Ever been to a play where the actor’s last line is delivered, lights dimmed, curtain lowered and the audience erupts…in riots? Welcome to Dublin, and its amazingly chequered theatrical past and present, says Julie Basque.
Okay, don’t fret, you didn’t miss the morning paper! The whole riot thing happened back in 1926 when Sean O’Casey’s controversial play The Plough and the Stars (Set in 1916 Dublin around the Easter Rising, so a topic close to many of the audience’s hearts!) first ran in the Abbey Theatre. The play still captivates audiences today, but thankfully riot-free!
In Dublin, we’ve got you history buffs covered. The city is home to several theatres that are hundreds of years old, including the Gaiety Theatre, which just celebrated its 138th year, and the Abbey Theatre, founded in 1903 by WB Yeats.
“Dublin has an extraordinary tradition for producing unique theatrical voices, from Sean O’Casey to Mark O’Rowe,” enthuses Róise Goan, Director of the Dublin ABSOLUT Fringe festival. “Coupled with a savvy and enthusiastic audience that’s very keen to engage with what’s happening on stage, and remarkably talented actors, and you’ve got a totally unique theatre scene here.”
The controversial and riotous The Plough and the Stars is actually one of Róise’s favourite plays, but the city hosts other heavyweights, such as Arthur Miller’s classic Death of a Salesman as well as all-round family favourites, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The theatre scene here offers quite the diverse platter of venues, too. You can get up close and personal in the intimate studio theatre of Draíocht, or clamber together with 2,000 others at the newly opened Grand Canal Theatre.
One theatre hits Róise’s soft spot, though, and that’s the Project Arts Centre – her “home away from home” since it hosts shows for not only her ABSOLUT Fringe, but also the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival and Dublin Dance Festival.
Bursting with character, the Dublin theatre scene promises plenty of craic and most definitely heaps of history. Perhaps that’s why Róise describes ABSOLUT Fringe as “never dull, never boring and never lazy.”
Thankfully, though, riots are not part of the play!
Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival starts 30 September – 17 October
The Plough and the Stars, at the Abbey Theatre runs from 21 July – 25 September
Check out more upcoming Dublin Theatre events