frank mcguinness

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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Photo Gallery: Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme

July 1st 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in human history. As part of the commemorations the Abbey Theatre present this major new production of Frank McGuinness’s classic war drama which tells the story of eight soldiers from Ulster and the terrible toil that war takes on them.

This iconic war play is a powerful portrayal of mortality, love and loss.

The play comes to An Grianán for two performances only – Fri 29 and Sat 30 July and is the major drama highlight of our 2016 season. There is local interest too as two of the cast are from Donegal – Sean McGinley and Letterkenny born actor Iarla McGowan, and of course Frank McGuinness is from Donegal.

The following images from the production are by photographer Johan Persson.

OBSERVE THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME

OBSERVE THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME,              , Writer -  FRANK MCGUINNESS, DIRECTED BY JEREMY HERRIN, Headlong, Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, UK, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson/

OBSERVE THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME

OBSERVE THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME

OBSERVE THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME

OBSERVE THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME

OBSERVE THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME

OBSERVE THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME

 

Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme is a co-production by the Abbey Theatre with Headlong, Citizens Theatre and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. Co-presented by the Lyric Theatre.

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On Frank McGuinness

Written by Jessica Traynor, Literary Manager of the Abbey Theatre, the National Theatre of Ireland.

“Frank McGuinness is a playwright of whom Donegal and its people can be truly proud. His work enshrines the Donegal people and landscape at the heart of some of the most vital Irish drama of the past thirty years.”

Hailing from Buncrana, Frank McGuinness is one of Ireland’s foremost playwrights. Frank’s work includes both original plays and adaptations, and engages with themes as various as both World Wars, Ulster loyalism, sectarian violence, the rights of women, the shifting sands of memory, the battleground of family life, and his beloved Donegal.

observe.the.sons.of.ulster.banner

His first major success was ‘Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme’, produced on the Peacock stage in 1985, and for which he was awarded the London Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright. A passionate and ground-breaking play, it takes as its subject matter a group of young soldiers and their physical and spiritual journey towards the Somme, a cataclysmic event which took place on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. The play deals with the forging of a new loyalism in the fires of World War I, and also explores the deep bonds between the men which encompass both love and violence.

Recent plays have included ‘Greta Garbo Came to Donegal’, which looks at the unexpected arrival of the mysterious, elegant and incisive Garbo, just as the civil rights movement in the North begins to gather momentum, and ‘The Hanging Gardens.’ The latter again takes Donegal as its setting, with its protagonist, a novelist slowly succumbing to Alzheimer’s, facing a reunion with his divided and competitive family. Themes of memory, history, and patriarchal control are explored in a play both elegiac and savage.

McGuinness has also adapted many classic plays with much success. In 1997, his adaptation of Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ won him a Tony Award, and his 2010 adaptation of that playwright’s ‘John Gabriel Borkman’, starring Alan Rickman, Lindsay Duncan and Fiona Shaw, toured from the Abbey to BAM in New York. His adaptation of James Joyce’s ‘The Dead’ delighted Abbey audiences at Christmas 2012. McGuinness’s adaptations demonstrate his keen psychological insight into some of the most intriguing characters of the Irish, European and classical canon, while maintaining the stark lyricism of his own theatrical idiom.

Frank McGuinness is a playwright of whom Donegal and its people can be truly proud. His work enshrines the Donegal people and landscape at the heart of some of the most vital Irish drama of the past thirty years.

* * * * *

Our next Frank McGuinness play is the Abbey Theatre’s production of Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme, produced to co-incide with the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme
Presented by Abbey Theatre, Headlong, Citizens Theatre, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. Co-presented by the Lyric Theatre.
Friday 29 and Saturday 30 July 2016 at 8pm
Tickets: €25/€20
Book now!

 

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Our new Arts Magazine is here!

An Grianán Extra – A Wee Bit More is our new arts magazine.

Designed to compliment our standard events brochure, Extra offers a slightly more in depth look at some of our upcoming shows.

We have a profile on Donegal playwright Frank McGuinness written by Jessica Trainer, Literary Manager of the Abbey Theatre as well as a piece by theatre-artist-in-residence Guy Le Jeune talking about what he has planned for his residency.

Cover art for An Grianán Theatre's arts magazine by Laura Buchanan.

Cover art for An Grianán Theatre’s arts magazine by Laura Buchanan.

Our cover art is by artist Laura Buchanan and is inspired by photos from the 1916 Rising.

We also have a look back at the controversy surrounding The Kings of the Kilburn High Road when we first had it back in 2000.

Writer and local historian Kieran Kelly introduces his new play Beneath An Irish Sky which looks at how the events of the 1916 Rising affected Donegal. We will be holding a rehearsed reading of it as part of our short series events remembering 1916 which you can also read about in Extra.

Our director Patricia McBride offers her pick of the season as does well known writer and performer Little John Nee. What shows did they pick? Read the magazine now to find out!

You can read An Grianán Extra – A Wee Bit More online now. Hard copies are available at our box now.

Back cover art for An Grianán Theatre's arts magazine by Laura Buchanan.

Back cover art for An Grianán Theatre’s arts magazine by Laura Buchanan.

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