Productions and plays from Ireland face off against several homegrown New York productions as the 11th annual Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival hands out its awards at a closing night ceremony at Rosie O'Grady's Manhattan Club, 800 Seventh Avenue, on Monday January 28 at 7pm. Origin 1st Irish 2019, the world's only theatre festival dedicated to showcasing the work of contemporary Irish playwrights from around the world, began on January 9. Among the festival's six mainstage productions in competition, five are US premieres, and one is a world premiere. To RSVP to the awards ceremony, which is a free event, visit www.origintheatre.org

Leading the nominations, which are being announced today, are Sebastian Barry's two hander "On Blueberry Hill," featuring David Ganly and Niall Buggy, at 5E59 Theaters playing through February 3 (with five nominations); Ann Blake's marriage equality heart-warmer "The Morning After the Life Before" which came in from Dublin and plays at the cell through Sunday (also five nominations); and John Breen's "Alone It Stands," produced locally with cast of six playing over 60 (with four nominations). "Alone It Stands" ends its critically acclaimed run on Sunday as well.

Picking up three nominations each were Derek Murphy's "Inside Danny's Box," the Ronan Noone comedy in verse "The Smuggler," which played at the cell, and Patricia Byrne's touring production of "Blinkered," coming in from Derry Northern Ireland, which is being seen in a mini Tri-State area tour produced by the Irish Center in Queens through Sunday.

Origin Theatre Company, producer of the Festival, will honor the legendary Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan, currently on Broadway in "The Ferryman," with a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

The list of nominees is as follows: Best actress - Lucia Smyth ("The Morning After the Life Before"); Ann Blake ("The Morning After the Life Before"); Gemma Walker-Farren ("Blinkered"), and Maria Deasy ("Inside Danny's Box"). Best actor - Mick Mellamphy ("The Smuggler"); Patrick McBrearty ("Blinkered"); Niall Buggy ("On Blueberry Hill"); David Ganly ("On Blueberry Hill"). Best Director - Paul Meade ("The Morning After the Life Before"); David Sullivan ("The Smuggler"); John Breen ("Alone It Stands"), and Lisa Milinazzo ("Inside Danny's Box"). Best Playwright - Ronan Noone ("The Smuggler"); Ann Blake ("The Morning After the Life Before"); John Breen ("Alone It Stands"), and Sebastian Barry ("On Blueberry Hill"). Best Design - "Alone It Stands," "On Blueberry Hill," "Inside Danny's Box," Best Production -- "Alone It Stands," "On Blueberry Hill," "The Morning After the Life Before," and "Blinkered."

This year's blue-ribbon panel of judges includes the actors Jenny Sterlin and Patrick Boll; theatre book publisher Glenn Young, and the casting director Christine McKenna. Local Irish personality Sophie Colgan of the American Irish Historical Society, hosts the Awards Ceremony.

Curated and coordinated by Festival founder George C. Heslin, the 11th annual Origin 1st Irish welcomed and organized 17 productions and special projects from Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Queens and Manhattan. Participating venues include 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. 15 contemporary Irish writers are represented with work in performance in this festival, which features both acclaimed productions from Ireland and Northern Ireland, and new homegrown projects developed by artists based in New York.

Recognized for its focused size, and emphasis on audience engagement through parties, panels and workshops, Origin 1st Irish is New York's only all-Irish performing arts festival. Its Next Generation and Breaking Ground series have proven to be launch-pads 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."

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.

For all Festival details, schedules and to purchase tickets, visit www.origintheatre.org

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