Dublin Theatre Festival

The 60th anniversary Dublin Theatre Festival will run from 28 Sept – 15 Oct 2017. The very first festival in May 1957, was part of An Tóstal – a celebration inspired by the wave of festivals that had been founded across Europe during the preceding decade as the continent rebuilt itself after the devastation of war.  Established initially to promote tourism during the off-season, the festival has grown to become an artistically led flagship cultural event that animates Dublin each autumn, welcoming audiences from all over Ireland and beyond. Now in this 60th anniversary year the festival both celebrates what has gone before while looking firmly to the future and the ahead.

This 60th anniversary programme will include 31 full productions, over 16 stages across the city, including:

Described by The Guardian as ‘An epic feminist protest song’, the hugely acclaimed new version of Aeschylus’s play The Suppliant Women opens the festival at the Gaiety Theatre. A story about the plight of refugees, moral and human rights, civil war, democracy and ultimately the triumph of love – a tale that echoes down the ages to find striking and poignant resonance today. Fifty local female volunteers, aged 16-25, will perform alongside a professional cast to create an extraordinary theatrical event.

Multi-award winning company ANU returns to the festival with a searingly intimate investigation into the corrupting force of the Irish family. At the edge of the city, a group of women stand together. As property of the state, they are a warning to others of what happens if the rules of Church and family are violated. They are The Sin Eaters. 

Oscillating through real events in our recent history, audiences weave between dream installation and judicial inquiry, to reshape state and body in this unsettling way, towards a future that looks horribly like the present.  

From Corn Exchange, Nora, a new play after Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, makes its world premiere. Inspired by Ibsen’s masterpiece, award-winning writer Belinda McKeon reimagines this exploration of honesty and power for a post-truth world. It’s 2025. A dangerous place for those who can’t afford to protect themselves. Directed by Eoghan Carrick, cast includes Venetia Bowe, Clare Perkins and Annie Ryan.

Eugene McCabe’s King of the Castle premiered at Dublin Theatre Festival in 1964 to acclaim and scandal. The brilliant Druid now revive this unsung Irish classic, directed by Garry Hynes at the Gaiety Theatre, with epic staging and a cast that includes Seán McGinley, Seána Kerslake and Marty Rea.

From Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival, Woyzeck in Winter, also at the Gaiety Theatre, is an electrifying fusion of two masterpieces – Büchner’s Woyzeck and Schubert’s Winterreise. Thrillingly reimagined by Conall Morrison and an outstanding creative team, this visually stunning production features the phenomenal Irish cast of Patrick O’Kane, Camille O’Sullivan, Stephen Brennan, Peter Coonan, Susannah De Wrixon, Rosaleen Linehan, Barry McGovern, Rory Nolan and Shane O’Reilly, with live music played by Conor Linehan.

Winners of the Olivier Award 2016, Fishamble: The New Play Company, and Costa Book of the Year Award winner 2017, Sebastian Barry, reunite for the world premiere production of On Blueberry Hill at the Pavilion Theatre.

Graham McLaren directs and designs Ulysses by James Joyce, adapted by Dermot Bolger who pays homage to Joyce’s classic with a brilliantly edited, vibrant version at the Abbey Theatre.

A solo work for an eleven-year-old boy, Hamnet, an Abbey Theatre and Dead Centre co-production on the Peacock stage. Staring Ollie West and directed by Bush Moukarzel and Ben Kidd. 

A world premiere production, from Rough Magic, Melt is about the folly of humankind, our Icarus-like ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and the damage we do ourselves and our world in the process. Its setting is the Antarctic – the last great wilderness, the edge of the known world, the one relatively uncontaminated territory. Into this idyllic landscape is catapulted the gloriously anarchic Boylan, a pioneering Irish ecologist gone rogue.  Melt is a funny, sophisticated fairytale that explores the human condition, acknowledges its fragility, directed by Lynne Parker.

Artistic Director Willie White said of the programme:

‘We are very excited to be marking 60 years of Dublin Theatre Festival with a diverse programme of contemporary Irish and international theatre which showcases the next generation of theatre talent alongside celebrated artists. Since our first edition 60 years ago, Ireland has changed profoundly and Irish theatre has been transformed along with it. Festival programmes have followed, and often catalysed, that change. This festival embraces the breadth of contemporary Irish theatre and celebrates the particular energy that comes from so many new works having their world premieres alongside each other, accompanied by outstanding international productions.

While I expect that festival performances will engage, provoke and entertain, I hope that they may also give audiences an opportunity to reflect on the values of empathy, generosity and solidarity, which are currently under such pressure globally. The programme is aimed at all ages and devised to appeal to those attending for the very first time as well as seasoned theatre goers. Initiatives we are undertaking this year will see hundreds of people attending a festival production for the first time as we believe that creating the widest access possible to arts and culture is key to a confident, creative Ireland.’

In recent years the festival has celebrated greats of Irish theatre such as Tom Murphy and Brian Friel and Sinéad Cusack and this year the life and work of Rosaleen and Fergus Linehan will be honoured at the Dublin Theatre Festival Gala Night.

For younger audiences the festival has once again teamed up with The Ark to present a number of internationally acclaimed works for children Children includes works from Norway and the UK. Poggle for ages 2-5, If only Rosa could Do Magic for ages 5-9 and, for ages 10+ We Come From Far Far Away, where a boy called Abdullah, who comes from Syria wants to tell you some things (inspired by true stories)

Festival+ is a series of work-in-progress showcases, talks and public events, special broadcasts and readings, and audience engagement programmes. This year’s expanded Festival+ programme is presented in association with Creative Ireland and includes critical events, opportunities for artistic development and networking, a public lecture on Dublin Theatre Festival and the city 1957 – 2017, and new writing and engagement.

Whether you’re young or old, a seasoned theatre regular or have never set foot in a theatre before but have always been curious to find out what it’s all about, this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival has something for everyone to enjoy.

Booking details:

Online:  www.dublintheatrefestival.com

By phone: +353  1 673 0606

In person: Dublin Theatre Festival box office, Festival House, 12 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2


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