Dublin Theatre Festival

Michael Keegan-Dolan  Swan Lake / Loch na hEala as part of Dublin Theatre Festival OReilly Theatre, Belvedere Prevs 29 & 30 Sept  opens 1 Oct  Photo Colm Hog
Michael Keegan-Dolan Swan Lake / Loch na hEala as part of Dublin Theatre Festival
Photo: Colm Hogan

Visitors to Dublin can expect 18 days and nights of exceptional theatre when the Dublin Theatre Festival returns to the city from 29 September to 16 October. Now in its 59th year, the Dublin Theatre Festival is designed to appeal to people of all ages, whether they are seasoned theatre goers or have never experienced the theatre before. As always, the festival showcases the diversity of contemporary theatre – with drama, opera, dance, performance art, documentary theatre and film all featuring at this year’s event.

“Over the last six decades, Dublin Theatre Festival has developed a very strong reputation for showcasing the best of Irish and international stage productions,” said Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys at the launch of this year’s festival. “Dublin Theatre Festival is a very important part of the capital’s cultural calendar and helps to secure Dublin’s status as a hub of artistic talent and creativity”.

Artistic Director Willie White added: “The programme is aimed at all ages and devised to appeal to those attending for the very first time as well as to seasoned theatre goers. We set out each year to make the best festival possible that feels authentically ‘of Dublin’, presenting the city’s vibrant theatre scene, complemented by a keen international perspective”.

This year’s festival will open at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre with a fresh new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare’s comedy will receive a gleefully fresh take from Lyric Hammersmith and Filter Theatre from the UK. Expect spontaneous bursts of song, lycra-clad superheroes, Nerf guns and epic food fights, all backed by a live band channelling everything from Barry White to The Ramones, doo-wop and grunge in this fun and lively adaptation.

Mozart’s Don Giovanni receives a reimagining thanks to Roddy Doyle, whose translation of the opera will premiere at the Gaiety Theatre. One of the most visceral and thrilling operas of all time, this gripping story of guilt, love regret and death will be served up with a uniquely Dublin flavour thanks to Doyle’s unique interpretation.

The Abbey Theatre will present two world premieres over the course of the festival. On the Peacock stage is The Remains of Maisie Duggan, an explosive new play from Carmel Winters. Only Maisie’s funeral would bring her daughter Kathleen back to Ireland. But it’s a curious corpse that greets Kathleen on her arrival and old family feuds soon surface in this riotous dark comedy. On the Abbey stage, Donegal, a musical about family and country music, written by Frank McGuinness with music by Kevin Doherty will receive its world premiere.

Una McKevitt blends fiction and reality in Alien Documentary. Starring PJ Gallagher, Molly O’Mahony and James Scales embodying characters who, through their everyday conversations and the personal histories they share, demonstrate the power of companionship and courage.

The Last Siren is an experimental opera by Ian Wilson that embraces improvisation and electronica. Centring on a hermit-like woman who believes that she is the last of the Sirens, it stars acclaimed Irish singer and Jazz FM’s Vocalist of the Year Lauren Kinsella with soundscape provided by Ireland’s leading sound art collective The Quiet Club (Danny McCarthy and Mick O’Shea).

Throughout the duration of the festival there will be a number of panel discussions, critical events and In Development showcases at Festival+. In recent years the festival has celebrated greats of Irish theatre such as Tom Murphy and Brian Friel, and this year the life and work of Sinead Cusack 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. This year’s Theatre for Children includes work from Mary-Francis Doherty in association with Young at Art (UK), Junges Ensemble Stuttgart (JES) (Germany) and Teater Pero (Sweden). Find out what happened to Hansel and Gretel, as Johannes and Margarethe welcome you into a world full of strange tales and magical objects. Fall in love with Aston – a little dog with a very big heart – as he shows us just how valuable even the smallest object can be, or share Katie’s excitement (and anxiety) as she turns 12 and faces the life-changing move to secondary school.

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.


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