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Cast Announced For The Abbey Theatre's THE GREAT HUNGER

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The Great Hunger runs from 1-10 October 2020.

Cast Announced For The Abbey Theatre's THE GREAT HUNGER

Graham McLaren and Neil Murray, Directors of the Abbey Theatre today announced the cast for the upcoming production of Patrick Kavanagh's poem The Great Hunger. As audiences walk through the grounds of IMMA at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, a cast of 16 actors and 10 musicians will bring the darkness and light of Kavanagh's tragic masterpiece to life.

Conceived by the Directors of the Abbey Theatre as part of the national theatre's "extraordinary" responsive programme for 2020, The Great Hunger is jointly directed by award-winning Irish theatre directors Caitríona McLaughlin and Conall Morrison. This historic partnership between the Abbey Theatre and IMMA will premiere as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Featuring in the production are:


  1. Emmet Byrne
  2. Liam Carney
  3. Peter Coonan
  4. Derbhle Crotty
  5. Naoise Dunbar
  6. Felispeaks
  7. Maeve Fitzgerald
  8. Andrea Irvine
  9. Mark Lambert
  10. Patrick Martins
  11. Eleanor Methevan
  12. Michael Glenn Murphy
  13. Bríd Ní Neachtain
  14. Barry Simpson
  15. Eloise Stevenson
  16. Catherine Walsh


  1. Eamonn Cagney
  2. Susan Doyle
  3. Dermot Dunne
  4. Ken Edge
  5. Caimin Gilmore
  6. Vyvienne Long
  7. Cora Venus Lunny
  8. Lisa O'Neill
  9. Niwel Tsumbu
  10. Olesya Zdorovetska

Graham McLaren and Neil Murray, Directors of the Abbey Theatre, said "As we explored how people were going through different kinds of isolation back in April, we came up with the idea to stage The Great Hunger and immediately thought of IMMA. When we approached Annie Fletcher, Director of IMMA, she was immediately enthusiastic and supportive. Annie and her team have empowered us at every point and The Great Hunger has become a project rooted in collaboration. We are so grateful to the staff at both the Abbey and IMMA, and the large team of over 30 freelance artists, for making a production of such scale within the limitations required. I'm particularly proud of the connection the design makes to the grounds and, indeed, some of the collection at IMMA.

"We are delighted to present this work to audiences safely in the open air, with the Royal Hospital Kilmainhams's idyllic and moving grounds as a backdrop to this epic Patrick Kavanagh poem. As the nation sees a third season in pandemic, this production brings a timely reminder of the beauty and art that can be found in land, life and the nature around us."

Annie Fletcher, Director of IMMA added "IMMA is excited to be partnering with the Abbey in this ambitious production The Great Hunger. As a museum that supports artists, we know the importance of the creation of new work and that the arts continues to be available to audiences during these challenging times. To collaborate with the Abbey to produce innovative work is an honour and we look forward to working together on this historic production."

This unique promenade production of The Great Hunger will shed light on the poem's protagonist, Patrick Maguire. Was committing to the land worth the price? Does the beauty of nature redeem his isolated journey through the years?

The Great Hunger runs from 1-10 October 2020. Tickets are limited and go on sale at 12pm today at In order to safely welcome back our artists, staff and audiences to live performance, we have adapted our customer experience. The Abbey Theatre adheres to all COVID-19 prevention protocols and has a bespoke, risk assessed plan in place for The Great Hunger to ensure the safety of all ticket holders, artists and staff.

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