NY's All-Irish Theatre Festival ORIGIN'S 1ST IRISH Kicks Off January 9

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The 2019 Origin's 1st Irish Theatre Festival, New York's all-Irish theatre festival and the world's only festival devoted exclusively to producing the plays of contemporary Irish playwrights from around the world, settles in to its new January time slot, running three weeks from January 9 to 28. A total 17 events, including six mainstage productions from Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Queens and Manhattan, will be seen in and out of competition. Among the productions, five are US premieres; one is a world premiere. 15 contemporary Irish writers are represented with work in performance.

Origin's 1st Irish 2019 takes place in a number of distinguished venues across New York City, including the 59E59 Theaters (two theaters), the cell, the American Irish Historical Society, Scandinavia House, The NY Irish Center, The Playroom, A.R.T. New York, The Irish Consulate, the Irish Arts Center, and NYU's Glucksman Ireland House. (For tickets on sale now and festival schedule visit www.origintheatre.org )

Produced by Origin Theatre Company, now in its 16th season, Origin's 1st Irish is a highly curated festival that mixes brand new and recently acclaimed productions and special projects from both sides of the Atlantic. Since its founding in 2007, the Festival has been recognized for its focused size, and emphasis on audience engagement through mainstage productions, parties, panels and workshops. Its Next Generation and Breaking Ground series have proven to be a launch-pad for new projects developed collaboratively by artists from different cities, that have gone on to further success and acclaim. In 2015 The NY Times called Origin's 1st Irish "an important event that offers New York theatergoers the chance to see fascinating new work."

A competitive festival, this year's Origin's 1st Irish culminates in a Closing Night Ceremony on Monday January 28, staged at Rosie O'Grady's Manhattan Club, 800 Seventh Avenue, in the heart of Times Square. There the Best of Festival Awards, chosen by the festival's blue-ribbon panel of judges (whose names will be announced soon), will be handed out.

Origin's 1st Irish 2019 kicks off on Wednesday January 9 at 6:30pm at its Official Launch Party welcoming Festival participants and partners at The Irish Consulate. By invitation only.

The Productions
1/ The American premiere of John Breen's celebrated drama "Alone It Stands." Award-winning playwright and director John Breen revisits the 1978 David vs. Goliath win of Limerick's Munster's rugby club over New Zealand's All Blacks, rightly considered one of the best teams in history. Ireland was in the grip of a terrible recession and war was raging in Northern Ireland, and this scrappy team from Munster's surprise victory rocked the island. The Irish Times calls this widely-toured Irish smash hit "one of the cleverest, funniest, most brilliantly crafted plays you are ever likely to see... a dramatic triumph!" At 59E59 Theatres, 59 East 59th Street, from Jan 10 to 27.

2/ Returning to the Festival for the fifth time, the Olivier Award-winning, Dublin-based Fishamble: The New Play Company brings us the American premiere of "On Blueberry Hill," by Sebastian Barry, directed by Jim Culleton. Following its world premiere at Dublin Theatre Festival 2017, this new play featuring Niall Buggy and David Ganly as best of friends and worst of enemies, is bursting with humanity as it explores murder, forgiveness, survival, and ultimately, love in the prison of the human heart. "A superb, devastating play... not to be missed!" Sunday Independent At 59E59 Theatres, 59 East 59th Street, from Jan 8 to Feb 3.

3/ At the cell: Dublin's Gúna Nua presents the widely acclaimed "The Morning After the Life Before" by Ann Blake in its American premiere. Blake's highly personal new work delves into a sister and brother's relationship before and after the referendum on marriage equality in Ireland. It was called "an absolute cannot-miss" by the Montreal Theatre Hub Fringe, where it received Best English Language Production. It also won Outstanding Production at the London Ontario Fringe. With Ann Blake and Lucia Smyth. At the cell, 338 West 23rd Street, from Jan 20 to 27.

4/ Sole Purpose Theatre Co. in Derry, Northern Ireland, brings the American premiere of Patricia Byrne's "Blinkered." This searing drama, delving into the taboo subject of suicide among teens, comes off two acclaimed tours in Ireland and will be seen in New York, with its original cast of five, in four local venues. Developed by Byrne at her social change Sole Purpose Theatre Company, where she is artistic director, the production is doing a three-borough tour presented by The NY Irish Center. The NY Irish Center, 10-40 Jackson Avenue, in Long Island City, 7 performances from Jan 21 to 26

5/ Also at the cell, New York-based Fat Violet Theater presents "The Smuggler," the American premiere of Galway-born Ronan Noone's new solo comedy, featuring New York's own Mick Mellamphy, winner of two Origin's 1st Irish Best Actor Awards. As he has so deftly before, Noone knows how to write 'em raw as he sends his protagonists on dark treks of self-discovery, this one as elicit as ever, and for American audiences a lot closer to home than you'd expect! At the cell, 338 West 23rd Street, from Jan 14 to 21.

6/ Also at the cell, the world premiere of Festival favorite Derek Murphy's new comedy, "Inside Danny's Box" produced by Maria Deasy and Derek Murphy, the team that brought us "Dyin' for It" in last season's festival. With Maria Deasy and Aoife Williamson as two love-lorn pyromaniacs who want to set the world on fire, this lurid tale set in Ireland is all about secrets - the kind we live with and the kind we keep buried in a box. Far from it for us to keep this a secret! At the cell, 338 West 23rd Street, from Jan 14 to 27.

7/ Breaking Ground Series - Six Irish writers respond to the international theme of Migration. A reading of six brand new short plays by Brona Crehan, Michael Fitzpatrick, Rosemary Jenkinson, Honor Molloy, Sarah Street, and Sadhbh Walsh. At A.R.T. Studios at 520 Eight Avenue (36th Street), Sun Jan 13 at 4pm.

Special Events

8/ Irish American Writers & Artists "Martin Luther King Celebration." An artistic tribute to the life, memory and international legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Irish Arts Center, 553 West 51st Street, Date TBA.

9/ The Cork City Ballet of Ireland presents a special screening of "Breaking Pointe," Alan Foley's documentary celebration of the Ballet's 25-year history, and a look at how its policy of engaging dancers from international companies has impacted Cork. Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, Tues Jan 22, at 7pm.

10/ "Vital Voices" presented by The Lyric Theatre of Belfast, in a new partnership with Origin Theatre Company that builds a new cultural bridge between New York and Northern Ireland. Featured this year will be "Frances Brown - In My Mind's Eye" by Shirley-Anne Bonner, a vital voice from Northern Ireland, read by a distinguished group of NY-based actors. At American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue, on Wed Jan 17, 7pm. Free event.

11/ Origin presents "Scór on Broadway," a unique community cross-over event in which members of New York's Irish community of all ages and backgrounds come together to showcase and celebrate their unique performance skills in cultural cabaret that will light up a Broadway stage not to mention your heart. This is the third year in a row that Origin has hosted the festively raucous event during the Festival Fri, Jan 18 at 7pm, venue TBA.

12/ "Irish Women Lighting Up Broadway." Spotlighting the current crop of notable Irish female stars on Broadway right now, Origin hosts a lively panel discussion with Geraldine Hughes from "Harry Potter and The Cursed Child", and Fionnula Flanagan and Dearbhla Molloy both from "The Ferryman." Moderated by the distinguished TV and print theatre journalist Patrick Pacheco. At American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue (at 80th Street), on Mon Jan 21, 1pm.

13/ "Welcome to New York Emer Martin!" Origin hosts the first New York live reading of the award-winning author Emer Martin's latest novel, "The Cruelty Men." Martin reads excerpts from her wide praised book, which The Dublin Review hails as "an essential Irish novel." At NYU Glucksman Ireland House, 1 Washington Mews Thur Jan 17 at 7pm. Free Event

14/ "Listen to Your Irish Dreams" an interactive workshop. In this workshop conducted by intuitive healer and shamanic practitioner Jacques Burgering, participants will be encouraged to listen... to the drum, to the air, to the earth breathing, and to stars crossing the sky. At A.R.T. Studios at 520 Eight Avenue (36th Street), Sat Jan 26 at 3:30pm.

15/ Best of Festival Awards Night. The 11th annual Origin's 1st Irish Theatre Festival culminates in a stunning evening of fanfare and fun. Previous festival award winners have included: Peter Maloney, Jack Gleeson, Ciaran O'Reilly, Hayley Mills, Conor McPherson, and Pat Shortt.

Under the artistic direction of George C. Heslin, and now in its 16th season, Origin Theatre Company is devoted to introducing New York audiences to the stunning array of work and perspectives emanating from Europe. In new productions with New York-based artists, it produces the American premieres of impactful plays by contemporary writers that reflect the diversity of viewpoints and cultural perspectives emanating from the EU's 28 member countries. Origin also produces the "European Month of Culture NYC," in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, every May.

Since its founding in 2002, Origin has introduced works by 264 playwrights to US audiences, from such countries as the Netherlands, Sweden, Romania, Macedonia, Norway, Italy, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Festival & Season Sponsors
Support for Origin's 1st Irish Festival in 2019 is generously provided by:

Lead Partners: The Government of Ireland, Mutual of America and McVicker & Higginbotham

Presenting Partners: The Northern Ireland Bureau, The Ireland Funds, Tourism Ireland, Bank of Ireland, and Goldman Sachs

Sponsors: Culture Ireland and The Irish Arts Council

Single Event Sponsors: CIE Tours, The Padded Wagon, TG 4, and JFA Insurance.

Season Sponsors: The Delegation of the European Union to the United States, Istituto Italiano Cultura, Blooms Tavern, The Government of Ireland, Mutual of America, NY City Council Member Daniel Dromm, and public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, NY State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the NY State Legislature.

For Festival details and tickets visit www.origintheatre.org



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