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Abbey Theatre's DEAR IRELAND Premieres Live Online


Abbey Theatre's DEAR IRELAND Premieres Live Online

Over four nights (28 April - 1 May), audiences throughout Ireland and across the globe can watch the world premiere of Dear Ireland - a historic digital theatre project that brings together 50 brand new monologues, commissioned by The Abbey Theatre as a rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis. Each piece of work was written and created in self isolation by 100 participating artists.

Dear Ireland is a platform for the Irish theatre community to gather, as a choir of voices and ideas, and share in this historical moment through the creation of art. The project is an experimental first for both The Abbey Theatre and many of the artists involved, in the producing and presenting of theatre through digital channels whilst the ongoing pandemic keeps theatre makers and audiences from the stage.

Graham McLaren and Neil Murray, Directors of The Abbey Theatre said:

'We are proud to present the momentous and urgent calls of 100 artists to the world this week. It was important to us that we commission artists from different backgrounds and people at various stages of career in a way that reflects the diverse Irish society that is united in these trying times. For the participating artists, and indeed many of our own team at the Abbey, this was a new and unfamiliar way to make theatre - combined with the challenge of creating new art in the extreme circumstances the current pandemic has brought. Despite the extraordinary hurdles faced by these theatre makers, a poignant, angry, often funny, sometimes absurd portrait of Ireland has emerged, capturing this unique moment in our history.'

The writer/performer collaborations for each monologue are as follows:

  1. Blindboy / Cathy Belton
  2. Dermot Bolger / Dawn Bradfield
  3. Pom Boyd / Brendan Gleeson
  4. Sinéad Burke / Eleanor Walsh
  5. TKB (Thommas Kane Byrne) / Ericka Roe
  6. Dylan Coburn Gray / Leah Minto
  7. Karen Cogan / Siobhán McSweeney
  8. John Connors / Graham Earley
  9. Kit de Waal / Peter Gowen
  10. Shaun Dunne / Eva-Jane Gaffney
  11. Iseult Golden / Marion O'Dwyer
  12. Stacey Gregg / Conor MacNeill
  13. Sarah Hanly / Denise Gough
  14. Nancy Harris / Marty Rea
  15. David Ireland / Abigail McGibbon
  16. Colm Keegan / Owen Roe
  17. Sonya Kelly / Deirdre Donnelly
  18. Deirdre Kinahan / Bríd Ní Neachtain
  19. Emmet Kirwan / Emmet Kirwan featuring Mike Donnelly
  20. Darach Mac Con Iomaire / Eoin O Dubhghaill
  21. Manchán Magan / Bríd Criomhthain
  22. Aoife Martyn / Norma Sheahan
  23. Owen McCafferty / Patrick O'Kane
  24. Rosaleen McDonagh / Sorcha Fox
  25. Frank McGuinness / Joan Sheehy
  26. Meadhbh McHugh (New York) / Clare O'Malley
  27. Una McKevitt / Katherine Lynch
  28. Phillip McMahon / Caoilfhionn Dunne
  29. Andrea Molino (Italy) / David Moss
  30. Gina Moxley / Timmy Creed
  31. Jimmy Murphy / Clare Dunne
  32. Zoe Ní Riordáin / Seána Kerslake
  33. Edna O'Brien / Stanley Townsend
  34. Eva O'Connor / Amy McAllister
  35. Joseph O'Connor / Kathy Rose O'Brien
  36. John O'Donovan / Nicola Coughlan
  37. Mark O'Halloran / Andrew Bennett
  38. Jody O'Neill / Marie Mullen
  39. Shane O'Reilly / Amanda Coogan
  40. Felicia 'Felispeaks' Olusanya / Deirdre Molloy
  41. Margaret Perry / Breffni Holahan
  42. Ursula Rani Sarma / Owen McDonnell
  43. Arthur Riordan / Rory Nolan
  44. Ciara Elizabeth Smyth / Camille Lucy Ross
  45. Abbie Spallen / Jolene O'Hara
  46. Keith James Walker / Ashleigh Dorrell
  47. Enda Walsh / Zara Devlin
  48. Michael West / Mark Doherty
  49. Carmel Winters / Lucianne McEvoy
  50. Zhu Yi (China) / Julia Gu

For insight, The Abbey Theatre asked some of the artists where they were writing from:

Dermot Bolger

My monologue was written in the front room of the small terraced house in Drumcondra where I am self-isolating with the plethora of phantoms of imagination who populate my current book in progress. They're good company when they behave themselves.

Sinéad Burke

I am in my family home in County Meath, surrounded by siblings and attempting to be a horticulturist for the very first time. It's going moderately well.

John Connors

In isolation in my campsite in Coolock.

TKB (Thommas Kane Byrne)

I'm being a responsible member of society by STAYING in my family home in the North Inner City.

Jody O'Neill

I'm at home, in Bray, Co. Wicklow, homeschooling in the mornings, and on a continuing mission to find the most secluded places for afternoon walks.

Sonya Kelly

I am living in my home in Dublin 8 with my wife and surrounded by wonderful neighbours.

Andrea Molino

Containment in Southern France.

John O'Donovan

I was visiting family in Clare when the lockdown was announced, so rather than travelling back to London, I've bunkered down here in a guest room at my in-laws'.

Abbie Spallen

Living and writing in Newry, Co. Down

Dear Ireland comes with a musical score reimagined by award-winning composer Ray Harman, featuring the vocals of Lisa Lambe. Irish artist Maser was also commissioned to respond to the Dear Ireland call and his beautiful artwork will be woven through the visuals in the films.

The 50 pieces have been pre-recorded, and will stream in four parts live on the Abbey's YouTube channel from 7.30pm Tuesday to Friday, ahead of being made available for a period of six months.

  • 28 April - 7.30pm IST: Dear Ireland (Part 1) - 11 monologues - Live and then available for 24 hours
  • 29 April - 7.30pm IST: Dear Ireland (Part 2) - 12 monologues - Live and then available for 24 hours
  • 30 April - 7.30pm IST: Dear Ireland (Part 4) - 13 monologues - Live and then available for 24 hours
  • 1 May - 7.30pm IST: Dear Ireland (Part 5) - 14 monologues - Live and then available for 24 hours
  • 2 May - 12pm IST: Dear Ireland (Part 1 to 4) - 50 Monologues - Available for six months

There will be a three minute interval between each monologue, providing the audience time to join the live discussion in YouTube Live Chat. Some of the artists and Abbey Theatre hosts will be participating in the discussion here during these breaks.

Subscribe to the Abbey Theatre's YouTube channel and tune in at 7.30pm from Tuesday to Friday.

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