Irish Repertory Theatre Announces Online 2020 Fall Season


By: Sep. 08, 2020
Irish Repertory Theatre Announces Online 2020 Fall Season

Irish Repertory Theatre has announced its Online 2020 Fall Season. This fall will feature five Performances on Screen, including Belfast Blues written and performed by Geraldine Hughes (Molly Sweeney) and directed by Carol Kane ("Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"); Give Me Your Hand with poems by Paul Durcan (Daddy, Daddy) performed by Dermot Crowley and Dearbhla Molloy, and directed by Jamie Beamish (Cat); A Touch of the Poet by Eugene O'Neill and directed by Ciarán O'Reilly (The Weir); On Beckett / In Screen, an exploration of the works of Samuel Beckett conceived and performed by Bill Irwin (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?); and A Child's Christmas in Wales in Concert, written by Dylan Thomas, adapted & directed by Charlotte Moore (Love, Noël), with music direction by John Bell (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever). The fall season will also include three special events, including Gregory Harrington: A Concert from the Irish Rep Stage, A Beggar Upon Horseback / A Beggar on Foot and Plaguey Hill: A New Work by Paul Muldoon.

Reservations are available now to the public for Belfast Blues; all events with the exception of A Child's Christmas in Wales in Concert are now available for Irish Rep members and will be open to the public beginning September 14, 2020 at 1PM EDT. Reservations are free to the public, with a suggested donation of $25 for those who can afford to give. To view a performance, audience members must register at for one of the performance dates. A link will be sent to all registrants two hours before the performance begins. All Thursday evening and Saturday matinee performances will include captions.


Written & Performed by Geraldine Hughes

Stage Production Directed by Emmy Award winner Carol Kane

Filmed at Lyric Theatre, Belfast

September 22 - 27, 2020

Passionate, riveting and often humorous, Belfast Blues is a tapestry of autobiographical stories told from Geraldine Hughes's perspective as a little girl coming of age in the war-torn Belfast of the 1980s. These stories bear insightful witness to the many faces of "trying to live a normal life" amidst the violence born of the longstanding conflict between Catholics and Protestants. At thirteen, Hughes temporarily left "The Troubles" to star in a TV movie, "Children in the Crossfire," directed by George Schaefer, only to return home to a different kind of confusion and pain.

Belfast Blues, a play written and performed by Geraldine Hughes, was developed in collaboration with Kim Terrell and The Virtual Theatre Project in 2003, and produced by Steven Klein and Matt Shakman, as the first play in Black Dahlia's 2003 season in Los Angeles. It was originally directed by Charles Haid. Its New York premiere took place at The Culture Project in 2005 under the direction of Carol Kane.

In 2019, after over fifteen years of touring Belfast Blues to worldwide acclaim, Hughes staged her final performances of Belfast Blues at The Lyric Theatre in a co-production presented by herself, Brassneck Theatre Company and the Lyric Theatre as part of West Belfast's Féile an Phobail. Irish Repertory Theatre will open its digital fall season with the never-before-seen video captured last year during those final performances of this powerful autobiographical play.

The stage production of Belfast Blues features set and lighting design by Jonathan Christman and sound design by Jonathan Snipes. The Performance on Screen was edited by Jude Lynch of Mashmob in Belfast.

Performances will take place Tuesday September 22 at 7pm; Wednesday September 23 at 3pm & 8pm; Thursday September 24 at 7pm*; Friday September 25 at 8pm; Saturday September 26 at 3pm* & 8pm; and Sunday September 27 at 3pm. All times are EDT. *These performances will feature captions.


A Poetical Stroll through The National Gallery of London

Poems by Paul Durcan

Starring Dermot Crowley & Tony Award nominee Dearbhla Molloy

Directed by Jamie Beamish

October 13 - 18, 2020

In this special virtual reimagining of Give Me Your Hand, two of Ireland's finest actors, Dermot Crowley and Dearbhla Molloy, take audiences on a virtual stroll through London's National Gallery, discovering afresh the Museum's masterpieces from Van Gogh and Van Eyck, to Rubens and Gainsborough. With humor and grace, Crowley and Molloy breathe fresh life into each painting's subjects with poetic stories from renowned Irish poet Paul Durcan.

Give Me Your Hand premiered in London in 2010 and received its US Premiere in 2012 in Irish Rep's W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre.

Give Me Your Hand features original music and technical direction by Jamie Beamish and will be filmed and edited by Daniel Grixti. Featured artwork is from the collection of The National Gallery, London and shared with permission.

Performances will take place Tuesday October 13 at 7pm; Wednesday October 14 at 3pm & 8pm; Thursday October 15 at 7pm*; Friday October 16 at 8pm; Saturday October 17 at 3pm* & 8pm; and Sunday October 18 at 3pm. All times are EDT. *These performances will feature captions.


By Eugene O'Neill

Directed by Ciarán O'Reilly

October 27 - November 1, 2020

In A Touch of the Poet, proud and tempestuous Cornelius Melody (Con) owns a run-down inn and tavern near Boston in 1828. Laden with debt, Con clings to his tenuous identity as a landed gentleman and war hero and chastises his wife and daughter for actions that expose the family's humble Irish origins. When his daughter Sara falls in love with a wealthy American guest at their inn, Con's pride drives him to an explosive reckoning with his true place in the New World.

The team behind Irish Rep's acclaimed The Weir: A Performance on Screen returns to create a digital production of A Touch of the Poet, Eugene O'Neill's tragic tale about the immigrant experience and generational aspiration. The cast and creative team from Irish Rep's planned 2020 production, which was postponed due to COVID-19, reconvened over Zoom to reimagine the play for digital presentation.

A Touch of the Poet was the first work written for the Eugene O'Neill's famously unfinished cycle about the Irish in America. Completed in 1942, A Touch of the Poet has received four Broadway productions. It premiered in October of 1958 at the Helen Hayes Theatre, nearly five years after the playwright's death.

The cast of A Touch of the Poet will include Belle Aykroyd (A Christmas Carol) as Sara Melody, Ciaran Byrne (The Dead, 1904) as Dan Roche, Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde) as Cornelius "Con" Melody, Kate Forbes (Sight Unseen) as Nora Melody, Mary McCann (The Weir) as Deborah, Andy Murray (The Seafarer) as Cregan, David O'Hara (Three Small Irish Masterpieces) as Paddy O'Dowd, Tim Ruddy (The Seafarer) as Mickey Maloy, David Sitler (Donnybrook) as Patch Riley and John C. Vennema (Linda) as Nicholas Gadsby.

A Touch of the Poet will feature scenic design by Charlie Corcoran (Dublin Carol), costume design by Alejo Vietti (Smokey Joe's Cafe), lighting design by Michael Gottlieb (London Assurance), sound design by M. Florian Staab (London Assurance), original music by Ryan Rumery (London Assurance), hair and wig design by Robert Charles Vallance (The Dead, 1904) and make-up design by Joe Dulude II (Beetlejuice). April Ann Kline (The Plough and the Stars) serves as Production Manager, with video editing by Sarah Nichols (The Weir) and Staab.

Performances will take place Tuesday October 27 at 7pm; Wednesday October 28 at 3pm & 8pm; Thursday October 29 at 7pm*; Friday October 30 at 8pm; Saturday October 31 at 3pm* & 8pm; and Sunday November 1 at 3pm. All times are EDT. *These performances will feature captions.


An Exploration of the Works of Samuel Beckett

Conceived and Performed by Tony Award winner Bill Irwin

November 17 - 22, 2020

Bill Irwin can't escape Samuel Beckett. The pandemic hasn't changed this. Two years ago, Irwin took the Irish Rep stage to premiere On Beckett, his award-winning meditation on Samuel Beckett's works and language. Since then, COVID-19 has upended daily life worldwide and live theatre is on hold as venues stand empty. In this time of anxiety and loss, Irwin revisits the words of Samuel Beckett and returns alone to the Irish Rep virtual stage to bring us On Beckett / In Screen, a new meditation filmed for our current times.

In this intimate evening, Irwin will mine the physical and verbal skills acquired in his years as a master clown and Tony Award-winning actor to explore a performer's relationship to Beckett in the time of COVID. Irwin's approach to the comic, the tragic, to every side of Beckett's work - including Waiting for Godot, The Unnamable and Texts for Nothing - will allow audiences to experience the Nobel Prize winner's language in compelling new ways.

On Beckett / In Screen is a new play by master clown, Tony Award-winning actor, and MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Fellow Bill Irwin, drawn from Irwin's award-winning production, On Beckett. On Beckett premiered at Irish Repertory Theatre in 2018 to wide acclaim, winning a special Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Alternative Theatrical Experience. Previous iterations of On Beckett have been performed at American Conservatory Theater (ACT) in San Francisco and workshopped at Vineyard Theatre in New York and the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.

On Beckett / In Screen will be filmed & edited by Brian Petchers (Love, Noël) and feature set design by Charlie Corcoran (The Weir), lighting design by Michael Gottlieb (The O'Casey Cycle), sound design by M. Florian Staab (Love, Noël) and production management by Christine Lemme (Mac Beth).

Performances will take place Tuesday November 17 at 7pm; Wednesday November 18 at 3pm & 8pm; Thursday November 19 at 7pm*; Friday November 20 at 8pm; Saturday November 21 at 3pm* & 8pm; and Sunday November 22 at 3pm. All times are EDT. *These performances will feature captions.


By Dylan Thomas

Adapted & Directed by Charlotte Moore

Musical Direction by John Bell

December 2020

This holiday season experience a new concert version of Irish Rep's favorite holiday tradition, a joyous musical celebration of Dylan Thomas's iconic story, A Child's Christmas in Wales. Join us for a "never to be forgotten day," when songs are sung, cakes and sweets are abundant, and the frozen city parks are laden with mysteries and adventures for wild children to explore.

Irish Rep previously staged A Child's Christmas in Wales in 2010, directed by Charlotte Moore with musical direction by John Bell, in a production that The Associated Press said "leave[s] the audience feeling as though they're tucked inside a cozy, musical snowglobe." The production was revived, by popular demand, for the 2011, 2015 & 2018 holiday seasons.

Dates and casting will be announced shortly. Tickets will go on sale to the public on Friday October 30.

The Irish Rep Digital Fall 2020 season will also include the following special events. These events will be released publicly on Irish Rep's YouTube channel. Reservations are not required, but guests are welcome to RSVP to receive a reminder email and link. Irish Repertory Theatre suggests a donation of $10 per viewer for all special events and encourages attendees of A Beggar Upon Horseback / A Beggar on Foot to donate to the Equal Justice Initiative.


Thursday September 17, 2020 at 7PM

Every year acclaimed Irish violinist Gregory Harrington takes over the Irish Rep stage to present an eclectic and intimate musical evening of unique interpretations of traditional and contemporary songs. These annually sold-out events are a highlight every spring at Irish Rep, but this year the concert was canceled due to COVID-19. On Thursday September 17 the 2020 Digital Fall Season begins with the return of this anticipated event as an online concert from the Irish Rep stage. Joined by cellists Eleanor Norton and Philip Sheegog, Harrington will kick off the season with an Irish-themed concert of new arrangements of traditional Irish and Celtic influenced tunes ranging from "Shenandoah" and "The Parting Glass" to "The Last Rose of Summer" and a special take on O'Carolan's "Concerto."


Part 1: Monday November 9, 2020 at 7PM

Part 2: Tuesday November 10, 2020 at 2PM

Hurray for revolution and more canon shot!

A beggar upon horseback lashs a beggar on foot

Hurray for revolution and canon come again,

The beggars have changed places but the lash goes on

~WB Yeats

Part 1-A Beggar Upon Horseback: The Context, From Frederick Douglass to Today

Irish Repertory Theatre marks the 175th anniversary of Frederick Douglass's historic trip to Ireland with a dramatic reading by award-winning actor John Douglas Thompson of Douglass's Letter from Belfast, written on January 1, 1846. In this letter, Douglass recounts his impressions of the Irish people, describing "warm and generous co-operation." The reading will be followed by a panel led by Dr. Miram Nyhan Grey in which scholars and writers of Irish-American and African-American history will discuss the emigration of the Irish to America, and the complexity of Black and Irish interactions in the American experience: sometimes as allies and sometimes as aggressors. This conversation will span the infamous Draft Riots of 1863 to Irish-America as we know it today.

Part 2-A Beggar on Foot: Creating Change in Irish Arts

After exploring the complex intersections of Irish-American and African-American history in Day 1, the second day of discussion will center on the role of Irish cultural institutions in the push for racial equity.


By Paul Muldoon

Read by Tony Award winner Liev Schreiber

Tuesday December 1, 2020 at 7PM

Irish Repertory Theatre is proud to present a reading of Plaguey Hill, a new work by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon (Incantata), read by Tony Award winner Liev Schreiber. Written over the first two weeks of April 2020, Plaguey Hill is an impressionistic account of day-to-day life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the poem is set in Sharon Springs, New York, it harkens back to memories of the burial mound of Plaguey Hill, in Friars Bush Graveyard, Belfast, where victims of the 1830s cholera epidemic were laid to rest. The poem takes the form of an intricately locked series of 15 sonnets known as a crown, or corona.

Irish Repertory Theatre would like to thank the playwrights, creative teams and actors involved in the original productions for their support of these Performances on Screen and the Howard Gilman Foundation and Theatre Development Fund for their support of the season.

We wish to express our gratitude to the Performers' Unions Actors' Equity Association, American Guild of Musical Artists, American Guild of Variety Artists, and SAG-AFTRA through Theatre Authority, lnc. for their cooperation in permitting the Artists to appear on this program.

Irish Rep recently concluded their summer season which featured some of Irish Rep's most beloved recent productions reimagined for the screen and filmed remotely for limited release as part of A Performance on Screen, including Molly Sweeney, Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom; The Weir and Love, Noël: The Songs and Letters of Noël Coward. The season also included the World Premiere of Darren Murphy's short play The Gifts You Gave to the Dark, and a special online celebration-The Irish (Rep)... and How We Got That Way: A Celebration of Endurance and Perseverance Through Hard Times, featuring a screening of the 1998 Irish Rep World Premiere production of Frank McCourt's The Irish...and How They Got That Way.

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