The ever popular and world renowned Dublin Theatre Festival begins next weekend, and if you are hoping to catch a show while in town, there is no better time. Drama groups from Ireland and around the world will take to the stage at all hours of the day and night, to bring audiences a selection of plays, new and old, from around the globe.
One of the most eagerly anticipated shows this year is the wold premier of Colm Toibin’s new one-woman play Testament, featuring Marie Mullen (left) and directed by the internationally renowned theatre director Garry Hynes, which explores the theme of belief through the life of a woman who was forced to bear an unimaginable burden in tumultuous times.
Sean O’Casey’s well-known play Juno and the Paycock, which sets the lives of one tenement family against the social and political turmoil of Ireland’s War of Independence, will be performed on the Abbey stage, directed by Howard Davies and starring Risteárd Cooper and Sinéad Cusack. The play will be of particular interest to visitors to Dublin for its portrayal of inner city life in the early years of the last century.
In an exciting new venture, some of this year’s plays will be staged in locations around the city where theatre has never been performed before. Of the 28 shows scheduled for this year, nine will be performed in venues appropriate to the theme or subject of the play. The most talked about so far is Laundry, directed by Louise Lowe, which is the second installment of a series of four site-specific works exploring the social history of a quarter mile area in Dublin’s north inner city. It presents what life was like for the women who worked in the Gloucester Street Magdalene Convent on Sean McDermott Street, by inviting the audience in to experience what the conditions were like for themselves. Each performance is limited to three people, and is participatory in nature.
Trade, a new play by Mark O’Halloran, will be staged in a run down inner city guesthouse, where a middle-aged man with blood on his shirt sits with a young rent boy, and The Lulu House, which features the singer Camille O’Sullivan, invites the audience to become detectives and piece together the disappearance of a screen icon in the James Joyce House at Usher’s Island.
This year’s festival runs from 29th September to 16th October. For a schedule of performances or to book tickets, see http://dublintheatrefestival.com/