a little bit about you to this address.

We’ll put a deadline of the end of February on, but if you miss the deadline we understand and will still consider your idea, we’re here to receive and work with good ideas not to exclude them.

We are particularly interested in receiving submissions from people we’ve never worked with before, of any age, any race or ethnicity, and any gender.

We’re also interested in hearing from people we have worked with before.

Please note: Our stage and backstage area are fully accessible to wheelchair users.

Some helpful hints for your script:

  • A general rule of thumb is one page of dialogue runs about 1.5 minutes long, so you should aim for 4 to 7 pages of dialogue.
  • You should ideally use line spacing between speakers and put stage directions in italics. It makes it much easier for us to read and understand.

And remember, from little acorns tall oak trees grow!

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Druid Livestream – Once Upon a Bridge

We are all missing live theatre, but we are thrilled to see our good friends in Druid will be live streaming Once Upon a Bridge direct from The Mick Lally Theatre, Galway from 11-13 Feb .

We had planned to bring the show to Lettterkenny but while we’re disappointed that Druid can’t perform on our stage this Spring, we’re delighted that our audiences don’t have to miss out. We’ve been lucky enough to have 3 previous Sonya Kelly shows, Furniture by Druid, and the hilarious Wheelchair on My Face and How to Keep An Alien which played various venues around the county for the Earagail Arts Festival in 2012 and 2015.

Find out more about Once Upon a Bridge here.

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Letterkenny Trad Week goes online: Will you be watching?

Join us next week for our fully online Letterkenny Trad Week.

While our annual festival of traditional, folk and world music may not be taking place in its usual form, we still wanted to mark 2021 and celebrate our rich heritage of traditional music and song.

We’ll be presenting a special online concert with Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh & Friends on Sun 24 January while our friends at the Regional Cultural Centre will have a series of home videos from artists around Ireland which you will be able to watch on their website or on their Facebook page.

Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Friends

Altan star Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh will be joined by guests including Manus Lunny, the Harrigan family, Ciaran Ó Mhaonaigh as well as some members of Altan.

Mairéad has been commissioned by An Grianán to compose new music for the event. She will curate the evening with the help of friends and colleagues who will join her to showcase some of her original music pieces which she has composed over the years for her band Altan, for Coirm/ Ceol na Coille “Fáilte an Earraigh” (2018) and for her own solo album ‘Imeall’ (2009).

Also other new music will be heard like ‘An Grianstad/ The Halting Sun’ (2020) commissioned by The Rolling Wave RTÉ Radio 1 / ITMA, ‘Scread na Bealtaine’ (2020) commissioned by Earagail Arts Festival.

On the night she will debut her new suite ‘Ré an t-Solais’….’The Era of Light’, inspired by the hope of a new era after the intensity of the pandemic lockdown of 2020.

Due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic restrictions, the night will be streamed online with part of the proceeds of the online tickets going towards Donegal Cancer Flights and Services and Donegal Hospice. This event is kindly supported by Donegal Airport.

Book online now.

Regional Cultural Centre online programme

From Monday 18 Jan until Sat 30 January, the RCC will present nightly video premieres some of the finest musicians, singers and dancers this country has to offer.

Please visit their website to find out more.

Letterkenny Trad Week is presented by the Regional Cultural Centre and An Grianán Theatre and is kindly supported by Donegal County Council and Arts Council Ireland.

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Let’s Make Some Noise! with Lorcan Strain

Last month Lórcan Strain, from Milford, was the first of our Make Some Noise ! Bursary Award Winners to come into the theatre to take some time and space to work on his play.

Early on in the week he worked with a Director and playwright, and at the end of the week Dance DJ, Producer and Record label boss Louise DaCosta who came in to work on some music for the play, and its fair to say those two hit it off immediately !

 

This is going to be a really exciting show.

We’re delighted to be able to support local talent this way, made possible by our grants from the Arts Council and Donegal County Council.

 

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