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The stage is (almost) set: Theatre coming our way in 2023

Including Frigid, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Twelfth Night, Reggie’s Guide to Social Climbing and Hangmen

King

Pat Kinevane reunites with director Jim Culleton and Fishamble The New Play Company for King, the fifth solo play in a remarkable collection of one-man dramas about outcasts living on the edge of Irish society, which have been touring nationally and internationally to great acclaim since 2012. In King, Luther is the leading man in his own life. Born on the day that Martin Luther King was assassinated, he expresses himself through the songs of the king of rock’n’roll: Elvis. King is performed by the chameleon Kinevane in full physical storytelling mode.

Premieres at Glór, Ennis on February 23rd, before touring to Belltable, Limerick; Town Hall, Galway; An Grianán, Letterkenny, Backstage, Longford; Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise; Pavilion, Dún Laoghaire and Siamsa Tire, Tralee, fishamble.com

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The National Theatre UK bring their 5-star production of Neil Gaiman’s magic realist 2013 novel to Dublin. A slippery time-travelling tale, it tells the story of a middle-aged man who is transported back to childhood when he returns to his hometown for a funeral. The local pond becomes a portal to an alternative plane of reality, where a flock of hunger birds threaten his past and his future. Despite the child hero, this is a dark story with intimations of domestic violence and suicide: a young adult more than a child’s affair. Joel Horwood’s adaptation is directed by Katy Rudd.

Runs at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from March 28th-April 1st, bordgaisenergytheatre.ie

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Conversations After Sex

Winner of Best New Play at the Irish Theatre Awards 2022, Mark O’Halloran’s Conversations After Sex returns to Irish stages for a nationwide tour this spring after a New York run. Tom Creed directs Kate Stanley Brennan and Fionn Ó Loingsigh in this searing and uncompromising excavation of intimacy and grief, as a woman seeks out men for no-strings-attached sex in the wake of her partner’s death, the anonymity of the encounters allowing for unguarded conversations about important things.

Tours nationwide in April-May, thisispopbaby.com

Dream Factory

Meanwhile, ThisIsPopBaby’s Jenny Jennings directs the Lord of Strut in Dream Factory, a contemporary quest narrative from Cian Kinsella and Cormac Mohally themed around the contemporary crises of climate change, capitalism and consumerism. Performed by nine aerialists, acrobats and actors, it presents an imagined, hopeful future to family audiences.

Runs at The Everyman Palace, Cork in February, everymancork.com

Twelfth Night

Shakespeare Squared, a new Waterford theatre collective, kicks off with an ambitious debut in autumn: an outdoor production of Shakespeare’s late comedy, ‘Twelfth Night’, which will wind its way through the streets of the Viking Triangle in September. Spearheaded by Waterford theatre professionals, Joe Meagher, Eimear Cheasty and Deirdre Dwyer, Meagher’s musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s raucous romance will take advantage of the historic area’s striking architecture and atmosphere, and bring a welcome breath of new life into the cultural ecology of the county.

Twelfth Night will run in partnership with the Theatre Royal, Waterford in September, www.theatreroyal.ie

Frigid/Oh Brother

Bewley’s Cafe Theatre is a favourite venue for the Dublin Fringe Festival. Now it brings new life to two of the Fringe Festival’s standout productions, Rosa Bowden’s Frigid, which won the Little Gem Award for Best New Play and Callum Maxwell’s Oh Brother. Oh Brother sees two estranged brothers brought together for the first time, forced to consider the reality of brotherhood and the complicated reasons they never met before. Callum Maxwell and Ruairí Lenaghan star. In Frigid, 14-year-old Niamh has never been kissed and her friends are determined to change that, whether she likes it or not. Bowden “deliciously creates the innocence and discovery and fun – and mortification and terror and bullying – that is puberty”, according to The Irish Times’ review.

Oh Brother runs at Bewley’s Cafe Theatre from February 13th-March 4th. Frigid runs from March 6th-25th, bewleyscafetheatre.com

Silent Trade

Rosemary Jenkinson brings her trademark provocation to the political issue of human trafficking in Northern Ireland, with a new play, Silent Trade, that peeps behind the immaculate curtains of the houses in a leafy Belfast suburb to expose the dirty secrets of domestic servitude. With direction from Paula McFettridge, this Kabosh production will tour alongside Louise Matthews’ Not On Our Watch, about six women fighting for the survival of a women’s-only hostel.

Silent Trade runs at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast from February 22nd-26th and the Market Place Theatre, Armagh on March 2nd, kabosh.net. Not on Our Watch tours community venues in Belfast from January 25th-28th

Reggie’s Guide to Social Climbing

After last year’s success with his debut stage appearance, Millionaire Reggie (aka Pat Fitzpatrick) descends from his mansion on the Blackrock Road to provide comedy-greedy audiences with everything they need to know about climbing up the social ladder in the Rebel County. With top tips on shtyling yourself to blend in Brown Thomas to Posh Cycling hacks; think Ross O’Carroll Kelly for Cork. Pat Kiernan directs.

Runs at the Everyman Palace from March 8th-19th, everymancork.com

The Piece With Drums

Following their 2022 triumph Go to Blazes, choreographer David Bolger collaborates with jazz genius Conor Guilfoyle for The Piece With the Drums, a new work in which dance and percussion converse with each other, to break down the meaning of rhythm through movement, beats and the construction of a drum kit. A colourful exploration of relationships, spirituality, and our connection to rhythm, it is performed by Guilfoyle on drums and dancers Diarumuid Armstrong, Justine Cooper, Ghaliah Conroy, Ivonne Kalter, Jonathan Mitchell, Alex O’Neill.

Runs at Project Arts Centre in Dublin from January 17th-28th, coisceim.com

The Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Theatre Lovett invites young audiences (5+) to go down to the woods with them this spring for a big surprise. Led by spy supreme Theodora – a detective who has discovered the real Timbuktu – children and their teddy bears are needed for Theo’s latest, cuddly quest: to track down the famous teddy bear’s picnic. Performed by Julie Maguire and Ashleigh Dorrell, under the direction of Louis Lovett.

Tours nationwide in venues including the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge; Dunamaise Arts Centre in Port Laoise; Mermaid Arts Centre in Bray; Pavilion Theatre Dún Laoghaire; Roscommon Arts Centre; Theatre Royal in Waterford and Siamsa Tire in Tralee from February 11th-April 1st, theatrelovett.com

Hangmen

Decadent Theatre Company presents the long-awaited premiere of Martin McDonagh’s Olivier and Tony-award-winning play from 2015. Harry is the second-best hangman in England. With the abolition of the death penalty, he’s about to lose his job. He gathers with friends in the pub to grieve the occasion but a mysterious stranger turns the night on its head. TV star Killian Scott makes his theatrical debut as Harry, with support from Denis Conway, Gary Lydon and Aisling O’Sullivan among others.

Hangmen runs at The Gaiety Theatre from March 11th-April 8th, gaietytheatre.ie

Tales from the Holywell

Dublin’s Damien Dempsey stars in this musical biodrama about his own life. Driven by his own back catalogue, he uses music to trace his transformation from young Northsider to Dublin. Backed by a three-piece band, Dempsey is directed by Conor McPherson, who transformed Bob Dylan’s back catalogue into the internationally acclaimed Girl from the North Country.

Tales from the Holywell runs from January 30th-February 18th at the Abbey Theatre, abbeytheatre.ie

Old Ghosts

The final part of the ambitious Ulysses 2.2 project from ANU, Landmark and MOLI (Museum of Literature Ireland), this opera from Evangelia Rigaki and Marina Carr takes Episode 18 of Joyce’s book as its inspiration, bringing together Irish National Opera and ANU for the first time, to imagine James Joyce in conversation with Nora Barnacle, Homer and Penelope. A chamber piece for 4 singers – Christopher Bowen, William Gaunt, Doreen Curran and rising star Jade Phoenix – designer Owen Boss is sure to make the most of the intimate environs of the Newman House setting.

Old Ghosts runs at MoLI, from February 2nd-4th, ulysses22.ie

Romeo & Juliet

The world of high fashion helps to add a contemporary edge to the Lyric Theatre’s new production of Shakespeare’s tragedy of star-crossed lovers, in a large-scale production directed by Philip Crawford. Adam Gillian and Emma Dougan star as the doomed star-crossed lovers, with a modern dramaturgy from Dr Anne Bailie that resonates with contemporary issues, offering supported youth-focused discussion of issues like mental health and suicide

Runs at The Everyman Palace, Cork in Februaryst from February 4th – March 5th, lyrictheatre.co.uk