To celebrate 110 years of theatre, the Abbey has an exciting and diverse programme on offer throughout their anniversary season.
The Abbey Theatre’s big 110th birthday happens on December 27th this year but they’re extending the celebrations (and why not?) with a whole season of special drama until spring 2015. With collaborations with up-and-coming artists on new productions, touring the country, presenting award-winning independent theatre, classic plays from our own writers and a contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare, it promises to be a very exciting season.
The anniversary kicks off this autumn with two new plays from contemporary writers. As part of the Dublin Theatre Festival, Our Few and Evil Days, written and directed by Mark O’Rowe, will likely prove one of the event’s hottest tickets. It stars Ian Lloyd Anderson, Sinéad Cusack, Ciarán Hinds, Charlie Murphy and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor. It’s a disturbing story about family, truth and the nature of trust.
On the small Peacock stage, writer Shaun Dunne will debut with his new play The Waste Ground Party, which confronts the meaning of life and what happens when dreams don’t come true.
Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer, directed by Conall Morrison, is the Abbey’s festive offering. It’s got humour, charm, love, seduction and an intriguing plot of deception. Mix in some period costume and that’s a Christmas crowd puller.
For the first time in 35 years A Midsummer Night’s Dream will return to the Abbey in spring 2015. Directed by Gavin Quinn, the bard’s comedy of love, magic and farce is given a contemporary makeover.
There’s also some independent theatre on offer during the season. Look out for performances of FOLLOW by WillFredd Theatre which explores stories from the Irish deaf community. Lippy by Dead Centre, a play about four Kildare women who entered a suicide pact 13 years ago, got a lot of attention at last year’s Dublin Fringe Festival and at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival – don’t miss it again.
The Abbey is counting down to their birthday collating 110 moments of great theatre through a dedicated microsite. Photographs, correspondence, drawings and administrative records drawn from the Abbey Theatre archive tell the story both on and off the Abbey stage, giving a unique insight into the story of Irish theatre society. Moments so far include Lady Gregory as ambassador of the Abbey, in 1911; protests over Seán O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars in 1926, W.B. Yeats then rose to praise the new play and address the unruly audience; Frank Mac Mahon’s adaptation of Brendan Behan’s Borstal Boy in 1969 (pictured above), which became a major Broadway success; and Seamus Heaney’s translation of the Greek tragedy Antigone in 2008 for the Abbey’s The Burial at Thebes.
Theatre lovers can get involved and share their favourite Abbey moment with the hashtag #Abbey110. The next instalment of special moments will be out on 27th August. Booking is open for shows now.
26/27, Lower Abbey Street
All images via Abbey Theatre website