Cllr. Gerry McMonagle is the new Chairperson of An Grianán Theatre’s Board of Directors

Cllr. Gerry McMonagle is the new Chairperson of the Board of Directors of An Grianán Theatre taking over from Anne McGowan.







photo shows Cllr Gerry McMonagle presenting Anne McGowan with a bouquet of flowers. Also in picture is the Director of An Grianán Theatre Patricia McBride. 

Cllr. McMonagle was elected to Letterkenny Town Council in 2004 and re-elected in 2009, elected Mayor of Letterkenny in 2011, and elected to Donegal County Council in May 2014. Gerry was elected Chairperson of the Committee of the West North West Regional Health Forum in 2014 and is involved in a number of Committees with Donegal County Council and is also a member of the Board of the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny. He is heavily involved in local community work, working as an Outreach and Development Worker with Abhaile Aris since 2002 and has been a Director of Letterkenny CDP since 2004.

Cllr. McMonagle takes over from Anne McGowan who has held the post for the past seven years.

In her term of office as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of an Grianán Theatre, Anne worked to ensure that good governance was embedded in the organisation. In recent months she oversaw the delivery of a Strategic Review of the Theatre which resulted in a new Three-Year Business Plan for an Grianán.

One of Anne’s achievements in that time was to have the Mayor of Letterkenny, Paschal Blake, renovate the plaza at the front of the building in 2014 and to commission a new town clock on the front of the building by the artist Christy Keeney, which was unveiled in May 2014.


She also welcomed the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins to the theatre in 2015 where he presented the town with its first prize in the Tidy Towns Competition. Anne was also the Chairperson of The Letterkenny Tidy Towns Committee at that time.


There are also two new members of the Board of Directors: Richard Gibson of Donegal County Council, and Rachel Akkoc of the Local Amateur Arts Community. For a full list of our Board members, and their biographies, please click here ….

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Looking ahead to 2021 with Little John Nee

“If you’d  told me last year that I wouldn’t be allowed to travel more than two kilometres from home and that even sitting in a nice room with good people might be dangerous I would have smiled and felt sorry for you.”

In the new year we welcome back Little John Nee who will be joining us a theatre artist in residency in a new project supported by the Arts Council. The residency is a partnership between An Grianán, Town Hall Theatre Galway, Galway Co. Arts Office, Donegal Arts Service and Árus Éanna Arts Centre Inis Oírr Island, Galway. 

Tea Dance by Little John Nee & The Tea Dance Triode

I had no notion this time last year that all my upcoming plans, hopes and dreams would evaporate so fast. Things seldom go exactly as planned, I make allowances for that, but I hadn’t pencilled in the possibility that all the theatres would close or that live performance would almost exclusively occur online. If you’d told me last year that I wouldn’t be allowed to travel more than two kilometres from home and that even sitting in a nice room with good people might be dangerous I would have smiled and felt sorry for you. All I know how to do is make shows. That’s nearly my solution to everything. So I just kept going, working in my garage/studio. I was lucky, preparedness meets opportunity, and thanks to support from An Grianán I got to tour as part of Earagail Arts Festival, performing “Tilt of the Sky” for small socially distanced audiences outdoors. Arriving in mostly wee towns and villages, the time of the show not advertised so as to avoid large crowds gathering. That last sentence needs to be followed by a string of emojis. I am so glad and grateful I got to do it, it was magical, setting up, telling the story and singing the songs with those tentative audiences at the mercy of the summer weather. And my leopardskin brothel creepers caused a stir in Raphoe before the show even started.

Little John Nee performing Tilt of the Sky at the Earagail Arts Festival in July 2020.

“it feels like we’ve arrived in the right place at the right time, more aware than ever that adaptability is at the core of creativity.”

We began talking about this 2021 residency in 2019, we had no idea how dramatically things were about to change but strangely it feels like we’ve arrived in the right place at the right time, more aware than ever that adaptability is at the core of creativity.

I think we’re all different people now but the heart of the residency remains the same. I was part inspired by the legendary Johnny Doherty, Donegal’s beloved Traveller fiddle player. Nowadays we pride ourselves on our sophistication yet I often marvel at the sophistication of the artists who travelled this country for centuries, or those that stayed put in the one place but brought their neighbours on extravagant journeys of the imagination nevertheless. There was an emotional intelligence at play in the exchange between performer and audience that we seldom see now, a unique transmission of complex ideas and a world of information.

So as part of the residency I’d like to celebrate people coming together to tell stories, “in the one place”, connecting us not dividing us. It’s my belief that art makes us feel more like ourselves. I have a notion of including a sort of encyclopaedia of local artists that have made an impression but are in danger of being forgotten, likely they never considered themselves artists. I have no notion the best way to go about that yet, maybe online, possibly on audio or possibly we’ll meet in a car park late at night and you’ll surreptitiously pass me a scrap of paper with a name on it. I think it would be good also to look at how come there came to be a festival of world music and culture in Letterkenny way way before it was fashionable. Did Peter Gabriel pass through town during the International Folk festival in 1976 and get the idea for WOMAD? Did he rob our idea?

In this short blog it’s not practical to cover all the ideas or projects we hope to realise. It is a hope to have “In the one place” performances on the islands of Arranmore, Inisheer and Inishboffin Co. Galway and if the good islanders are willing we might add Inishboffin in Donegal to the list.

Half of the residency takes place in County Galway and at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway City and there will be similar events there on themes specific to the localities.

So there are plenty of details to follow, but I’d like to finish here by telling you there will be two new theatre production one in April and one in Autumn/Early winter. The first is a collaboration with the brilliant Laura Sheeran, “Drone Bone Jetty” A filmic/live performance hybrid set in a dystopian future where travel is limited, the climate is in peril but at least the pubs are open. The working title of the second show is “All the Small Ocean” and is a galivanting post pandemic spin from Donegal to Kerry hugging the Atlantic coast all the way like a teddy bear.

Little John Nee, December 2020.

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Leader Funding: Community Touring Equipment Pack

Above: Patrick Quinn's play Revved will be one of first projects to use our newly purchased touring equipment thanks to generous funding from the Leader project.

Above: Patrick Quinn’s play Revved will be one of the first projects to use our newly purchased touring equipment thanks to generous funding from the Leader project.

An Grianán is delighted to acknowledge that it has received funding of €16,685 from the Leader programme towards the purchase of a Community Touring Equipment pack.

The touring pack consists of lighting, sound and operator controls able to be set up and operated in a very short space of time and is designed to allow the company to travel to community venues in the North West and deliver theatre and drama pieces to audiences unable to travel to the venue in Letterkenny.

An Grianán Theatre has a strong track record of producing plays and theatre productions both in the theatre and on tour to community centres and schools around the North West. As part of our 2020 artistic programme An Grianán was due to send out this “tour package” with a one woman show “The Experience of Being” by Carol Moore about the experience of aging in our society. We were also touring our production of “The Songbirds” by Guy Le Jeune based on the experience of people living with dementia and their carers. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact upon the country we had to suspend these projects this year. However we do intend to return to these projects when restrictions are lifted again. In 2021 we will also put out a new play by Patrick Quinn entitled “Revved”.

The other advantages of this new equipment is that it is a ready-to-go package which includes a LED lighting which will reduce power consumption and reduce our carbon footprint. The planning for the touring package allows us to also employ at least one Donegal based touring technician and/or stage manager with each of the projects.

This project is supported by: Donegal LCDC. Donegal Local Development CLG, Donegal County Council and the Department of Rural & Community Development through grant aid received under The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development in Ireland 2014-2020 “Europe investing in rural areas”.

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Free Online Screenings of A Christmas Carol for Schools !

a christmas carol

We’ve paid the fee so Donegal students can watch for free!

A Christmas Carol is Aaron Monaghan and Bryan Burroughs’ playful, physical storytelling, stage adaptation of Charles Dickens much loved novella.

We know it’s been a tough year for everyone, and we know it’s been especially tough on schools so we’re making it available for free to Donegal schools, anytime between now and the 18th December. Just email Daithi (at) angrianan (dot) com to book.

Devised straight from Dickens classic text, the two award-winning actors- dressed in snazzy suits- play all the characters at break-neck speed using an array of colourful hats, scarves and an Ikea coat-rack!

The famous cautionary tale tells the story miserly Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by ghosts who take him on a journey through his past, present and future one fateful Christmas Eve.

This production is funny, slightly scary, utterly heart-warming and features a surprise special guest appearing as Tiny Tim…

Images by Ros Kavanagh. Used by kind permission of The Ark.

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Here comes A Christmas Carol !

a christmas carol

Our next live broadcast will be that much loved tale A Christmas Carol starring two of Ireland’s Best Stage Actors ! It will be streaming from on Thursday 17th December.

A Christmas Carol is Aaron Monaghan and Bryan Burroughs’ playful, physical storytelling, stage adaptation of Charles Dickens much loved novella.

Devised straight from Dickens classic text, the two award-winning actors- dressed in snazzy suits- play all the characters at break-neck speed using an array of colorful hats, scarves and an Ikea coat-rack!

The famous cautionary tale tells the story miserly Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by ghosts who take him on a journey through his past, present and future one fateful Christmas Eve.

This production is funny, slightly scary, utterly heart-warming and features a surprise special guest appearing as Tiny Tim…

Images by Ros Kavanagh. Used by kind permission of The Ark.

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Watching our live stream? Read on for ways to connect it to your tv ….


How best to watch it one of our online events? You can simply watch it on your laptop, tablet or phone, we’ll send you the link, you click on it and play the video at the time that suits you.

We recommend watching it on a laptop for best quality.

But if you want to watch it on your tv, read on …


If your TV has an HDMI cable port, you should be able to connect you laptop, phone or tablet. One end of the HDMI cable will connect to your TV and the other will connect to your device – you’ll need to make sure you have the correct HDMI cable compatible with the device you’re using.

If you’re using a phone or tablet it’s likely that this will connect to the same socket you use to charge your phone. If you’re using a laptop you’ll see that it will have slots along the side of the keyboard and if you’re using a computer, you’ll either connect to a slot along the side of your monitor (screen) or in the computer itself. 

Once you have the right cable and your device is connected to your TV, it will either automatically begin sharing your screen or you will need to access your TV’s menu using your remote control to change the source or input to HDMI – this will correspond to the HDMI slot you’ve connected to on your TV and there may be more than one to choose from. 

Once you’re connected the sound should be coming out of your TV rather than your device. If not, check your audio settings by selecting the arrow next to ‘Mute’ in the bottom right of the screen and either choose ‘Same as system’ or your TV speakers if that appears as an option under ‘Select a speaker’.




Here’s a handy guide from BT


Chromecast does not work natively with the streaming service we use. You may be able to mirror your phone/ tablet/ laptop to your TV over wifi depending on the TV you have.

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Sister Black – watch online this weekend

An Grianán Theatre has the fourth of its series of online shows broadcast this weekend and it’s very much a local affair. Ramelton based actor and playwright Maggie Hannon brings her first show to the stage, and to the audience, virtually.

The play has been directed by the very experienced Gweedore actor Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhrighde. It’s been recorded by the team at An Grianån Theatre with assistance from the team at the RCC in Letterkenny, and the play is about Catherine Black, a nurse from Ramelton who became King George V’s private nurse in the last seven years of his life.

The show can be watched at any time on Saturday and Sunday and tickets are €10 each. You only need one ticket no matter how many people are watching with you.

‘It’s been a great learning experience’, explained Daithi Ramsay, Marketing Manager of An Grianán Theatre, Daithi is from Letterkenny and now lives in Ramelton.

‘I myself have been doing the video and sound editing, and it’s a steep learning curve! It’s great though at a time like this to be able to support a local artist in this way. We had Maggie’s show booked in but obviously in level 5 we couldn’t go ahead with an audience, but this way she will get paid, the audience can get to see her in the comfort of their own homes, and with the video she also has a calling card to take to other venues.’

‘Broadcasting has obviously come about as a stop gap until we can work at full capacity again but I really think it’s here to stay, I think it’ll go hand in hand with live performances in the future, which is why it’s so important for us to skill up in this way, and it’s been a fantastic way to connect with the Donegal diaspora all over the world. We’re getting a tremendous response from all over the world!’

Written and performed by Margaret 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. She is coming to the end of her remarkable life. She has been exposed to the best and worst of humanity, and has always focused valiantly on forgetting the latter. At last she realises that the past doesn’t go away, and that the only way to forget is to remember.

See Sister Black online this weekend, 25th and 26th November – book here.

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Shaking the Walls: Shake Fear | Break Walls

Maggie Hannon in Shaking the Tale, July 2019. Photo by David Faughnan.

Shaking the Tale performer Maggie Hannon sends a despatch from Gdańsk where she is taking part in the final Shaking the Walls project, Shake Fear | Break Walls.

“We’ve been busy the last couple of days. Meeting in small groups to work on individual scenes as well as all getting together in the evenings. We’re learning lines, trying out moves, connecting with the play, our roles and each other. We did a full run through last night, there were some transcendent moments and at the end, singing the final song, a palpable joy and energy. It was as if the group was transformed.

“The keys? Music (Shakespeare, Gummi and Philip have written great songs, catchy and deep simultaneously) and us, the participants, together, working, listening and open. There is fun and there are deep conversations about things that matter- walls we want to break, what this project means to us, how we connect with the text. I feel that there is a real opportunity for growth here if I have the courage. I would like to live up to my role.

I had an interesting conversation with one participant yesterday about masks (we use the the transparent ones in rehearsal). She shared that she felt a lot more comfortable with her face hidden. ‘Behind the wall’; Where you can’t see the expressions. And then she proceeded to play her role sublimely. It’s that courage that inspires me everyday – to give my best and step out from these walls that comfort and oppress at the same time. They build up in our minds first.”

Maggie Hannon, 14 November, Gdansk

Shake Fear | Break Walls

Authoritarianism, Borders, Censorship, Domestic violence, Equality.
The barriers and walls that divide us are everywhere; some you can see and some you can’t.

This Parrabbola project, co-created with all of the Shaking the Walls partners and with community participants from Gdansk, looks at these walls and how to break some of them down. It will be presented at the Gdansk Shakespeare Festival on 21, 22, 23 November 2020.

Production partners and funders: Shaking the Tale is produced by An Grianán Theatre and Parrabbola as part of Shaking the Walls. Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programmed of the European Union. Additional support comes from Donegal County Council, the Arts Council of Ireland and the Earagail Arts Festival.

Shaking the Tale is part of Shaking the Walls, a project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. The project is led by Gdański Teatr Szekspirowski (Poland), the other partners are Parrabbola (UK), Cooltour Ostrava (Czech Republic) and Ratatam (Iceland). As well as Creative Europe, our co-funders for Shaking the Tale include the Donegal County Council, Arts Council of Ireland and the Earagail Arts Festival.

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Announcing the Let’s Make Some Noise! Bursary Recipients

An Grianán Theatre has announced the five recipients of its Let’s Make Some Noise Bursaries. Each recipient will receive up to €4000 to develop their work as well as time in An Grianán Theatre’s auditorium, production support, promotion and documentation.


The five recipients are Brenda Kelly, Eirú Dance Company, Lorcan Strain, Miranda Rosenberg and Orson Sterritt. 


48 different projects from 36 different artists were put forward and it proved a very difficult process to create a final short list.  Patricia McBride, Director of An Grianan Theatre said ”‘What stood out in these five applications was that we could see how they would use the bursary right now to further the work they proposed, and how the theatre could make a positive contribution to that process. This money will go to support not just the named artists, but it will enable them to provide further employment for other artists and arts professionals.’ 


 Daithi Ramsay, Marketing Manager of An Grianán Theatre added , ‘What’s really wonderful about this is that we’ve started conversations with so many people, from all over the North West. It’s not just these five who will receive our support. There will be other projects arising from the bursary submissions which will form part of our work in 2021 and beyond. This is the start of something very special. We’re very excited about the breadth of talent which is here in our community, and it’s given us all a great lift to be able to be able to support it in what is such a difficult time.” 


Ériu Dance Company


Ériu Dance Company’s latest initiative, The Village, will be a play with music and dance, and is a further development of Ériu’s ever-evolving aesthetic and dance-making practice under its Artistic Director, Gweedore’s Breandán de Gallaí. The Village sees 5 people gather on a hill looking down on the townland where they all grew up. As they watch the lights go out over the village, it’s not clear what brings them together now, and what connects them, other than The Village. 


Lorcan Strain 


Lórcan Strain is a young Actor, Musician, Drag Artist and Writer from Milford. He graduated with a BA Hons in Performing Arts from IT Sligo and is also a graduate of Acting for Screen at the prestigious Bow Street Academy, Dublin. He has trained with The Blue Raincoats, Sligo and Theatre Lovett, Dublin and can also be seen in the final series of Game of Thrones. Lorcan will be developing a fast paced theatre piece that will give the audience a glimpse into what it is like to be gay in the countryside.


Mirenda Rosenberg 


Singer-songwriter Mirenda Rosenberg, who is originally from the United States, blends African American roots with contemporary Irish musical textures. She is known for her dynamic, emotionally provocative performances. She will be doing further development on her one woman show, in which she details how she overcame a religiously sheltered childhood, and controlling relationships, to become the powerhouse performer she is today. A short version of the show debuted online at this year’s Donegal Bay and Bluestacks’ Festival. 


Orson Sterritt 


Orson Sterritt has been involved in the local theatre scene for most of his adult life, making his drama debut at the age of 17 in An Grianan Theatre with the LMDG production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Discovering an avid affection for theatre and the entertainment industry, he continued on to spend years working backstage at various events, leading him to eventually set up his own businesses North West Events, and The Big Top Circus Workshop. The bursary will enable Orson to develop his ‘Giddy Up Theatre Show’, a street theatre and magic show which will travel in a horse box. 


Brenda Kelly 


Brenda Kelly is a writer, playwright & filmmaker. She is inspired to create compelling stories and explore quirky situations with the written word. This has led to successful work in both film and theatre. With a background in Architecture, she has an eye for the theatrical and a clear vision for each piece of work. She uses humour and honesty to bring stories to life.
The An Grianán bursary will allow Brenda to write and develop her short musical play ‘ODD’ into a full length musical with new music by Fionn Robinson. The original short was written in 2016 as a part of Waving not Drowning: The Mental Health Roadshow under the umbrella of Bread and Roses Theatre Company. It is a comic and poignant play that follows a man and a woman with debilitating self-consciousness and social awkwardness as they overcome obstacles to fulfil their need for love and connectedness. 


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Celebrate Halloween with the Morrigan online

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

A treat for Samhain! We are busy recording this show right now in readiness to screen it this weekend.

Written and performed by Louise Conaghan, The Morrigan is a fun show suitable for family audiences.

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.

We’re offering this show on a pay what you can basis – you are very welcome to watch this show for free however if you are able to make a donation we would appreciate it so much. We suggest a price of €5 per person.

It will be streaming from 12pm on Sat 31 Oct to midnight on Sun 1 November.

How to book

Just follow the booking link, book your ticket – you only need to book one ticket per household, and then add a donation if you can (if you do choose to make a donation please leave your free ticket in the cart too)  – and we’ll send you details on how to watch the show.

If you don’t see the confirmation email in your inbox please check if it has gone into your spam folder or your social and promotional folders.

NB: our phone lines are currently closed while we remain under level 5 restrictions – we can be contacted by email here if you have any queries about the show.

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