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Seán Curran and Darrah Carr Collaboration CEILI to Premiere Next Week at Irish Arts Center

Irish experimental theatre company Dead Centre will return with Chekhov’s first play, a thrilling deconstruction of earliest, unperformed Chekhov work.

Seán Curran and Darrah Carr Collaboration CEILI to Premiere Next Week at Irish Arts Center

Irish Arts Center celebrated its 100th performance and continues to inaugurate its new home-a 21,700 square foot hub for the arts at 726 11th Avenue-with an ever eclectic suite of programming this fall.

The culmination of a more than a decade-long transformation into one of New York's most beloved multidisciplinary cultural institutions, the opening programming has already brought the landmark new facility to life with work by Enda Walsh, Oona Doherty, Mufutau Yusuf, Martin Hayes and the Common Ground Ensemble, Camille O'Sullivan, and other exemplary artists-demonstrating the venue's flexibility for experimentation and tradition across a vast range of art forms. Having just reached the milestone of 100 performances in the new building with a weeklong residency featuring Declan O'Rourke, Irish Arts Center makes tickets available this week for gripping theater, dance, music, and literature programs that will take place there in the months ahead, further realizing an expansive vision of what Irish and Irish American art and culture can be.

With a versatile, state-of-the-art theater in a still-intimate environment, the new Irish Arts Center offers an expanded home for innovative, emotive theatrical work that moves and thrills. Dead Centre (Obie-award winners of Lippy, a 2014 IAC co-presentation at Abrons Arts Center) returns to IAC with Chekhov's First Play, a "pure theatrical thrill ride" (The Guardian) deconstructing ​​the Russian playwright's Platonov in an "iconoclastic and joyful" work that "returns to the essence of theater" (Le Monde), October 19-November 6, 2022.

As Ireland's stature in contemporary dance grows internationally, the new Irish Arts Center provides a launching pad and adaptable artistic canvas for a thrilling new cohort of artists and collaborations reflective of modern Ireland and the Irish diaspora. Following acclaimed presentations including Oona Doherty's Hard to Be Soft (U.S. premiere) and Mufutau Yusuf's Òwe (world premiere) last Spring, IAC presents the latest iteration of its Masters in Collaboration series, catalyzing explosively creative collisions of artistic practices. Masters in Collaboration this year features legendary New York contemporary choreographer Seán Curran leaning into his Irish heritage to develop a new work, Céilí, with modern Irish American dance-maker Darrah Carr (September 29-October 2, 2022).

Across musical acts that experiment with and gorgeously transform tradition (Ragas to Reels: Utsav Lal, Sam Comerford, Linda Buckley, Ganavya, Nitin Mitta, November 17-19, 2022) and encompass the sounds of today (Pillow Queens, September 13-18, 2022), IAC's new theater becomes reimagined and reconfigured to create a range of intimate, impactful, live experiences over multi-night engagements.

In the new building, Irish Arts Center builds on its legacy as a center for ideas, having throughout its recent history convened leading authors, poets, and intellectuals from Ireland, New York, and around the world. The 13th Annual PoetryFest, curated by Nick Laird, brings together poets from North America and Ireland, December 2-4, 2022. Muldoon's Picnic, an Irish Arts Center audience favorite combining music, prose and poetry, and high commentary, organized by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, returns with exuberant events September 12, October 10, and November 14.

Between classes and family programming, the organization continues its approach to growing and nurturing community around Irish culture, for participants of any background and every generation. In an evening of folklore and fun, kids can interactively learn about The Irish Tradition that has had a large impact on the American celebration of Halloween, through Oíche Shamhna/An Irish Halloween (October 30, 2022). Taught by experts in Irish music, dance, language, theater, and storytelling, IAC's classes this year now have options both in-person and online, following the success of moving digitally during the pandemic. For the 8-week fall term starting September 19, 2022, the classes offer open environments in which participants of all ages and skill levels can engage the intricacies and joys of Irish expression.

IAC's inaugural season of in-person programming in the new building reveals the fruits of its ambitious transformation. Designed by New York-based architects Davis Brody Bond (National September 11 Museum, The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center), with consultation and support from Ireland's Office of Public Works, the new Irish Arts Center is an historic collaboration between the people of Ireland and New York, signifying a new era in the cultural life of the global Irish diaspora, and providing an important new canvas for the development and presentation of the performing arts in New York City.

Irish Arts Center Executive Director Aidan Connolly said, "The new Irish Arts Center is a dream realized and a tribute to the broad coalition of people in New York and Ireland who have brought it to life, at a time when we so eagerly need a place to come together with inspiration and hope. But it's only the beginning. Our opening season is a statement of promise and possibility. We invite artists and audiences of all backgrounds to see themselves in this welcoming new home."

See below for the full fall 2022 programming schedule.


The New Center includes a number of features designed to help ensure a safe environment for artists, audiences, teachers, students, and staff, including MERV-13 filters to maximize filtration and air flow; bi-polar Ionization and UVGI lighting in its heating and air conditioning units in order to remove harmful particles from the air throughout the building; low-and no-touch surfaces (including faucets and bottle fillers at all water fountains) and sanitizer stations throughout the building to enhance a clean environment; and motion sensitive lighting to lesson high touch areas and reduce the building's energy footprint. The cleaning staff, meanwhile, uses EPA's List N cleaning/ sanitizing products proven to kill Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

IAC currently requires all visitors to show proof of full vaccination and wear a mask inside the building, at all times, except when actively eating or drinking.

Full COVID protocol and safety information is here.


As part of the inaugural season in its new home, Irish Arts Center has also announced a new accessibility program, with a limited supply of front-row seats being made available for every performance for no more than $25. Subsidized by the Center's board of directors and private donors, these tickets will be available immediately when shows go on sale, so audiences seeking these tickets can plan early when programming is announced. The Center also announced a new $50 discounted membership program and the continued availability of scholarships for class fees.



Chekhov's First Play

A Dead Centre Production

October 19-November 6, 2022

U.S. Premiere

During the turmoil of the Russian Revolution in 1917, Maria Chekhov placed many of her late brother Anton's manuscripts in a safety deposit box. In 1921, Soviet scholars opened the box and discovered a play. The title page was missing. The play they found has too many characters, too many themes, too much action. Unstageable. Like life.

The thrilling Irish contemporary theatre company Dead Centre has deconstructed the Chekhov text into an explosive and stirring work-a "wildly playful piece about the elusiveness of meaning" (The Guardian)-that has dazzled audiences around the world.

Chekhov's First Play was co-commissioned by Irish Arts Center and premiered on September 23, 2015, as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.


Céilí: Seán Curran Company & Darrah Carr Dance

Masters in Collaboration

September 29-October 2, 2022

Céilí : house party; the practice of calling upon neighbors for an informal social visit.

: a set of group dances with pre-determined spatial patterns drawn from Celtic knotwork.

Two choreographers whose lifelong relationships with dance began as children with Irish step and branched in bold, distinct directions, bring together the creative languages they've each cultivated. Carr-whose innovative ModERIN style draws from Irish music, step dance footwork and spatial patterns-and Curran-whose acclaimed contemporary works have graced some of the world's most prestigious stages including BAM and The Joyce Theater-will merge their knowledges of tradition and invention, culminating in a brand new collaborative dance piece.

In the latest iteration of Masters in Collaboration, our series catalyzing explosively creative collisions of artistic practices, two dance troupes collide, converse, and collaborate to deliver a performance exploring what the idea of "céilí" can mean for dance and community in today's world.


Pillow Queens: In Residence

September 13-18, 2022

Pillow Queens curate a weeklong residency featuring some of their favorite New York artists, culminating with their own standing-room headline shows capturing the independent spirit, ferocity, and emotion of Dublin's contemporary music scene.

As part of Pillow Queens: In Residence

Tuesday, September 13

Film screening: You Are Not My Mother


Runtime: 93 minutes

When teenager Char's mother goes missing from their Dublin home one day, she returns utterly changed, and Char must tend to the nightmare that unfolds. Writer-director Kate Dolan, whose previous work includes the Pillow Queens videos "Holy Show," "Brothers," and "Gay Girls," makes her "seriously impressive" (The Guardian) feature film debut.

Wednesday, September 14

Literary event: This Woman's Work: Essays on Music


Edited by '90s icon Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) and esteemed writer Sinéad Gleeson, this powerful collection of essays is for and about the artists who kicked in doors and offered a new way of thinking about the vast spectrum of women in music. Gleeson is joined by novelist and essayist Leslie Jamison, Pillow Queens' Sarah Corcoran, and other guest panelists.

Friday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17

Pillow Queens and Friends in Concert

Pillow Queens curate a musical lineup that includes some of their favorite Irish musicians reflecting a supportive queer artistic community. Full lineup TBA. Standing room only.

Irish Traditional Music Archive Launch Event

October 2022

The Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) will launch a major digital exhibition of Irish traditional music relating to New York on Wednesday 29 June 2022, with support from the Irish Foreign Ministry Government of Ireland - Emigrant Support Programme. The online exhibition showcases rare recordings, stories and photographs relating to New York's remarkably rich Irish traditional music heritage dating from the late 1800s to late 1900s. Irish Arts Center will partner with ITMA to commemorate the launch of this crucial historical resource, with a reception and potential showcase of music performances.

Ragas to Reels

Utsav Lal, Linda Buckley, Sam Comerford,

Ganavya, and Nitin Mitta

November 17-19, 2022

The acclaimed Steinway artist Utsav Lal returns to Irish Arts Center for a special presentation bringing together two living musical heritages-Indian classical and Irish traditional. Lal's genre collisions and collaborations (here, with composer Linda Buckley, flute, whistle and sax player Sam Comerford, vocalist Ganavya, tabla player Nitin Mitta, and poet Sahar Romani) generate a riveting new sound, reflective of the complexities of identity-and connectivity of music-in a fluid world. This concert weekend will also feature a special, adapted performance just for kids.

In partnership with the Asian American Writers Workshop.

New York Trad Fest

Curated by Tony DeMarco

November 20, 2022

Continuing IAC's long-standing relationship with fiddler and Irish traditional musician Tony DeMarco, Irish Arts Center will host the closing night of the New York Trad Fest for its 10th year.


Muldoon's Picnic

Sept 12, 2022; Oct 10, 2022; Nov 14, 2022

With a name that harkens back to a late 1800s New York vaudeville act, this moveable feast of an event-curated and presented by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and songwriter Paul Muldoon-combines music, prose and poetry, and high commentary and low comedy with an evolving lineup of world-class guests and house band Rogue Oliphant. We are delighted to present this beloved artist-curated omnium gatherum, and its mix of joyful casualness and breathtaking artistry, in our state-of-the-art new home. Featured guests in Fall 2022: Ishion Hutchinson; Hilma Wolitzer; Meg Wolitzer; Ariel Zevon; Jonathan Safran Foer; Gabriel Kahane; Ange Mlinko; James Maddock; Manchán Magan; Dora Malech; and house band Rogue Oliphant.

13th Annual PoetryFest

Curated by Nick Laird

Presented in association with Glucksman Ireland House NYU

December 2-4, 2022

Curated by Nick Laird, the weekend-long festival is a haven away from our world of fast online verbiage, celebrating the value of sitting and listening to words written with sharpened care, intent, and nuance by today's foremost poets.

Readings from Catherine Barnett (Human Hours, The Game of Boxes), Billy Collins (Whale day: and other poems; The rain in Portugal: poems); Sasha Debevec-McKenny (poems in The New Yorker, Granta, The Chicago Reader); Seán Hewitt (All Down Darkness Wide, Tongues of Fire); Louis de Paor (Crooked Love / Grá fiar, The Brindled Cat and the Nightingale's Tongue); Victoria Kennefick (Eat or We Both Starve); Maurice Riordan (Shoulder Tap, The Water Stealer); Patricia Smith (Incendiary Art: Poems, Shoulda been Jimi Savannah); and Jessica Traynor (Pit Lullabies, The Quick).


Oíche Shamhna/An Irish Halloween

October 30, 2022

In this by-turns spooky and heartwarming evening of folklore and fun, delve into the ancient autumnal tradition of Oíche Shamhna, the eve of Samhain, across which bonfires lit the land orange and our world was believed to open to the realm of spirits, allowing departed loved ones to join the living. Play age-old Irish Halloween games and learn about the origins of Trick-or-treating, dressing in costume, and carving a jack-o'-lantern (originally a turnip)-and do all of the above.

ABOUT Irish Arts Center

Irish Arts Center, founded in 1972 and based in Hell's Kitchen, New York City, is a home for artists and audiences of all backgrounds who share a passion or appreciation for the evolving arts and culture of contemporary Ireland and Irish America. We present, develop, and celebrate work from established and emerging artists and cultural practitioners, providing audiences with emotionally and intellectually engaging experiences-fueled by collaboration, innovation, adventurousness, authenticity, and the celebration of our common humanity, in an environment of Irish hospitality. Steeped in grassroots traditions, we also provide community education programs and access to the arts for people of all ages and ethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. In an historic partnership of the people of Ireland and New York, Irish Arts Center recently opened a state-of-the-art new facility to support this mission for the 21st century.

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