The orchestra under David Brophy sprawls through the stalls. The cast roam through stalls, circles, boxes and pit as well as stage

The Rise and Fall of the City of MahagonnyOlympia Theatre, Dublin***Mahagonny, the city of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s imagination, is a city in t(...)

‘We wouldn’t normally have just 12 hours to build something of this size.’ The construction of Mahagonny in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin, had to be undertaken at double speed. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill 2:27

In Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s satirical opera, first performed in 1930, the city of Mahagonny appears instantaneously, as if by black magic. “(...)

Lotte Lenya: nothing else can quite hit the same spot of her voice, and, although you know this, you keep on wanting other performers to generate the same frisson. Photograph: Erich Auerbach/Getty Images

The music of Kurt Weill was something I knew before I knew that I knew it. Who hasn’t heard Mack the Knife? The song may be from an opera, but it has (...)

From left: actor Kevin Shackleton, Sky Arts manager Freya Murray, Maverick TV’s Claire McArdle and actor Liam Carney

How do you market an opera on social media? For Sky Arts, which has funded Rough Magic and the Opera Theatre Company’s production of The Rise and F(...)

 Samuel Beckett. Photograph:  IC Rapoport/Getty Images

Michael Gambon is concentrating on his spaghetti bolognese, and on keeping it away from his green tweed jacket, when he announces: “Oh, Beckett is gre(...)

Former South African President Nelson Mandela speaks after being conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws at the University of Galway in 2003
Not just a symbol

The 20th century began, it has been said, when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990. If that is true, then I was privileged to spend the 20(...)

File image from June 2008   of (foreground, left to right) Dublin’s then deputy lord mayor Anne Carter, Dr Kader Asmal and former Dunnes worker Mary Manning, kneeling next to a plaque commemorating a group of supermarket workers who staged a two-and-a-half year anti-apartheid strike in the 1980s, as it was unveiled in central Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The 20th century began, it has been said, when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990. If that is true, then I was privileged to spend the 20(...)

In Cape Town, Desmond Tutu joins hands with Nelson Mandela in triumph after the latter was proclaimed president of South Africa in 1994.

He walked, and was not driven, from jail. He was not set free, since for him there was no freedom for one man without the freedom of all, and that fre(...)

Rough Magic performers Cormac Lawlor and Sarah Shine at the announcement of the Sky Arts award of €230,000. Photograph: Alan Betson

An old truck, coughing and spluttering its way across America, finally breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Its three occupants – a widow called Leoc(...)

Lynne Parker says the new production is ‘an ideal show to draw in a new audience from every cultural corner’.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The Irish theatre company Rough Magic has been awarded funding of €230,000 by digital broadcasting company Sky Ireland to enable a large-scale prod(...)