The cast of The Commitments. Photograph: Johan Persson

The tremendous ensemble cannot be faulted but the abundant musical numbers overpower the thin storyline

Johannes and Margarethe

Hansel and Gretel as adults and a boy who befriends a stone are among the highlights of the children’s strand at this year’s Dubli(...)

Barry McGovern in Samuel Beckett’s First Love which is being performed in the O’Reilly Theatre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. Photograph: Patrick Redmond

Mesmerising performance but something hesitant in Barry McGovern’s delivery

Nell Zink: her new novel is an important, funny book with a pretty sharp moral and social message at its heart

Nell Zink uses brilliant satire to take potshots at all sides in her third novel

Margaret Atwood: her novel Hag-Seed is a modern prose version of The Tempest. “It was absolutely my first choice. It has a magician. It has fairies. Can it even be done?”   Photograph: Liam Sharp

Whether tackling Shakespeare, writing poetry or creating a graphic novel, the Canadian author lets her social conscience shine thr(...)

 PJ Gallagher in the “anti-theatrical” Alien Documentary, part of Dublin Theatre Festival

PJ Gallagher leads a likeable trio of men who build things and talk their way around football, fishing and extraterrestrial life (...)

Jessica Thom, right, and her assistant, Jess Mabel Jones

Jessica Thom turns the ‘crazy language-generating machine’ that is Tourette’s to her advantage

Swan Lake Loch na hEala, as part of Dublin Theatre Festival. Photograph: Colm Hogan

Dublin Theatre Festival: Mikel Murfi takes multiple roles in Michael Keegan Dolan majestic retelling of the classic story-ballet (...)

Although Collins is joined at times by his charming son, Johnny, most of the performance is stilted and static  Photograph: Al Craig

Dublin Theatre Festival: a powerful, necessary and moving moment of social testimony that doesn’t quite work as a piece of theat(...)

John Olohan as Himself and Bríd Ní Neachtain as Maisie in ‘The Remains of Maisie Duggan’ by Carmel Winters, directed by Ellen McDougall at the  Abbey Theatre as part of Dublin Theatre Festival. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Dublin Theatre Festival: corpse comes back to life revealing the explosive dynamic of a strange and violent family

Theatre Lovett’s The Feast of Bones. “Production values and costs shouldn’t decrease in line with your audiences’ height.”

How do we capitalise on the innovative performances for young audiences? We asked the experts for their wishlist

Oliver Jeffers: “This idea of the stoic man; generations being indoctrinated into the idea that not communicating is a good thing.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The artist's latest picture book is about the way the fantasy worlds of children’s books create the fabric of the grown-up mind. H(...)

Clare Dunne and Karl Queensborough in rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Directed by Sean Holmes and Stef O’Driscoll at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival

In the hands of Filter Theatre, live music and comedy shake up Shakespeare’s classic

Vickey Curtis, Finem Respice

Three Irish comedians create their own versions of Harry Potter; Vickey Curtis tells a raw and painful story

Paddy “The Shovel” Kennedy (Gerry Carney) tells Billy Salmon (Tommy Marren) of his bad news from his doctor in Paddy, a musical drama on irish emigration. Photograph: Michael Donnelly

Emigrant’s tale is a well put-together, solidly performed, nostalgic show without irony

Meticulously composed cabaret: RIOT, at the Spiegeltent until September 25th

RIOT - Can a great night out also count as a political act?

Jean Rhys: used her evening strolls as inspiration for the emotional landscape of her Paris novels

‘Flâneuse: Women Walk the City’; ‘An Abbreviated Life’; ‘The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir’

Empathy is like a tanning bed: This Beach, at the Project Arts Centre

The opening weekend of the Fringe festival bursts into life with disturbing future visions and exhilarating burlesque

The Beach, an original play by Brokenstalkers, is about the refugee crisis – from the point of view of the haves rather than the have-nots

In two productions, the maverick theatre group tackle big ideas about national identity, ‘which is really based on the idea that s(...)

A scene from Collapsing Horse’s version of Virgil’s epic ‘The Aeneid’

The innovative group’s latest show is a version of Virgil’s epic ‘The Aeneid’

As the Tiger Dublin Fringe festival prepares for this month’s event, a dozen of the artists taking part give the low-down on thei(...)

Roisin O’Neill, Lucia Kelly and Emer Feeney in Hodges Figgis book store with their copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which went on sale at midnight on Saturday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Latest Potter instalment should be read for what it is: a play and not a novel

Women at the workshop at Fringe Lab, Temple Bar.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Tara Derrington’s response to Waking the Feminists was to create a platform for mothers who are also artists

Rialto women came together for Natural History of Hope at Project in Dublin. Photograph: Ray Hegarty

Natural History of Hope, a play shaped by first-person testimonies about gender inequality in Rialto, provides a welcome alternati(...)

From left, Liam Burke, PJ Brady, Angela Harding, Sheila Flitton and Michael Judd at the Irish Theatre Institute, Dublin. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne

The Prime project helps older actors to get on top of cyber auditions and to get ahead in a notoriously ageist industry

 David Rooney, artist and illustrator, in his studio in Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

A ‘mobile’ tour of historical places in Dublin brings the Easter Rising to life

Maloney’s Dream: nothings is lost in translation

A bilingual show for children aged eight and over brings to life the events of Easter week with clarity and humour

Paul Mallon and Charlotte McCurry in Northern Star. Photograph: Keith Dixon

Rough Magic’s production of Stewart Parker’s play about the 1798 rebellion enriches the self-consciousness of the dramatic style (...)

Book-gifting encourages parents to read to and with their children, and affords children the opportunity to have books in their ho(...)

Censorship and the dictionary are the inspirations for interactive text-based games

Don Wycherley, Ronan Leahy and Gavin Fullam in Inside the GPO by Colin Murphy, in a production by Fishamble in partnership with Fáilte Ireland. Photograph: Dan O’Neill

Two site-specific plays around Moore Street and the GPO are among the most daring of the Rising centenary productions

Author Roddy Doyle. Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall

The author has transported ‘Don Giovanni’ to Dublin for the Opera Theatre Company

Production shot from ‘Into the Blue’. Photograph: Neil Harrison

Belfast theatre group has devised new ways of opening access for excluded kids

Reif Larsen’s Entrances and Exits  is a novella told through textual narrative and Google Street View

A new e-publishing company does not see material and digital forms as being in competition with each other but as two distinct, (...)

“The key issue for me was why people [joined the revolution]? How were young working-class men and women, just ordinary people, radicalised?” Playwright Deirdre Kinahan pictured in Dublin Castle. Photograph: Bryan Meade

The playwright’s new production Wild Sky eschews the grand Dublin narrative for a rural perspective on 1916

Another year, another new year’s resolution, but it’s no sacrifice to keep this one

Unfinished business: speakers on stage at the Theatre of Change Symposium at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin (from left) Gideon Levy, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Mark O’Halloran, Mary McAuliffe, Jaki Irvine, Nuala Hayes, Penny Arcade, Fiach MacConghail, Sarah Jane Scaife, Zoe Lafferty, Lian Bell, Dominic Campbell, Dr Emer O’Toole, Dr Susan Cahill and Fearghus O’Conchuir. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tackling malevolent cupcakes, mutant lesbians and “the man problem” at the Abbey

Reviews: The Wagner Files; Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg; The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

Hannah Moscovitch: “It can be hard for young women to visualise themselves as playwrights”

Hannah Moscovitch, whose play East of Berlin examines the Holocaust’s legacy and is coming to Dublin, is not against gender quotas(...)

The Henry Girls. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

The Henry Girls’ concert for children has – refreshingly – barely a mention of Christmas

Photograph: Cyril Byrne

A great first outing to the theatre for children who might be overwhelmed by larger pantomimes

Monkeyshine Theatre draws inspiration from Nordic mythology

The Snow Queen: my favourite version is illustrated by Harry Clarke, right. The glorious art nouveau illustrations are a brilliant introduction to his work, which can be seen in churches all over the country. I am also fond of PJ Lynch’s more realistic illustrations of the tale, left

In December, I read nothing but winter- and Christmas-themed books with my children, which I take down from the attic on December (...)

Zizi Strallen as the eponymous nanny in Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s lavish new production of Mary Poppins

Rather than staying close to Disney's 1964 musical, Julian Fellowes' adaptation goes back to PL Travers' books. The result is a Ma(...)

 Richard Dawkins: “Stories are fun, but to claim a supernatural explanation of something is not to explain it at all.” Photograph: Alan Betson

New titles from Sophie Sabbage, Chris Kyle, Jim Dwyer and Richard Dawkins

Cathy Belton in a 1998 production of Eclipsed

There is a long list of women who wrote important plays for Irish stages but whose works have all but disappeared. They deserve a (...)

Social media enables activists to reach audiences as never before, as the #WakingTheFeminists campaign knows. It’s all part of tel(...)

Oisín Robbins

The play uses a physical language to communicate with a young audience

Waking the Feminists meeting hears call for equal advancement of women artists

Where are the women?: Queen Maeve in the woodcut that WB Yeats commissioned from Elinor Monsell for what became the Abbey Theatre. Photograph courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

The National Theatre’s maddeningly male 1916 centenary season highlights the difficulties that face women who work in Irish theatr(...)

New titles from Rachel Abbott, Angela Currie, Fat Roland and Thijs de Boer reviewed

Senator Fiach Mac Conghail, director of the Abbey Theatre, during the launch of the theatre’s controversial 2016 programme. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Fiach Mac Conghail says reaction sparked ‘a professional and personal crisis’

Patrick Ness: “Chaos Walking” series ran over six books, and won major awards, including the prestigious Guardian Children’s Book Prize. Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

Patrick Ness fell into writing young adult fiction by accident, but he’s had huge success in a genre that’s barely a decade old

Smashing Times Theatre Company, which has been working in process-led educational theatre for almost 20 years

Drama in education aims to give students the tools to express themselves and imagine alternative worlds, but formal exposure to it(...)

Illustration by PJ Lynch from his book The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland’s Good Fortune

Illustrator PJ Lynch was never interested in writing – until he stumbled across the story of a servant who fell from the Mayflower(...)

Peepo by Alan and Janet Ahlberg: recommended reading for toddlers aged  18 months and over

Sara Keating runs the baby Book Club in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown libraries. Here she offers advice on how to pass on to children a (...)

Sam McBratney’s Guess How Much I Love You and Anita Jerman’s My Little Storybook are animated by life-size (and giant!) puppets in a double-bill from Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia that is as gentle as a bedtime story

Several theatrical adaptations of children’s classic books are touring the country, reports Sara Keating

Coiscéim’s new dance show takes Prokofiev’s classic into more modern territory with thrilling results

Author Louise O’Neill is one of the key writers driving this new wave of issue-centred books. Photograph: Clare Keogh

Young adult fiction is the largest growing genre in contemporary fiction

Festival buzz: Bees! was exquisitely conceived. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

‘Bees!’ and the rest of the Ark’s family season matched the quality of anything else at Dublin Theatre Festival this year, yet the(...)

Mary-Lou McCarthy and Marie Ruane. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

The music might be a bit too hip for the hive of children, but their parents might appreciate it

Ali White in Bailed Out!  Photograph: Patrick Redmond

Colin Murphy does a terrific job in using documentary material to maximum dramatic effect

Conor McPherson: ‘Writing is . . .  like going to the toilet. It’s beyond rational consciousness. A play just sort of pops out.’  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Conor McPherson’s talent as a playwright was precocious, but writing for a living was never part of the master plan

Multiple choice reading for the digital generation: ebooks that facilitate structural experimentation

Mesmeric: Maguy Marin’s non-narrative dance piece May B, the headlining show at this year’s Happy Days International Festival in Enniskillen

Enniskillen – home of the Beckett festival – offers settings that match the desolate emotional atmosphere of his work

Betrayed: Frida Kahlo is the subject of Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s The Egg Pyramid in Flash Fiction

Round-up: Digital publishers have been quick to spot the potential in brief reads that help shorten journeys

Amy Conroy: ‘There is this fixed idea of what it means to be a man or a woman, and there is very little fluidity, and I don’t believe that is how we really are’

Conroy’s new play is about the journey made by transgender people, but more than anything, says the writer, it’s about families

Learning to spin at the Ulster American Folk Park

Few children love trudging around art galleries or museums but there are ways to turn culture into an adventure. Here are some tip(...)

Best-known story: Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann in the 1987 film of The Dead

The digital world dovetails well with James Joyce’s imagination in some inventive apps

September 1913: The Irish Times published WB Yeats’s poem, then called Romance in Ireland, on September 8th, 1913; he sent it as a letter about plans to establish a municipal art gallery in Dublin

The poet had a close relationship with this publication throughout his career

   'The Queen has come! And isn't she angry.', illustration from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1832-9) (colour litho)  John Tenniel

Revisions of Lewis Carroll’s novel offer visual enhancements and a Manhattan setting

Fine Gael TD and Minister for State Simon Harris  is advocating a Yes vote on the age of eligibility for presidential office. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

At least 11 Fine Gael and Labour TDs say they are voting No; others unsure

Sinéad O’Sullivan tutors second-year students in digital media literacy in Mercy Secondary School in Inchicore, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

A digital literacy ‘short course’, one of a range being developed for junior cycle, excites the students and links with their othe(...)

‘Independent bookshops have a deep engagement with the culture of their city and country and they can reflect that in their stock.’ Maurice Earls of Books Upstairs on D’Olier Street, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Independent sellers such as Books Upstairs, Raven Books and Kenny’s have proved to be remarkably resilient in hard times, kept afl(...)

Miranda July solicited friends to forward a selection of emails that they wrote and received to her, and she curated a themed compendium of these emails for subscribers, delivering them by email on a weekly basis. Photograph: Elizabeth Weinberg/The New York Times

Don’t know what to read next? Never fear, help is at hand

Clean Reader’s blue dots do the censor’s job on sundry saucy classics

Aivis Kerans of Larkin Community College rehearsing for the students’ play, The Girl With No Name. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The Abbey’s Theatre-Making and Citizenship course has been piloted in an inner-city Dublin school, and the positive effects on s(...)

Connected: online book clubs and apps offer readers new ways to interact with each other and even with authors

Far from destroying reading, the internet is making it a more interactive experience

Review: Bake!

Paul Curley tuns a birthday party into something more chaotic with more than a hint of moral absurdity

Acrobats Emily Aoibheann and Elaine McCague (above, with Peter Corboy)  enliven the visual element of the show. Photograph: Patrick Redmond

This show for ages six and up broaches some important issues around identity and inclusion, but dramatically it feels embryonic

Noelle Brown and Iseult Casey in Monday’s Child. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

A party where children can ponder life’s big questions

Disruptively dozy digital reading can be hazardous to your health

Artist Helen Barry works with young children at Wee Care

Before children become literate, music, painting, crafts and drama can give them powerful tools for communication and development (...)

From left, Deborah Treisman; Paul Muldoon; director of the Arts Council Orlaith McBride (not on the selection panel); Paula Meehan; Siobhán Parkinson; Juan Gabriel Vásquez; and Blake Morrison

Passionate, relentlessly energetic and possessing a collegial focus: ahead of the announcement of the inaugural laureate in The Ir(...)

King’s popularity ensured the technological experiment would be a success. Photograph: Stacey Cramp/The New York Times

Stephen King was the first writer to embrace the medium

A Quentin Blake illustration in Roald Dahl’s The Twits

Illustrations are a touchstone of children’s literature. Here is a potted guide to the artists behind some of the best-loved stori(...)

Elf Factory: offers early-years audiences an opportunity to enter Santa’s workshop

Three- and four-year-olds give Santa a dig-out in this charming show

The dastardly Captain Hook (Nicholas Grennell)

The baddies are the swashbuckling heroes in this terrific, lavish production

Composer Brian Irvine

Sniffs and snuffles are welcome at this lively classical concert for kids

Sleeping Beauty: a refreshing antidote to some of the more commercial children’s entertainment on offer at Christmas

A commercial-free experience makes for a lovely, old-fashioned day out

As Consumpta and Concepta Carcrashian, Eoin Cannon and Aidan Mannion get all the best lines. Photograph: Conor McCabe Photography

Consumpta and Concepta Carcrashian steal the show in this Theatreworx remix

Motion comics combine animated panels with sound and video

Rachel Joyce: “Once I had the idea of seeing things from Queenie’s point of view, it wouldn’t leave me. I wouldn’t say the book just came to me in the writing, but I found she had so much to say.”

A pilgrimage to a hospice was the unusual theme of Rachel Joyce’s Booker-longlisted debut novel – but readers wouldn’t let her l(...)

A soldier’s story: ‘On the Wire’ at The Sailor’s Home on O’Curry Street in Limerick focuses on the life of an Irish soldier who comes back from the first World War to find a very different Ireland

Play dramatises the untold stories of Irish soldiers coming home from the first World War

David Nicholls has faced the crippling anxiety of writer’s block

Authors David Nicholls and Zadie Smith have both had to fight temptations of internet

David Mitchell: ‘I wanted to put a lot of things into my books  . . . gluing shorter novellas together was the only structure that lets me do that.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

The writer’s labyrinthine novels marry experimental narrative techniques with plot twists drawn from sci-fi and fantasy. In person(...)

Julia Donaldson. ‘Parents often tell me that they sing the books rather than read them aloud.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Live performance is an integral part of the work of the former children’s laureate, who tours with her stories and songs as part o(...)

More articles