Edna O’Brien and Brendan Gleeson sign up for Abbey’s Dear Ireland project

Theatre asks writers to create monologues for 50 performers, to premiere online this month

Dear Ireland: Edna O’Brien and Brendan Gleeson have been announced as among the artists taking part in the Abbey Theatre project. Photographs: Alan Betson and Rich Polk/Getty

Dear Ireland: Edna O’Brien and Brendan Gleeson have been announced as among the artists taking part in the Abbey Theatre project. Photographs: Alan Betson and Rich Polk/Getty

 

Edna O’Brien, Brendan Gleeson, Blindboy and Enda Walsh are among the writers, performers and artists whom the Abbey Theatre has announced will participate in a major new creative project starting later this month.

The theatre has commissioned writers from Ireland, along with additional contributions from writers in the United States, China and Italy, to each write a monologue, to be performed by 50 actors, and then streamed on digital platforms as part of its Dear Ireland project, details of which were revealed today by the Abbey’s directors, Graham McLaren and Neil Murray.

In a joint statement, McLaren and Murray said the theatre was “more than the walls which house its productions, and the work of Ireland’s national theatre responds and will continue to reflect the challenges being faced by Irish society. In this profoundly historic period for Ireland, we have brought together the voices of 100 artists to provoke a creative conversation with the nation. In addition to making new art for audiences, we felt it was important to act fast, to document this moment artistically, whilst helping theatre makers financially, a community which has been greatly impacted by the closure, cancellation or postponement of many artistic projects.”

Each writer nominated one actor to perform their piece, and the actors are self-taping their performances from social isolation. The Irish artist Maser has also been commissioned to produce work that will be woven through the visuals in the films.

Dear Ireland will premiere online later this month. Released over four days, the monologues will be screened in four parts at 7.30pm from Tuesday, April 28th, to Friday, May 1st, on the Abbey Theatre’s YouTube channel.

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