Abbey Theatre to Perform a ‘Citysong’

Winner of the Verity Bargate Playwriting Award 2017, Dylan Coburn Gray’s Citysong makes its world premiere on the Abbey Stage from May 25 – June 8 before going Out of the Abbey to London’s Soho Theatre, co-producers of the work, from June 12 – July 6.

Directed by Abbey Theatre Associate Director Caitríona McLaughlin, who recently won Best Director at the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards (On Raftery’s Hill), Citysong features an exciting cast of six Abbey Stage debuts. These are Amy Conroy, Jade Jordan, Daryl McCormack, Bláithín Mac Gabhann, Clare McKenna and Dan Monaghan.

Citysong is described as both a play and a poem. The theatre say: “It’s a chorus of voices showing us three generations of a Dublin family on one day. It turns out one day holds the entire past.”

“There are teen discos, late night taxis, home nurses, Jewish launderettes, vigilantes, babies, immigrants, seagulls. It’s intimate and sweeping. It’s cerebral and compassionate. It’s joyous and ridiculous. It’s modern day Dublin’s Under Milk Wood via Metamorphoses. Transformations. Births and deaths, sunderings and returns, time and love.”

Citysong plays in a reconfigured Abbey auditorium, creating an intimate environment for the premiere of this new work, while still reaching a large audience. Neil Murray, Director of the Abbey Theatre, said: ‘I was fortunate enough to be a judge for the 2017 Verity Bargate Award. Citysong, the eventual winner, leapt out on first read as an electrifying piece of work. I’m very excited to see it premiere on the Abbey Stage, as a major co-production with our partners at Soho Theatre.’

David Luff, Soho Theatre Creative Director, said: ‘Citysong is a portrait of a city told through extraordinary poetry that catches your breath. It’s no surprise that it won our 2017 Verity Bargate Award. We are over the moon to be co-producing with Ireland’s National Theatre again. We can’t wait for the world premiere at the Abbey Theatre before Citysong heads our way for its London premiere in June.’

Dylan Coburn Gray, playwright, said: ‘Citysong is the single play of mine I’m most proud of. It most clearly shows what I’m all about as a playwright, both stylistically and thematically. It’s a spoken word poem in a relentless present tense. It’s also a historical play that digs into the social changes in Dublin over the last seventy years.”

“The story emerges from myriad small moments that suddenly resolve into something larger. It’s magic that people seem to be responding to that, and that it’s the play with which I get to go on the big, exciting (and/or terrifying) journey of my first Abbey production and first UK production with Soho.”

“The copy says it’s about time and love, the one being the human stakes of the other. We can’t save the people or places that make us from sooner or later disappearing. I think its collage of moments on that theme speaks, in a quiet way, to Dublin in 2019, where home and family are in danger of disappearing for good. It’s a joyful piece. But that joy articulates the stakes of our dysfunction because it is precisely what is lost.”

Citysong has its Free First Preview on the Abbey Stage on May 25, running in total for 15 performances ahead of going Out of the Abbey to London’s Soho Theatre. Tickets are already selling fast for this anticipated world premiere.

They cost from €13. For more information see here.

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