Cast Set for North American Premiere of AGREEMENT at Irish Arts Center

This play conveys the volatile four-day process of peace negotiations in Northern Ireland that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement.

By: Jan. 25, 2024
Cast Set for North American Premiere of AGREEMENT at Irish Arts Center
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Irish Arts Center has revealed the cast of the North American premiere of Lyric Theatre, Belfast’s Agreement, written by Owen McCafferty and directed by Charlotte Westenra, April 11–May 12. This play conveys the volatile four-day process of peace negotiations in Northern Ireland that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement. McCafferty mines humor and humanity from the pressurized circumstances through which history was made. 

The cast includes Ruairi Conaghan (Fire Below, All That Fall) as David TrimbleChris Corrigan (Dockers, Cyprus Avenue) as Gerry Adams, Richard Croxford (Kiss Me Kate, Sweeney Todd) as George MitchellDan Gordon (The Boat Factory, Frank Carson: A Rebel Without a Pause) as John Hume, Martin Hutson (God of Carnage, Small Island) as Tony BlairAndrea Irvine (Sadie, Cyprus Avenue) as Mo Mowlam, and Ronan Leahy (Translations, Drum Belly) as Bertie Ahern. The creative team includes Conor Murphy (Set & Costume Design), Mary Tumelty (Lighting Design), Kate Marlais (Sound Design & Composition), Eoin Robinson (Video Design), Dylan Quinn (Movement Direction), Brendan Gunn (Dialect Coaching), and Ruairi Glasheen (Percussion). 

Agreement is set in April 1998, as the main political parties in Northern Ireland, the British government and the Irish government, all under the watchful eye of Senator George Mitchell, try to hammer out a deal that could pave the way for peace in Northern Ireland. The production—a highlight of the civic events in Belfast to mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement—played to capacity audiences in Lyric Theatre, Belfast’s sold-out run earlier this year. It attracted international visitors and delegates to Belfast and to the Lyric including Senator George Mitchell, Secretary Hillary Clinton, members of the Women’s Coalition and the families of Gerry Adams, David Trimble, Mo Mowlam and John Hume.

The second collaboration between the Lyric and IAC in less than a year, this presentation of Agreement follows IAC’s hugely successful North American premiere of the Lyric’s Good Vibrations. The “charming” punk rock musical “portray[ed] music as a defiantly joyous refuge from ugliness and danger” (The New York Times, in a Critic’s Pick review) and, like Agreement, transported New York audiences to another charged Belfast milieu.

The presentation of Agreement—the type of large-scale production enabled by the Irish Arts Center’s recently constructed state-of-the-art, flexible theatre—heralds the dedication of the JL Greene Theatre at Irish Arts Center (726 11th Avenue, New York, NY 10019), following a $3 million gift from the Jerome L Greene Foundation. IAC joins a roster of some of New York’s most prestigious cultural institutions supported by the Foundation, including BAM, The Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theatre, and The Whitney Museum. 

Schedule & Tickets

Agreement makes its North American premiere at Irish Arts Center April 11 - May 12: Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. 

Tickets are $25–75 (inclusive of fees) and can be purchased at irishartscenter.org

Running time is approximately 105 minutes, with no intermission. 

About Owen McCafferty (Playwright)

Over the past thirty years, Owen McCafferty’s plays have been performed worldwide and have won numerous awards. Previous work includes Titanic: Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912 (MAC, Belfast and Tricycle Theatre, London); The Absence of Women (Lyric Theatre, Belfast); Days of Wine and Roses (Donmar Theatre, London); Closing Time (National Theatre, London); Shoot the Crow (Druid Theatre, Galway); Mojo Mickybo (Kabosh, Belfast); Scenes from the Big Picture (National Theatre, London, which won the Meyer-Whitworth, John Whiting and Evening Standard Awards); Quietly (Abbey Theatre, Dublin), which won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best Play; Death of a Comedian (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Soho Theatre, London); Fire Below –A War of Words (Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Abbey Theatre, Dublin). McCafferty’s first screenplay, Ordinary Love, won the Irish Film & TV Awards Best Film for 2020. He is currently writing a new screenplay, Breathing.

About Charlotte Westenra (Director)

Charlotte Westenra is a stage director and dramaturg specialising in political theatre and new writing, with an emphasis on the development of British musicals. Westenra’s career started at The Donmar Warehouse, where she was the Resident Assistant Director between 2004-2005. For the Donmar, she directed Kiss of the Spider Woman and Lower Ninth (for Donmar @ Trafalgar Studios).

Credits include: Agreement (Lyric Theatre Belfast); The Wicker Husband (Watermill Theatre); Indecent Proposal (Southwark Playhouse); Our Girls, Our Game (British Youth Music Theatre); On Hostile Ground (presented online as part of Royal & Derngate’s “Made in Northampton” new musical theatre festival); A room of one’s own (London Library); The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Southwark Playhouse/ Stream.Theatre); I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (The Chiswick Playhouse); The Dickens Girls (BYMT, New Wolsey, Ipswich); The Return of the Soldier (Hope Mill Theatre, New Wolsey); Talking Heads (Gala Theatre, Durham); Shangri-La (Finborough Theatre); Venice Preserv’d (Spectators’ Guild); Brazil and Casablanca (Secret Cinema); The Incredible Doctor Guttman (Karen Simpson Productions); Sunset Baby (Gate Theatre); Titanic; Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Enquiry (Mac, Belfast); Zephaniah, 2 John, Ezra (all as part of the Bush Theatre’s 66 Books); Decade (503); My Dad’s A Birdman (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield); Honk Honk You Donky Donk (Old Vic); About Bill (Landor Theatre); Blair’s Children (Cockpit Theatre); Gladiator Games (Sheffield Studio and Theatre Royal Stratford East); When Five Years Pass (The Arcola); How Long is Never, Bloody Sunday and Justifying War with Nicolas Kent (Tricycle) and Waiting for Lefty (Battersea Arts Centre). 

Westenra has been recognised for numerous awards, including, for Agreement, which won Best Director, Best Play and Best New Play at the BWW Ireland Award, and was nominated for Best New Play at the UK Theatre Awards 2023. 

About the Cast

Ruairi Conaghan (David Trimble) has just moved back to Belfast after living and working in London for 25 years. He has worked off Broadway in All That Fall with Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins. In the West End with Philadelphia Here I Come. Also at The Royal Court, The National Theatre,The Donmar Warehouse, The Bush, The Southwark Playhouse in productions such as Gary Mitchell’s Trust, Brian  Friel’s Molly Sweeney, Educating Rita by Willy Russell, and Owen McCafferty’s Scenes from the Big Picture. He was also The Player King to Benedict Cumberbatch's Hamlet at the Barbican. Ruairi has appeared in 8 different productions at The Lyric Theatre, Belfast including playing Reverend Hale in the Crucible which re-opened the theatre. The Lyric/Abbey co-production of Owen McCafferty’s Fire Below and most recently in his own highly acclaimed one person show Lies Where it Falls which he will be relaunching later in the year. In TV and film he has appeared in Downton Abbey, Silent Witness, Waking the Dead, The Suspicions of Mr Whicherand The Catherine Tate Show. He has won 3 Earphones awards for his work on Audiobooks and has been nominated for a British Theatre/Sunday Times award for his performance in Philadelphia Here I Come. He also co-directed and produced the award winning film Mind the Time with Stage Beyond Theatre Company.

Chris Corrigan (Gerry Adams). For the Lyric Theatre: Dockers; Group - the Musical; La Chunga. Other theatre includes: Cyprus Avenue (Royal Court, Abbey, Dublin/MAC, Belfast/Public, NYC), Re-Energize (Derry Playhouse); The Titanic Boys (Grand Opera House, Belfast); Group the Musical (& Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Chronicles of Long Kesh (Tricycle/Waterfront Hall/CQAF/Northern Ireland tour); Antigone (Waterfront Hall), Scenes from the Big Picture (Waterfront Hall/National); Don Juan in Soho (Donmar); The Wrong Man (New Strung/Edinburgh Fringe Festival); The Duke of Hope (& Tinderbox), Energy (& Derry Playhouse), Mojo Mickybo (UK tour); Militiaman – One Man Show (Crescent Arts/Partisan); Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Kabosh/An Grianán). Television includes: Hijack (Apple TV+), FBI International (CBS), The Capture (Heyday/BBC), Das Boot (Bavarian Fiction), The Terror (AMC), The Rack Pack Zeppotron), The Musketeers (BBC), The Fall (Artists Studio/BBC), Omagh (Kirwan Prods) Sunday (Box TV/C4), Eureka Street (BBC). Film includes: The Return (Othaca/Picomedia), Ballywalter (Empire Street), Nowhere Special (Picomedia), Jonjo Mickybo (Working Title), The Goldfish Bowl (Cinemagic).

Richard Croxford (George Mitchell). Richard Croxford’s career has included acting, writing and directing for numerous theatre companies locally, nationally, internationally and in London's West End on three occasions. Favourite acting roles include Scrooge in Christmas Carol, Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd, Tiger Brown in Threepenny Opera, Shylock in Merchant of Venice, Lord Goring in An Ideal Husband, Chris Keller in All My Sons, Dracula in Dracula, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights and Pip in Great Expectations. In the late 90s Richard started moving into directing theatre. He took over as artistic director of Replay Productions in 2000, producing work for children and young people and then the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in 2008, overseeing the launch of the new theatre's artistic programme until the end of 2013. Most recently Richard has been working as a freelance actor again for TV (Bloodlands, Heaven, Mother’s Day, Mrs. Wilson and Soft Border Patrol) and in feature films (The Quarry, Trautmann and upcoming blockbuster Dungeons And Dragons as Lord Neverember.) He is also a busy voiceover artist and is regularly heard doing commercials on U105 and is the UK voice of Ridddle for Facebook. Richard was last seen performing at the Lyric in the delightful Kiss Me Kate as Harrison Howell.

Dan Gordon (John Hume) is an actor, writer and director from Belfast. Recent television appearances include Three Families, Ruby, Shopped, Rat, The Paddy Raff Show, To Be Frank… Carson, Rello and Bloodlands. On stage he performed his plays The Boat Factory(UK, Ireland, Brussels and NYC) and Frank Carson: A Rebel Without A Pause (Edinburgh Festival Fringe) which was also the subject of a BBC documentary. Recently he wrote and directed The Belfast Blitz - It’ll Never Happen Here (Science & Discovery Centre W5 Odyssey Complex Belfast), he directed Snow White (Dundee), Defending the Caveman (Irish tour) and one woman shows Mrs Jones’s Diary (Roz Sheridan - Irish tour), Nobody Puts Bernie in the Corner (Roz Sheridan - Irish tour Apr ‘23), and Truth, Love or Promise(Nuala McKeever - Irish tour May ‘23). Current writing projects include Belfast Harbour 175, Titanic: She Was Alright When She Left Here (or A Play That Goes Down on You) and More than a Name – based on Colin Breen’s trilogy A Force Like No Other: The real stories of the RUC men and women who policed the Troubles. Dan is a long serving trustee of Arts and Business NI and a passionate advocate and lobbyist for the Arts. He has served on the Board of The Lyric Theatre, NI Actor’s Equity Committee, as an Associate Artist for Prison Arts Foundation and as a weekly columnist for the Sunday Life Newspaper. He is Patron of Bruiser Theatre Company and regularly lends his support to the Youth Justice Agency, Probation Board NI, NIACRO, the Integrated Education Fund and the Carson Arts Bursaries. He presents and co-authors television and radio documentaries.

 Martin Hutson (Tony Blair) most recently performed in God Of Carnage (Lyric Hammersmith). His theatre credits include Small Island, The Voysey Inheritance, The Mandate (National Theatre), Candida (Orange Tree Theatre), The Bay at Nice (Menier Chocolate Factory), Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus, The Heart of Robin Hood, As You Like It (RSC), The Master Builder (The Old Vic), The Libertine(Glasgow Citizens Theatre), Butley, Taken at Midnight, Ghosts, Taking Sides, Collaboration (West End), If Only, Anthony and Cleopatra, (Chichester Festival Theatre), Thursday (ETT/Adelaide Festival), The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, (Sheffield Theatres), The Rubenstein Kiss, R+D (Hampstead Theatre), The Rivals (Bristol Old Vic), The Jew of Malta (Almeida Theatre), Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice (Birmingham Rep), and The Tempest (New Vic Theatre). Hutson has been nominated twice for the Ian Charleson Award for his performance in Ghosts & As You Like it (Sheffield). His television credits include Endeavour, The Trial of Christian Keeler, Tutankhamun, The Honourable Woman, Foyle’s War, The Passion, Who Gets the Dog, A Very British Sex Scandal, New Tricks; and for film, Backdraft 2, Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire, Atonement, Virtual Sexuality and One For The Girls.

Andrea Irvine (Mo Mowlam) has worked extensively in theatre throughout Ireland and the UK. Most recent productions include Sadie at the Lyric theatre, Cyprus Avenue which toured to Belfast, Dublin, London and New York, both by David Ireland and Sive at the Gaiety Theatre Dublin with Druid Theatre Company. Recent TV work includes Line of Duty (BBC), Red Rock (Virgin Media). Andrea can be seen in the new police series Blue Lights which will hit BBC screens at the end of March. Film work includes The Teacher by Farah Nabulsi and Baltimore, both due for release in 2023.

Ronan Leahy (Bertie Ahern). Abbey: Drum Belly, King Lear, Curse of the Starving Class, Macbeth, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Romeo and Juliet, Henry IV, Da, Observatory, At Swim Two Birds, The Passion of Jerome, By the Bog of Cats, The Doctors Dilemma, The Well of the Saints, The Corsican Brothers, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme and Philadelphia Here I Come! (Abbey). Lyric/Abbey: Translations and Living Quarters. Other theatre: Staging the Treaty (Anu), Least Like the Other (Irish National Opera), Borstal Boy (Gaiety), Wuthering Heights, An Enemy of the People, Festen, All my Sons (Gate). Hecuba, The Effect, The Critic, Travesties, Life is a Dream, Solemn Mass for a Full Moon in Summer (Rough Magic). The Colleen Bawn, Gentrification(Druid). The Winter’s Tale, The Hairy Ape (Corcadorca). Medea, Titus Andronicus and La Musica (Siren). Roberto Zucco, Wideboy Gospel (Bedrock). The End of the Road, Whereabouts, The Flesh Addict (Fishamble). The Chairs (Tinderbox). Television: The House Across the Street (Ch 5), Amber, (RTE). Single Handed (Element), Roy (Jam), The Catalpa Rescue (Perpetual), Proof (Subotica) andAmongst Women (BBC/RTE). Film: The Flag (Treasure), Gridlock (Failsafe), Out of Innocence (Defiant), Pursuit (An Pointe), The Break(Stanley’s Deathpark), Priest (Magna), Batman Begins (Warner Bros).




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