Experiencing choice paralysis with all of the great theatre in Ireland at the moment? RTÉ Culture rounds up some of the shows that truly deserve your attention...
Translations (Dublin, Limerick, Galway and Donegal, 13th June to 3rd September, also on tour)
Setting up shop at Dublin's Abbey Theatre for the summer, Brian Friel's play about cross-border tensions in 1833 is as relevant, potent and striking today as it has ever been.
We open to pupils gathered in a hedge school in the townland of Baile Beag/Ballybeg. This Irish-speaking community in Donegal has suddenly become the unlikely focal point for a changing world. There are plans for a new English-speaking national school and a group of Royal Engineers have arrived to map the area.
Girl From The North Country (Olympia Theatre, 25th June - 30th July)
Written and directed by Conor McPherson, Double Olivier award-winning West End & Broadway smash hit, Girl From The North Country boldly reimagines the songs of Bob Dylan in a story about love and family set in the Midwest during the Great Depression - Conor talks to Marty Whelan below.
Set in 1934, we meet a group of wayward souls who cross paths only to discover they all stand at a turning point in their lives. But as they search for a future, and hide from the past, they find themselves facing unspoken truths about the present. Tickets and more information here.
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Unforgiven (Hawk's Well Theatre, July 16th, also on tour)
John McDwyer's classic comedy is, in the author's own words, "a mad play about mad people who are content with their madness". Unforgiven is a rip-roaring comedy about two men who are awaiting their father’s death while their neighbour Mary is nursing her mother through her final illness. When the father dies and another brother returns from America, a chain of events is set in place which results in an unexpected and hilarious outcome... Tickets and more information here.
True West (Galway Arts Festival, July 12th - 23rd)
One of the world's most celebrated theatre ensembles, Chicago’s Steppenwolf make their much-anticipated return to Galway for the first time in 15 years, for this year's Galway Arts Festival. In 1982, Steppenwolf exploded onto the American Theatre scene with its now-legendary production of Sam Shepard’s True West. This American classic traces the volatile relationship of Austin and Lee, estranged brothers who find themselves holed up together in their mother’s well–kept suburban house with a typewriter, a set of golf clubs and the undeniable call of the desert.... Tickets and more information here.
The Steward Of Christendom (Gate Theatre, Dublin, July 26th - September 3rd, also on tour)
Owen Roe leads a revival of Sebastian Barry's classic, for the play's first major revival in over 25 years. Set in a county home in Baltinglass in 1932, the play centres on Thomas Dunne (Roe) reliving moments of his career as a senior officer in the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP), including the handover of Dublin Castle to Michael Collins in 1922 following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, juxtaposed with reimagined memories of his family.
The Humours of Bandon (Cork Arts Theatre, 3rd - 6th August, also on tour)
Set in the heady world of competitive Irish dancing, writer and performer Margaret McAuliffe's acclaimed coming-of-age drama concerns Annie, a 16-year-old Dubliner on the eve of the Irish Open championship. We share her mind-numbing commitment and burning desire to win the title. Will she win and, if so, in what way? Tickets and more information here.
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The Tempest (Kilkenny Arts Festival, August 3rd - 6th, 8th - 13th)
Shakespeare's lyrical revenge fantasy comes to the Castle! From Rough Magic and Kilkenny Arts Festival, the award-winning team that brought you productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing, comes a new take on Shakespeare’s classic, filled with magic, mischief, music and romance. Tickets and information here.
The Border Game (Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Thu 25th - Sat 27th Aug, also on tour)
From award-winning writers Michael Patrick & Oisín Kearney (My Left Nut and The Alternative), The Border Game is a timely and powerful reflection on 100 years of the border. On a farm on the border, a fence needs repair after being destroyed by vandals. But re-building a fence is more complicated than it seems... Tickets and more information here.
Copper Face Jacks: The Musical (Cork Opera House, 23rd - 28th August)
Part-slapstick, part-satire, Paul Howard's smash-hit musical is a love story set on the eve of a Dublin v Kerry All-Ireland Final when a guileless Kerry girl falls for the Captain of the Dublin football team, Gino Wildes. Can love conquer all as these two young sweethearts face massive cultural and linguistic hurdles on their road to happiness/Croker? Tickets and more information here.
Bat Out Of Hell (Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, August 30th - September 10th)
That's right - Bat Out Of Hell creators Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman may have sadly departed this mortal plain, but their rock n'roll masterpiece lives on in the acclaimed musical, an epic tale of rebellious youth and passion, set to a soundtrack of Steinman masterworks from across the decades.