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  • Chris ORourke

Dublin Theatre Festival 2018

Elevator Repair Service's Everyone's Fine With Virginia Wolff. Image by Joan Marcus

The Defiant Ones

It looks like another fascinating Dublin Theatre Festival again this year. Festival Director Willie White’s robust programme features premieres of new work, new spins on old classics, with a heady mix of Irish and international productions. Including works from the US, Australia, Belgium, Poland, Netherlands and the UK. Many of Ireland’s leading lights, including ANU, Rough Magic, Fishamble, Corn Exchange, Druid, Junk Ensemble, Pan Pan Theatre and Irish National Opera, set out to challenge as well as delight with some decidedly relevant issues being explored beneath the festival’s fun and glamour. A festival for the undefeated, DTF 2018 interrogates the current social and political malaise shaping the global and local landscape in often challenging and defiant productions that promise to be fun, serious, irreverent, and never anything less than engaging.

Running from Sept 27 till October 14, DTF 2018’s homegrown talents offer an impressive array of choices:

  • Ruth Negga in the title role of Hamlet at the Gate, directed by Yael Farber.

  • A blistering production from ANU and the Abbey Theatre, The Lost O’Casey, in which a little known Sean O’Casey play finds its way back onto the streets.

  • Druid continues its exploration of Shakespeare’s kings with DruidShakespeare: Richard III, in association with the Abbey Theatre.

  • Olivier Award-winning Fishamble: the New Play Company and the Abbey Theatre present Deirdre Kinahan’s latest drama, Rathmines Road.

  • The world premiere of Arthur Riordan’s stage adaptation of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, from Rough Magic, directed by Ronan Phelan.

  • Enda Walsh directs Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle for Irish National Opera, with acclaimed mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy returning home for a rare Irish performance, alongside Joshua Bloom.

  • Arthur Miller’s iconic film, The Misfits, is brought to the stage for the first time in a reimagining by Annie Ryan (Corn Exchange).

  • Junk Ensemble’s The Bystander brings to the surface some of the murkier and complex behaviours of contemporary society.

  • From Decadent Theatre a major revival of Marina Carr’s award winning breakthrough play The Mai with a cast led by Derbhle Crotty.

  • A new work by Gina Moxley, The Patient Gloria in association with Pan Pan Theatre.

  • Raymond Keane explores Beckett’s prose in Company from Company SJ.

  • Pan Pan Theatre contemplate artificial intelligence software in ELIZA’S Adventures in the Uncanny Valley.

  • A satirical look at the legacy of institutional Ireland in The M House from Equinox Theatre Company.

  • Home Theatres sees Dublin 15 ‘hosts’ paired with 30 leading theatre makers resulting in 30 new plays performed in houses across Dublin 15, with a selection presented in Draíocht.

Brendan Coyle in Conor McPherson's St. Nicholas (Donmar Warehouse). Image by Helen Maybanks

Once again international artists present some exciting and intriguing productions this year:

  • Brendan Coyle returns to the Irish stage for the first time in 16 years in a new production of Conor McPherson’s chilling play St Nicholas (Donmar Warehouse).

  • Dance Consortium’s (UK) the legendary, all-male comedy ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

  • Obie-award winning Elevator Repair Service (US) with a new play, Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf.

  • 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s (US) response to the current polarised social and political climate of the US, The Fever.

  • Two productions from Belgium - CAMPO with Louis Vanhaverbeke’s humourous and inventive Multiverse, and Silke Huysmans & Hannes Dereere’s documentary theatre performance Mining Stories, exploring the legacy of a toxic mining waste disaster in Brazil.

  • Two productions from Poland – TR Warszawa intriguing Fantasia, and Turkowski/Nowacka’s Klosterhof which brings audiences on a virtual trip through time exploring a collection of stories documenting a changing neighbourhood.

  • From Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour and Bush Theatre comes an audacious new theatrical experiment. Each night a different performer joins the playwright on stage, while the script waits unseen in a sealed box. NASSIM is a striking theatrical demonstration of how language can both divide and unite us.

  • Born into poverty in an isolated village in rural France, a boy grows up amongst hard men and women living hard and violent lives. Bullied relentlessly for being gay, The End of Eddy from the Unicorn Theatre and Untitled Projects, is the story of Eddy’s struggle to understand who he is, who he might become, and of his fight to escape (for ages 16+)

  • Dutch visual artist Nicoline van Harskamp with My Name is Language, a performative work on the topic of names.

Multiverse. Image by Jolien Fagard

Proving that you are never too young to become a theatre lover, Dublin Theatre Festival and The Ark present three acclaimed pieces of Theatre for Children, with something for ages 2+. This year, children along with their friends and families can explore the ground and all of it’s wriggling inhabitants in a quirky dance show for children ages 2-5, Grass from Second Hand Dance (UK). They can also undertake a magical journey through the dark and beautiful night for ages 3-6 in Andy Manley (UK) and Teater Refleksion’s (Denmark) Night Light. Or hear the tale of Oscar Wilde’s The Young King adapted for ages 8+ from Slingsby (Australia).

Bluebeard's Castle by Irish National Opera, directed by Enda Walsh. Image by Hugh O'Connor

In addition, Gala Night 2018 celebrates the extraordinary contribution made to the world of theatre by Cillian Murphy, seen most recently in the acclaimed Grief Is The Thing With Feathers. A vibrant Festival+ programme with work-in-progress showcases, panel discussions and post-show talks will give audiences an insight into much of the work.

"Whether this is your first time seeing a festival show or you have been coming for years, there’s something for you. The programme showcases many different ways that artists use theatre to engage with the world they’re living in. It’s a world where individuals, communities and the environment are under threat but also one where the desire for human connection is strong and the radical possibilities of imagination burn fiercely against the advancing darkness. This programme is full of moments where you can laugh, cry or have your mind blown. A festival is the time to take chances. Go and see something you might not otherwise."

Willie White, Artistic Director, Dublin Theatre Festival

So what are you waiting for? Box Office opens August 14th. Book now to avoid disappointment for this promises to be a particularly memorable festival.

Booking details:

Phone +353 1 677 8899

In person at Dublin Theatre Festival Box Office, Festival House, 12 Essex Street East, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, D02 EH42

Box Office opens 14 August, 10am, for general bookings

@DubTheatreFest DublinTheatreFestival @dublintheatrefestival

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