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  • Chris ORourke

Dublin Theatre Festival 2019

Hecuba by Marina Carr presented by Rough Magic as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2019. Image by Ros Kavanagh

Dublin Theatre Festival 2019

In launching Dublin Theatre Festival 2019, Artistic Director, Willie White was crystal clear about his intent;

“Our festival celebrates the collective experience of live performance and contributes to the social and cultural life of Dublin. However, it is getting more and more difficult to make art in the city. The landscape is changing all around us. There are fewer theatres in Dublin now than there were twenty years ago, studio spaces are closing and club nights are disappearing. It’s time to speak up for Dublin to ensure that it can continue to be a place that is diverse, creative and inspiring. We will get the city we ask for and I would like one that is made for people and for the future.”

If the city’s changing in all the wrong ways, Dublin Theatre Festival 2019 isn’t giving up without a fight. From 26 Sept to 13 Oct, Dublin Theatre Festival 2019 looks set to serve up some mouth watering productions, reminding us why we need to value our artists, and asking how do we respond to the crisis of rapidly diminishing venues. Spread over three weeks, performances include ten world premieres, new work and reimagined classic texts, and an expanded season of Theatre for Children, featuring some of the best in Irish and international productions.

Playboy of the Western World as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2019. Image uncredited.

Over eighteen days Irish productions include:

  • A major coproduction between DTF and the Lyric Theatre of Synge’s classic, The Playboy of the Western World directed by Oonagh Murphy

  • Faultline from ANU Productions and the Gate Theatre (world premiere) a love story, an investigation, an exodus surrounding real events in 1982, propels audiences through a living history based on source materials from the Irish Queer archive

  • Michael Keegan Dolan and Teaċ Daṁsa mythic, yet timely new production, Mám, a meeting place between soloist and ensemble, classical and traditional, the local and universal. Bringing together concertina player Cormac Begley, the European Classical contemporary collective stargaze and 12 international dancers at O’Reilly Theatre.

  • Last Orders At The Dockside by Dermot Bolger at the Abbey (world premiere) in which, over the course of an evening in the 1980s, hidden tensions expose fault lines in complex relationships in the docklands community

  • Rough Magic's Hecuba by Marina Carr (Irish premiere) a passionate re-imaging of the aftermath of the Trojan War and the events surrounding its ionic characters. A drama of a complex and powerful woman

  • The Alternative by Michael Patrick & Oisín Kearney from Fishamble: The New Play Company (world premiere). Asking questions such as, What if Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom? Set in 2019, it is the eve of the Referendum and British Prime Minister Ursula Lysaght is returning to her hometown of Dublin to convince voters to remain

  • The Beacon by Nancy Harris from Druid at the Gate (world premiere) marks Nancy Harris’ Druid debut and her return to the Gate after her adaptation of The Red Shoes.

  • From Decadent A Love Like That by Billy Roche (world premiere) is set in a provincial library on the cusp of its transfer to new premises. Senior librarian Ellen faces betrayal on all sides but her warrior self finds hope and light in the process of change. Directed by Andrew Flynn

  • The Sleepwalkers from Pan Pan Theatre and Dublin Youth Theatre collaboratively created from ideas generated by DYT members and found texts, asked the question: What does it mean to be awake?

  • Pasolini's Saló Redubbed, live redubbing of the Pier Paolo Pastil’s controversial film Saló or the 120 Days of Sodom from Dylan Tighe and the Abbey (world premiere) daringly transposes Pasolini’s notorious final film to Ireland

  • Ray Scannell’s festival writing debut with The Bluffer’s Guide to Suburbia, exposes a generation of adult children living back in the home. Directed by Tom Creed at Project

  • At the Gate, Beckett’s Room by Dead Centre with Mark Halloran (world premiere). A biography of a room. A play without performers, it tells the story of the apartment in Paris where Samuel Beckett live with his partner Suzanne during the Second World War

  • Moonfish, the Abbey & Galway International Arts Festival in association with Town Hall Theatre, Redemption Falls freely adapted from the novel by Joseph O’Connor. A bleak and beautiful story, told through the folk music of Ireland and America.

Burgerz as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2019. Image by Elise Rose

International productions from the UK, Australia, Sweden/Estonia, Portugal, Belgium and the USA include:

  • Walking to Jerusalem a feat in virtuoso storytelling inspired by real events

  • Your Words in My Mouth, a conversation about love, reconstructed in a series of venues usually reserved for insiders: a football stadium, a hairdressers, a council chamber and a Freemason’s Hall

  • A hilarious, ripped-up musical How to Win Against History

  • The return of Nicola Gunn as she navigates the moral and ethical complexities of intervention in Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster

  • A new play by Tim Crouch, Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation, fresh from its premiere at Edinburgh International Festival

  • Forced Entertainment return with Real Magic

  • OBIE award-winning Nilaja Sun casts new light on the phrase ‘it takes a village’ in Pike St.

  • Us/Them retells, from the perspective of a child, three days when 1,200 people were held hostage by terrorists in Beslan

  • The encounter is real, the flirtation is fiction in Collection of Lovers from Raquel André

  • Burgerz from performance artist Travis Alabanza, one of the UK’s most prominent trans voices

  • An insight into the Northern Ireland care system from Fionnuala Kennedy in Removed

  • Iggy Lond Malmborg fills the empty space of the theatre with fantastical theatre magic in Physics and Phantasma

  • Tiago Rodrigues, on his third visit to the festival, brings Sopro a triumph on its premiere at Avignon Festival in 2017. One for theatre romantics, the play tells the story of the theatre’s prompter who steps out of the shadows after for 40 years to take her place in the spotlight.

This year’s programme sees an expanded Theatre for Children presented by DTF in partnership with The Ark, including a new work commissioned by The Ark - The Haircut by Wayne Jordan and Tom Lane; a unique and wordless take on the complicated world of sibling rivalry from Anna Newell with BigKidLittleKid; Andy Manley with Red Bridge Arts and Stick by Me, a joyful show about friendship and play and the importance of treasuring little things; Baba Yaga, a new take on the old Russian folktale, from Windmill, performed by Christine Johnston and Rosemary Meyers.

Pike Street as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2019. Image by Teresa Castracane

Festival+ continues the drama off stage with a series of talks, critical events, exhibitions, tours and work-in-progress showcases. This programme of events includes networking opportunities for theatre practitioners, young critics panel, a theatrical walking tour and an audio journey through 14 Henrietta Street.

Sometimes the greatest act of resistance is celebration. In the current cultural climate, Dublin Theatre Festival 2019 represents a celebration of theatre and theatre making, whose quantitative rewards speak for themselves in terms of prestige, tourism, etc., and whose qualitative impact is beyond measure. Fun, fearsome, and maybe even a little fabulous, while being delightful, disturbing, and often deeply moving, Dublin Theatre Festival 2019 is an experience you won’t want to miss. Tickets are on sale now.

Phone: +353 1 677 8899

In person: DTF box office, Festival House, 12 East Essex Street East, Temple Bar, D.2.

Link to DTF 2019 Programme can be found here.

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