Tag Archives: Abbey Theatre

Abbey Theatre Production of Plough and the Stars in Washington

Sean Holmes’ production of The Plough and the Stars for the Abbey Theatre has been a huge success at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC. Writing for The Washington Post Nelson Pressley writes,

It’s a grubby milieu that screams poverty and hardship, yet as always the O’Casey characters are joltingly alive. The production’s triumph is the fluid, splendidly balanced ensemble, which for harmony and power rivals any other cast seen in Washington this year.

He goes on to say,

[T]his vigorous performance, which will tour elsewhere in the United States later this year, convincingly reinforces the mettle of O’Casey’s great play.

The Plough and the Stars at the Abbey Theatre – Reviews

Both The Guardian and The Stage have reacted very positively to Sean Holmes‘ production of The Plough and the Stars at the Abbey Theatre. Tickets are already hard to come by for the performances at the Abbey and these reviews may well increase demand.

Reviews

[T]his production succeeds in being very moving, while asking insistent questions about social justice that often get lost in the fray.

Helen Meany, The Guardian

In a bold update for Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, director Sean Holmes makes the best work of O’Casey’s Plough in years.

Chris McCormack, The Stage

[D]irector Sean Holmes has, for want of a better expression, absolutely nailed this.

James Dunne, Pure M Magazine

Tour

The production will tour Ireland starting on 26th of April with five nights at the Cork Opera House before moving on to The National Opera House, Wexford  (Wednesday 4 – Saturday 7 May), Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick (Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 May) and Town Hall Theatre, Galway  (Tuesday 24 – Saturday 28 May).

Abbey/Lyric Theatres’ Shadow Well Represented in the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards

Congratulations to everyone involved in the recent production of Shadow of a Gunman co produced by the Abbey and Lyric Theatres. The production has received five nominations for Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards.

The nominees are,

  • Best Director, Wayne Jordan
  • Best Actor, Mark O’Halloran (Donal Davoren)
  • Best Supporting Actress, Amy McAllister (Minnie Powell)
  • Best Costume Design, Sarah Bacon
  • Best Set Design, Sarah Bacon

It is lovely to see this production recognised. The whole field of nominees is very strong pointing to a good year in dramatic arts. It is also good to see  the Waking The Feminists movement recognised in a  Judges’ special award for Lian Bell.

The Plough and the Stars at The Abbey Theatre 2016

The Plough and the Stars will be part of the Abbey Theatre’s Waking the Nation season in 2016. Abbey Theatre Director Fiach Mac Conghail has announced a major programme of work, “to commemorate and acknowledge the major historical events of 1916”.

The season will include productions of The Plough and the Stars, directed by Sean Holmes, and Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme. In addition there will be several new works performed by writers such as David Ireland, Sean P. Summers and Phillip McMahon.

The Plough and the Stars will run at the Abbey from 9 March – 23 April 2016 and then embark on a tour of Ireland taking in Cork Opera House; The National Opera House, Wexford; Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick and Town Hall Theatre, Galway. In addition there will be a tour of North America to Harvard University’s American Repertory Theater (Massachusetts); the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia); Montclair State University’s Peak Performances, (New Jersey) and Southern Theatre, (Ohio).

The Shadow of a Gunman at the Abbey Theatre: Reviews

The Abbey Theatre and  The Lyric Theatre’s co-production of  The Shadow of a Gunman is running on the Abbey Stage in Dublin until the 1st of August.

Wayne Jordan’s production, starring  Mark O’Halloran,  Amy McAllister and  David Ganly,  has received an enthusiastic reception.

  • “High theatrical energy is kept aloft by the colourful parade of O’Casey’s tenement dwellers, and equally the parade of O’Casey’s brilliant writing talent.”
  • “Nothing is more absurd in O’Casey’s 1923 play than the notion that art couldbe indifferent to politics. Set just three years earlier, itsnear-vaudevillian succession of intrusions leading towards something more shattering, was first performed during a vicious Civil War. It was a dangerous weapon itself, a tragedy played for laughs.”
  • “The drama packs a punch…  as O’Casey reminds us ‘it’s the civilians who suffer’.”
  • “All poses have dropped away, and this impressively lucid production leaves us with the question: what would we have done in his place?”

Book now online or contact the Abbey Theatre box office at,  0035-3187 87222.

Aideen O’Kelly, Irish Actor, 1940 – 2015

It is sad to note the death of  Aideen O’Kelly last month. She began her career with the Abbey Theatre  in  1964 playing Mrs Gogan  in  The  Plough and the Stars.  She notably  played  Fionnuala  in  Red  Roses  for  Me  in  addition  to many  other  roles  at  the Abbey.

In  the  1980s  she  moved  to  New  York  and  achieved  acclaim  for  her  acting  on  Broadway.

The Shadow of a Gunman: Abbey Theatre and Lyric Theatre Co production

The Abbey Theatre has announced its forthcoming co production of  The Shadow of a Gunman with the Lyric Theatre Belfast.  The production will run from  Friday, 12 June 2015 to  Saturday, 1 August 2015.

The production will be directed by  Wayne Jordan and feature  Mark O’Halloran as  Donal Davoren,  David Ganly as  Seamus Shields and  Amy McAllister as  Minnie Powell.

Tickets are available via the Abbey Theatre. Buy online now.

Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks Includes The Plough and the Stars

Sackville Street (Dublin) after the 1916 Easter Rising
Sackville (now O’Connell) Street, Dublin, after the 1916 Easter Rising
The Irish Times is running a series of articles looking at modern Ireland through artworks in various media. The Plough and the Stars has been included with an article by Fintan O’Toole looking at the context of the play and its impact.

It was not unreasonable to expect that the Abbey would mark the [tenth] anniversary [of the Easter Rising] respectfully. Instead it presented Seán O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, which presented the Rising through the experiences of those who suffered most in Easter Week: the Dublin slum dwellers unwillingly thrust on to the frontline. And it suggested that, for them, the great event had brought nothing but deeper misery.

The article looks at how W.B. Yates defended the play and importance of the ability to accept failings and ambiguities as a mark of a mature nation.

The series of articles looks at many different artworks and their impact on Ireland and the wider world.

Gabrielle Reidy, Irish Actor, 1960 – 2014

Gabrielle Reidy as Bessie Burgess
Gabrielle Reidy as Bessie Burgess in the Abbey Theatre’s production of The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

It is deeply saddening to learn that  Gabrielle Reidy has died. Her career was bookended by roles in plays by Sean O’Casey at the Abbey Theatre. Starting as a child actor in The  Shadow of a Gunman in 1971 and with her last role her acclaimed performance as Bessie Burgess in The Plough and the Stars 2012.

In the intervening years she graced many productions on stage, television and film. More information is contained in her obituaries in The Guardian and The Irish Times.

Condolences to her family and friends.

Sean O’Casey Features in the Abbey Theatre’s 110 Moments

To celebrate its 110th anniversary the Abbey Theatre has produced a pictorial timeline of 110 important moments in its history from Éamon de Valera’s performance in A Christmas Hamper in 1905 to their writers salons nurturing the next generation of irish playwrights. Sean O’Casey features in two of these first as a listing in the submission logbook for Plough and the Stars and then in a stark image of the Abbey damaged terribly by fire in 1951 during a production of that same play. Remarkably the cast and crew managed to perform the play at the Peacock the next night.