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  • Chris ORourke

The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards

There’s still a little time left to vote

Now in their twentieth year, the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards will celebrate the best plays, performances and productions in Irish theatre during 2016, the awards to be presented March 5th, 2017 at The National Concert Hall.

Founder of the awards, Gerry Smyth said:

“This is the twentieth anniversary of the awards, established to honour and celebrate the achievements on the Irish stage. At the time of their inauguration there was no such formal recognition of the vibrant creative forces at work in Irish theatre. The initiative was a marriage of the newspaper’s commitment to arts coverage with a practical sponsorship. The winners and nominees of the past twenty years add up to a Who’s Who of the Irish theatre scene and many of those who were up-and-coming have gone on to international acclaim and to impress wider audiences.”

Indeed, looking at the list of this year’s nominees, that trend looks set to continue. For a comprehensive list of the nominees across all fifteen categories, visit:

Judging will prove to be no easy task for judges Anna Walsh, Director of Theatre Forum; Ella Daly, Dublin Youth Theatre; and Dr Nicholas Greene, Professor Emeritus, TCD. Nor for members of the public should they feel like exercising their right to vote.

You too can have your say by voting for The Audience Choice Prize which allows members of the public to go online and vote for their favourite production from 2016. Choose from the judge’s shortlist or nominate your own, personal favourite. Votes are limited to one per person, and the prize will be awarded to the professional Irish theatre production, first staged in 2016, that receives the most votes. But you will need to vote soon: the closing date to make your vote count is midnight, Wednesday, February 15th. It could be well worth your while. Those who register a vote in the Audience Choice are in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets to the ceremony and a season pass from the Dublin Theatre Festival 2017. A runner-up will also receive a pair of tickets to the Theatre Awards.

To help you along, and to refresh your memory, here are some of the productions from this year’s judges shortlist, which include Theatreclub’s production of It’s Not Over; the Abbey Theatre production of The Plough and the Stars, by Sean O’Casey; the Druid productions of Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett and The Beauty Queen of Leenane, by Martin McDonagh; Swan Lake/Loch na hEala, by Michael Keegan-Dolan with Sadler’s Wells Theatre London, Colours International Dance Festival, Theaterhaus Stuttgart, Dublin Theatre Festival, and Theatre de la Ville, Luxembourg; The Father, produced by the Gate Theatre and written by Florian Zeller; These Rooms by Anu and Coisceim Dance Theatre; the Abbey Theatre and Royal Court Theatre co-production of Cyprus Avenue, by David Ireland; the Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival production of Arlington [a love story], by Enda Walsh; and the Wide Open Opera production of The Barber of Seville, by Gioacchino Rossini.

To place your vote for any of the above, or for some other production you feel passionately about, just visit Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards Audience Choice

One prize already announced is this year’s Special Tribute Award, which will be given to Siobhán Bourke and Jane Daly of the Irish Theatre Institute (ITI). The ITI is a resource organisation for Irish theatre which provides a range of networking, information and training programmes, based in its offices in Dublin’s Temple Bar. It researches and promotes the Irish repertoire through Playography Ireland, an online searchable catalogue of new Irish writing that goes back to 1901. It also provides extensive programmes for supporting artists and developing work, including the Show in a Bag and Six in the Attic programmes. Almost every Irish theatre practitioner will have used its services at some stage in their career.

One category, noticeable by its absence, is the category of Dance. Its absence, it could be argued, further promotes the perception of Dance as the poor relation in performing arts, even though some of the most exciting and innovative productions of recent years have been dance based. While dance is recognised and acknowledged throughout this year’s categories, its formal inclusion as a category on its own terms, and in its own right, is something organisers will hopefully address for future ceremonies.

The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards ceremony will take place on March 5th, at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.

Tickets for the awards night are €20.00 and are currently on sale at The National Concert Hall.

For more information, visit The National Concert Hall or The Irish Times

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