Irish Arts Center to Present Comedy HOW TO KEEP AN ALIEN This Fall

Irish Arts Center to Present Comedy HOW TO KEEP AN ALIEN This Fall

Irish Arts Center (IAC), the arts and cultural center dedicated to projecting a dynamic image of Ireland and Irish America for the 21st century, is pleased to present the U.S. premiere of Rough Magic's How to Keep an Alien (Sep 15-Oct 1), written by and starring Sonya Kelly. Directed by Gina Moxley, How to Keep an Alien is a story about falling in love and having to prove it to the government.

Tearfully funny and tender, this autobiographical tale follows Irish Sonya and Australian Kate as they try to persuade the Department of Immigration that they have the right to live together in Ireland. The paper trail of evidence for "the visa people" takes them on a global odyssey from County Offaly to the Queensland Bush. It's a tricky business coming from opposite ends of the earth. It takes an Olympian will and the heart of a whale, but above all else, paperwork. It takes a hell of a lot of paperwork!

Performances of How to Keep an Alien run September 15 - October 1(see above schedule). Tickets are $32-50 and can be purchased by visiting irishartscenter.org or by calling 866-811-4111. Critics are welcome as of Friday, September 16 for an official opening on Sunday, September 18.

Sonya Kelly is an award-winning Irish writer and actor, her 2013 solo show I Can See Clearly Now, also directed by Moxley, was a New York Times Critics' Pick and described as "funny and fetching." Winner of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Best Production award, How to Keep an Alien has toured all over Ireland, and to the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and Soho Theatre, London in 2015. The show was described by The Irish Times as, "exquisite;" and by Lyn Garner for The Guardian as "very, very funny...a treat, and one to fall in love with."

Based in Dublin, Rough Magic Theatre Company is one of Ireland's leading theatre companies. They regularly perform at Project Arts Centre and tour work in Ireland, the UK, and beyond. This is Rough Magic's first show in New York in eight years, they were last here in 2008 with Improbable Frequency, a musical described by Charles Isherwood for The New York Times as "impossibly zany...a mad cap musical caper" that resembles "early Stoppard crossed with a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta."

IAC takes great pride in showcasing a broad range of some of Ireland's greatest artistic talent, in collaborating with American artists and arts institutions alike, and continuing to strengthen the transatlantic bonds of Irish-American culture. The artists presented throughout Irish Arts Center's Fall 2016 season embody a dynamic vision for Irish arts and culture just as the organization reaches teh final stretch of its $62million capital campaign for a new permanent home at 726 11th Avenue, adjoining the Center's existing building at 553 West 51st. The Center has raised over $51 million toward its goal and expects to complete the campaign this year-Ireland's Centenary-beginning construction in 2017.

In today's environment, where contemporary artists and arts institutions are collaborating in new ways, and creating new contexts for the ongoing evolution of multi-cultural art, IAC plays an imperative role by providing emerging and established Irish artists with the opportunity to present their work to an American audience, and by supporting and encouraging a vibrant, lasting dialogue among artists within the Irish-American community.

Irish Arts Center is proud to be part of Origin's 1st Irish Festival 2016, New York's annual festival of Irish theatre.

Sonya Kelly is an Irish writer and actor. She has performed with a number of major Irish companies including the Gate Theatre, Druid, The Corn Exchange, Pan Pan and WillFredd Theatre. She is a cast member of RTÉ's sketch show, The Savage Eye and is also a regular contributor to the arts show Arena on RTÉ Radio 1. Her debut solo show, The Wheelchair on My Face: a look back at a myopic childhood (performed in U.S. as I can See Clearly Now), a Show in a Bag produced by Fishamble, won a Scotsman Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Fringe 2012. The show played in over fifty venues and toured to Paris and New York where it received a New York Times Critics' Pick. How to Keep an Alien was created as part of Rough Magic's ADVANCE mentorship program in 2013. It won the Best Production Award at the Tiger Dublin Fringe 2014 and toured to the Brisbane Festival. Sonya is a member of Six in the Attic, an artist resource-sharing initiative at the Irish Theatre Institute.

Gina Moxley is an actor, writer and director. She directed and developed How to Keep an Alien for Tiger Dublin Fringe 2014 where it won the Best Production Award and subsequently toured to Brisbane. She directed and developed Sonya Kelly's first show, The Wheelchair on My Face, (Dublin Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, national and international tour), which won an Edinburgh Fringe First Award; Solpadeine is My Boyfriend (Dublin Fringe Festival, national and international tour); A Wine Goose Chase and Finding Sympathy also for Dublin Fringe Festival. Gina's recent theatre performances include All That Fall (Out of Joint); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Abbey Theatre);The Bridge Below the Town (Livin' Dred); Three Monologues (Derry City of Culture); Lippy (Dead Centre); The Rehearsal - Playing the Dane; and Americanitis - The Seagull and Other Birds (Pan Pan). Gina's plays for theatre include Danti-Dan (rough Magic); Toupees and Snare Drums (CoisCéim/Abbey Theatre); Tea Set (Fishamble) and The Crumb Trail (Pan Pan). Several of her radio plays have been broadcast by RTÉ and she has published some short stories.

As an actor and devisor Paul Curley (Performer & Stage Manager) has collaborated with a wide range of companies in Ireland and the UK. Some recent work includes: CARE and FARM (WillFredd Theatre); Happily Ever After (Action Transport Theatre UK); An Ideal Husband (The Gate Theatre); Assassins (Rough Magic SEEDS); Plaza Suite (Rough Magic); The Bockety World of Henry & Bucket, The Song from the Sea, A Murder of Crows, Boy with a Suitcase (Barnstorm); Snow Mouse (Travelling Light/The Egg); Mr Benn (Tall Stories, London); Bake! (Paul Curely & Ger Clancy). Paul is an alumnus member of Six in the Attic an Irish Theatre Institute resource-sharing initiative.

Sarah Jane Shiels (Lighting Designer) began lighting in Dublin Youth Theatre, completing a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies (Trinity College Dublin), and the Rough Magic SEEDS program. Designs include: Shadow of a Gunman (Abbey Theatre/Lyric Theatre) Lessness (The Emergency Room), Jockey (WillFredd Theatre), Everything Between Us, The Critic, The House Keeper, Plaza Suite (Rough Magic), PALS (ANU Productions), Dublin Oldschool (Project Arts Centre), Tarry Flynn (Lir), Songs From a Carpark (Jessica Kennedy), How to Keep an Alien (Sonya Kelly/ Rough Magic), With Raised Arms/Here Me Sing Your Song (Liv O'Donoghue), Tundra (Emma Martin), CARE, Farm, Follow (WillFredd Theatre), Dusk Ahead (Junk Ensemble), Shibari (Peacock Theatre), The Boys of Foley Street, Laundry, World's End Lane, Basin (ANU Productions), Have I No Mouth, The Blue Boy, Silver Stars (Brokentalkers), Sarah Jane is co-artistic director of WillFredd Theatre.

Carl Kennedy (Sound Designer) trained at Academy of Sound in Dublin. He has been a composer/Sound Designer on over eighty theatre productions, working with venues and companies including the Abbey Theatre, the Gaiety Theatre, ANU Productions, Rough Magic, Decadent, Fishamble, the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Theatre Lovett, Guna Nua,Loose Canon, Prime Cut, Peer to Peer, Siren, Broken Crow, Randolf SD and Theatre Makers. He has been nominated three times for the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Sound Design. He also composes music and sound design for interactive iPad games including Curious George, Curious about Shapes and Colors, Jelly Jumble, Too Many Teddies and Dino Dog.

Maureen White (Dramaturg) has worked as a dramaturg in both Ireland and Canada where she was co-founder of Toronto's Nightwood Theatre. As dramaturg for the Rough Magic SEEDS program, she has worked most recently on Famished Castle by Hilary Fannin, which has just finished runs at the Pavilion theatre Dun Laoghaire and the Theatre Royal, Waterford. Other SEEDS writers include Hugh Travers, Shaun Dunne and the current SEED Shane Mac an Bhaird. Other Rough Magic work includes Jezebel by Mark Cantan, Phaedra by Hilary Fannin, The House Keeper by Morna Regan and Peer Gynt by Arthur Riordan. Current projects in development for Rough Magic include The Train, a musical collaboration between Arthur Riordan and Bill Whelan, and The Choir Show by Ali White and Karen Ardiff, and other Rough Magic commissions for new plays by Declan Hughes and Darren Donohue. Maureen also offers dramaturgical advice to companies as part of Rough Magic Production Support. Maureen has co-written This Is for You Anna (published by Playwrights Canada) and Unraveling the Ribbon (produced by Gúna Nua Theatre Company and published by Nick Hern Books). She is also the First Year Acting Teacher at the Gaiety School of Acting.

Since its foundation in 1984 Rough Magic has been has delivered over 50 Irish premieres, the debuts of many theatre-makers, and the pioneering SEEDS program. With each project the company undertakes, the aim is firstly to make great theatre, but also to advance and contribute to the cultural life of Ireland.

Their policy has three strands: commissioning new Irish work, presenting the best of contemporary international writing and innovative productions from the classical repertoire. Based in Dublin, Rough Magic regularly performs at Project Arts Centre and other major venues in the city. The company also tours in Ireland and internationally, garnering many awards both at home and abroad.

Irish Arts Center, founded in 1972, is a New York-based arts and cultural center dedicated to projecting a dynamic image of Ireland and Irish America for the 21st century, building community with artists and audiences of all backgrounds, forging and strengthening cross-cultural partnerships, and preserving the evolving stories and traditions of Irish culture for generations to come. Irish Arts Center's multi-disciplinary programming is centered around three core areas: Performance - including live music, dance, theatre, film, literature, and the humanities; Exhibition - including visual arts presentations and cultural exhibitions that tell the evolving Irish story; and Education - with dozens of classes per week in Irish language, history, music, and dance. Located in New York City, a world capital of arts and culture, Irish Arts Center serves as a dynamic platform for top emerging and established artists and cultural creators to reach a New York, national, and global audience, and as a gateway for other institutions to access first-rate Irish and Irish American culture. www.irishartscenter.org

Irish Arts Center is currently developing plans to construct a new facility to serve their multi-disciplinary program and will be the strongest possible gateway for artists to reach into the cultural community and nourish their work, to connect with partner institutions who help them innovate, and to become visible in the New York City media market which enhances their ability to achieve U.S and further international success.

The New Irish Arts Center will contain a purpose-built, state-of-the-art contemporary performance space for music, dance and theatre seating up to 160; industry-standard back of house and support facilities to allow artists to achieve their vision; a second, intimate performance space - the renovated historic Irish Arts Center theatre - optimized for live music, literature, film, talks, large classes and special events; classrooms and studio space for community education programs in Irish music, dance, language, history, and the humanities, and for master classes and workshops by visiting and resident artists; technology capability to project the Irish Arts Center experience on the digital platform; an avenue-facing café lobby to engage with the neighborhood and provide a social setting for conversation and interaction between artists and audiences; a beautiful new courtyard entrance on 51st Street where the historic Irish Arts Center building and the new facility meet. For more information on the New Irish Arts Center, or to support the campaign, Almost Home, contact Nick Rolf at nick.rolf@irishartscenter.org.

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