32-county tour waiting for 'Godot'


Gate director Michael Colgan
Gate director Michael Colgan at the tour announcement

The Samuel Beckett play Waiting for Godotis to go on the biggest tour ever seen in the country.

Actors will bring the production to 40 venues across 32 counties during eight weeks in September and October.

The gruelling all-island tour is being organised by Dublin’s Gate Theatre to mark its 80th anniversary.

The actors, who include Alan Stanford, Barry McGovern and Stephen Brennan, also featured in the original Gate performance of the Beckett classic 20 years ago.

Gate director Michael Colgan said the previous Irish touring record for any play is eight venues in seven weeks. “It will require huge amounts of stamina and energy by the actors. One advantage is we won’t have to carry huge sets from venue to venue,” Mr Colgan said.

Mr Colgan believes Beckett is getting more popular despite the obscure nature of his plays and he encouraged newcomers to attend the performances.

“He is bleak, but he is moving up the scale in terms of popularity. A survey among theatre-goers in the UK found Waiting for Godotwas their favourite play after Death of A Salesman.

“I think people are less scared of him,” he said.

Mr Colgan aims to invite a special guest to each venue to create a unique social occasion around the performance.

Waiting for Godotis a much-interpreted play about two characters waiting for somebody called Godot who never arrives.

Mr Colgan and the Gate established a close working relationship with Beckett in the years before he died in 1989. Born in Foxrock Co Dublin, Beckett spent much of his life in Paris. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.

In 1991, the Gate became the first theatre in the world to present a full retrospective of his 19 stage plays.This festival was later repeated at the Barbican Centre in London and New York’s Lincoln Center. The Gate also played a major role in the Beckett Centenary Festival Dublin held in 2006.

Today’s announcement of the tour details was attended by Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen.

Minister of State Conor Lenihan, comic Ardal O’Hanlon, broadcaster Gay Byrne, actress Alison Doody and artist Louis Le Broquy were also present.