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Dublin Theatre Festival returns with live theatre across the city

21 world premieres from leading Irish theatre artists, alongside exciting international work, in person and streamed live. Additional tickets added

The First Child, the final instalment in the explosive opera trilogy by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh. Image: Jack Phelan

The First Child, the final instalment in the explosive opera trilogy by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh. Image: Jack Phelan


Over the past year the determination of artists to make work even in the most challenging circumstances has prevailed. Excited to present some of the works they have been waiting so long to share with the public, Dublin Theatre Festival 2021 has unveiled a programme that was planned looking forward to a time when audiences can gather, safely and comfortably, as the recovery unfolds. 

While new opportunities to increase reach and access have been opened up through streaming, the last year has also reinforced the thrill and intimacy of live performance experienced in person. DTF 2021 will retain a digital element to enable audiences, with streaming of a number of performances, but is placing the emphasis on live performance and the energy and togetherness that a festival creates.

This programme celebrates artists making work in Ireland as well as welcoming international theatre companies and visiting artists to Dublin again, with projects from the UK, France, Portugal, Switzerland and Argentina. 

DTF is also very much about Dublin, its people and its stories. Our experience of and relationship with the city has changed in the past year and as we dare to look to the future, it’s time to fall in love with Dublin again, to see it as a place that people want to be, to play, not just somewhere they have to go to work. 

Conversations After Sex. Image: Ste Murray
Conversations After Sex. Image: Ste Murray

In the main programme are 29 works that an be experienced in person, at various venues across the city, with 21 world premieres. 

The return of live in-person performances in Dublin from International theatre companies and artists includes work from Teatro Praga (Portugal), Sophia Teillet/L’Amicale (France), Tim Etchells (UK), Ant Hampton (Germany/UK), Lola Arias (Argentina) and Mats Staub (Switzerland).

The festival will have exciting new work and new ways of experiencing productions from many of Ireland’s leading artists. These include The First Child, the final instalment in the explosive opera trilogy by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh, presented by Landmark Productions and Irish National Opera.

Stepping between the early days of the Aids crisis and today’s LGBTQ+ community is the Gate’s Once Before I Go by Philip McMahon. ANU Productions and Landmark Productions collaborate for the first time to present The Book of Names, drawing on two 100-year old books. And Duck, Duck, Goose is a viscerally charged new play by Caitríona Daly from Fishamble: The New Play Company.

Stronger by Geoff Power, from Gúna Nua, deals with Restorative Justice. An Abbey Theatre and Royal Court Theatre coproduction is Sarah Hanly’s debut play Purple Snowflakes and Titty Wanks. The Application is a documentary about freelance theatre artists’ experiences of endlessly making applications by Gina Moxley.

Night Dances
Night Dances. Image: Richard Oughton

Caitríona McLaughlin reunites with Marina Carr for iGIRL at the Abbey. Using VR headsets, the audience is immersed in an alternate digital world in Emperor 101 from The Performance Corporation. From Rough Magic comes the first full-length play by Robbie O’Connor, a tense, psychological thriller called GLUE.
United Fall’s Night Dances sees Emma Martin collaborate with Daniel Black of Girl Band to create a dark and intense series of dance poems that express the invisible energetic, connective tissue that joins us.

From Axis Ballymun is TKB’s new play, Rearing Is Sparing, a love letter to the mothers of Dublin’s North Inner City and beyond.

Pan Pan’s The First Bad Men is the story of a book club members’ encounter with the characters in a novel. A fierce parable by Éadaoin O’Donoghue, Heart of a Dog from The Everyman, Civic Theatre and John O’Brien, transplants Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel. From CoisCéim, reality, imagination and family lore collide in a touching new dance duet, Uncle Ray, by David Bolger.

The first chance to see live in-person What Did I Miss? from The Ark and Dublin Theatre Festival offers a window into one child’s experience of the first lockdown 2020. Beckett specialists Gare St Lazare Ireland offer audiences the chance to experience for the first time in one (online) sitting all three parts of Beckett’s towering novel How It Is.

Climate change and ecology also feature in two exciting new Irish works: Root from Shanna May Breen & Luke Casserly explores the intersection of ecology and performance, where we are and where we need to go, and how trees may have the answer. And a temporary visual installation and audio performance on the Liffey quays from Brokentalkers, Algorithm and Dublin Theatre Festival, Rising, will explore the often overwhelming topic of climate change from the point of view of young Dubliners living close to the water. 

Tim Etchells of legendary UK experimental theatre company Forced Entertainment will create a new neon work to be installed in Temple Bar Square. 

In this year’s FESTIVAL+ programme dive into an engrossing series of talks, critical events and six new work-in-progress showcases from Irish-based artists. 

Root. Image: Luca Truffarelli
Root. Image: Luca Truffarelli


Additional tickets have been added. Book online at or by phone +353-1-6778899. To become a friend of the festival, go to 

Public safety

Audiences can rest assured that Dublin Theatre Festival is at all times following Government guidelines and operating under public health advice in relation to social distancing, face coverings, limited capacities and contactless ticketing.

A big thanks

Dublin Theatre Festival acknowledges everyone who has joined in the work of making this edition. To the artists who imagined and everyone who supported and sustained us all on the way, to the team at Dublin Theatre Festival, board, funders, partners, and Friends – Thank You. 

Dublin Theatre Festival also thanks their principal funders, the Arts Council, for its steadfast support along with Dublin City Council and Fáilte Ireland.