Dublin Theatre Festival Director Michael Scott announces the programme as the event returns for the first time in two years.

With a record 58 shows, including Irish premiers of 14 new plays, the Festival seems to be approaching its former glory. No longer confined to Dublin City Centre, Festival shows are also being held in suburban venues in Cabinteely, Ballinteer, Rathcoole and Portmarnock.

This year a decision was taken to foster the Fringe within the Theatre Festival and Scott sees it developing like the Edinburgh Fringe. Of the 58 shows, 17 are in the Fringe Festival.

Both Festival and Fringe productions have experienced difficulties using new venues not fit for purpose, and having to turn them into theatres for the first time. Another challenge came when part of the set to ‘Fortycoats and the Monster Mystery’ did not fit through the doors of the Father Matthew Hall.

In previous years the Festival aimed to attract international visitors with a “stay six days and see six plays” offer. This year the Festival has booking offices in Spain, Japan, America and Germany and is attracting international theatre goers with the prospect of seeing nine new Irish plays over a weekend.

Unfortunately the Festival preparations have not been without their fair share of bad luck and tragedy. Due to illness Louis Lentin has been replaced by Gerry Stembridge to direct 'The Dosshouse Waltz'. Sadly actor Liam Sweeney, who had been rehearsing for a part of Mr Gibbs in the play “Arsenic and Old Lace”, died suddenly.

Nevertheless ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ in the Gaiety Theatre is leading the way in terms of ticket sales. Also the Druid Theatre Company show, ‘Conversations on a Homecoming’ by Tom Murphy in the Gate, is sold out, apart from a few single seats.

All in all, the Festival is doing record business.

A ‘Morning Ireland’ report from David Davin Power broadcast on 20 September 1985.