What’s on in Irish theatre in 2022, from Beckett to Binchy to Sondheim

Something to cater for every taste in range of shows that will be staged across the country

An Evening With Reggie
Everyman, Cork – March 31st-April 16th, 2022, everymancork.com
You may not have heard of the journalist and writer Pat Fitzpatrick, but if you are from Cork you will most certainly have heard of his alter ego, Reggie from Blackrock Road, a millionaire with an acid tongue ready to burn anyone who doesn't meet his standards. What began as a satirical online column is being shaped into a play with the assistance of director Pat Kiernan. Some of Reggie's humour is local, but many of Reggie's targets are not. Not the worst way to spend an evening, Reggie himself might say.

Ar Ais Arís
Sligo/Donegal – July 2022, brutheatre.com
A highlight of the Galway International Arts Festival 2021, this immersive VR experience from the ever-inventive Brú Theatre blends poetry, film and dance to tell three female-centred stories that track a history of Irish emigration across the 20th century. Performed on the waterside, it immerses viewers in a visceral mediated reality that is wondrous and unsettling. It will tour to Cairde Arts Festival in Sligo and Earagail Festival in Donegal in July. Look out for its quirky children's show The Libravian too, which has been programmed alongside the main arts strand of both festivals.

Birds of Passage in the Half Light
Duncairn Arts Centre, Belfast – March 14th-21st, 2022, tinderbox.org.uk
Tinderbox Theatre starts the year with a production of a powerful new play from Fermanagh writer Kat Woods,which traces transgenerational trauma through the decades of one woman's life as she comes to terms with the legacy of systemic abuses in the Catholic Church in Ireland, from catechism to consent. Dark and challenging, it is directed by Patrick J O'Reilly. It transfers to Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, March 22-27. Look out for Kabosh Theatre also, touring Northern Ireland in February with Calling, Dominic Montague's play about LGBTQ+ activism in 1970s Northern Ireland, while in March and April they stage the first live performances of Laurence McKeown's Before You Go, which premiered online last year and will be touring across Northern Ireland. Both shows are under the direction of Paula McFetridge.

Gate Theatre, Dublin – February 11-March 26, 2022, gatetheatre.ie
Samuel Beckett gets the celebrity treatment in this highly anticipated production of Endgame, which stars controversial comedian Frankie Boyle, making his stage debut as the hot-tempered Hamm, and Robert Sheehan as his lackey Clov. Seán McGinley and Gina Moxley join the duo as the dustbin-stuck Nag and Nell, under the direction of Broadway director Danya Taylor.


Gravity (A Love Story)
Belltable, Limerick – February 2022, limetreetheatre.ie
After pandemic postponements, Bottom Dog Theatre finally gets the chance to bring this new play by Kerry writer Neil Flynn to the stage. Gravity is a contemporary love story across competing cultures, as an English woman and an Irish man try to come to terms with the cultural differences and similarities in a production directed by Conall Morrison. Morrison also directs the world premiere of Red Army, a new play by Marie Boylan and Helena Close about four female diehard rugby fans in the week of the death of Limerick rugby legend Anthony Foley. Commissioned to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Lime Tree Theatre, it will premiere in October.

Into the Woods
Lyric Theatre, Belfast – February 3rd-27th, 2022, lyrictheatre.co.uk
A timely production of Stephen Sondheim's 1986 musical from Northern Ireland Opera at the Lyric Theatre opens only two months after the composer's death. Into the Woods exemplifies the best of Sondheim's work: the experimental fluidity of narrative and musical composition; and the reinvention of classic material for popular consumption. Here, Red Riding Hood, a couple of princesses, a childless couple and Jack (of beanstalk-climbing fame) join forces to defeat a nasty wolf and an even nastier witch. Cameron Menzies leads the company again after last year's triumphant production of La Bohème.

Maeve Binchy's Circle of Friends
Gaiety Theatre, Dublin – April 20th-May 14th, 2022, gaietytheatre.ie
The premiere of this stage adaptation of Maeve Binchy's popular novel was postponed last year. Now Viko Nikci's production finally makes it to the stage. Elaine Murphy adapts the story of smalltown pals Benny Hogan and Eve Malone as they make their way to Dublin for university and find themselves drawn into a world of money and sophistication, as their rural innocence is corrupted by the wiliness of cityfolk.

Kells Courthouse/Pumphouse, Dublin Port – March 17-April 2, 2022, fishamble.com
As part of its ongoing Decade of Centenaries project, Fishamble: The New Play Company premieres Outrage, a new work from Deirdre Kinahan, which shifts perspectives on the Civil War to the women involved both behind the scenes and on the frontline. Drawn from multiple testimonies by women that Kinahan discovered in the National Archives. Outrage will feature actors Mary Murray and Naoise Dunbar, under the direction of Jim Culleton. It runs as part of the St Patrick's Festival from March 17-19 in Kells Courthouse, and from March 23–April 2 at the Pumphouse, Dublin Port.

Portia Coughlan 
Abbey Theatre, Dublin – February 9-March 19, 2022, abbeytheatre.ie
Marina Carr's haunting play about haunted housewife, Portia Coughlan, gets a welcome revival on the Abbey's main stage, offering a new generation of artists and actors an opportunity to explore the uncanny boundaries of Carr's powerful work, in which a birthday celebration takes a rotten turn as the past encroaches on Carr's doomed heroine. Abbey associate director Caroline Byrne directs a cast that includes Denise Gough as the ferocious, heartsore Portia, and Derbhle Crotty, who originated the role in 1996, as the venomous Marianne Scully.

Privilege: The Musical
Mermaid Arts Centre – March 1-5, 2022, mermaidartscentre.ie
Genre-bending theatre maker Louise White has a new gender-bending show, Privilege: The Musical!, which debuts in Bray, Co Wicklow, offering a glittering, soul searching story about power and inequality, performed by Jade O'Connor, Venus Patel, Stephen Quinn, and Ashley Xie. With musical compositions from Matt Regan and live performance from cellist Lioba Petrie, expect plenty of show tunes and snowflake earnestness.

The Art of W/Rights 
St Enda's Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin – April 2022, smashingtimes.ie
Smashing Times celebrates 30 years of socially engaged theatre in 2022 with a festival of original, site-specific work in the grounds of St Enda's Park. Engaging with the unique historical setting where Pádraig Pearse established his revolutionary school in 1908, the company will present the stories of people from Irish history with links to the area, who stood up and spoke out for the rights of others. These include Anne Devlin, who was once thought to be merely the housekeeper to Robert Emmet, but was actually a co-conspirator with the rebel; WB Yeats; and John Philpott Curran, the Irish lawyer, who successfully defended James Somerset, a slave who declared his own freedom.

The Chronicles of Oggle 
Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin – January 4-14, 2022, smockalley.com
Actor Peter Gowen puts his principles on show in this revival of his dark and lyrical drama, The Chronicles of Oggle, which is accompanied by two Friday Forum sessions for actors, exploring issues surrounding the play's themes of mental health which are particularly important to the performing arts profession at the moment. How can actors cope with rejection and develop skills of resilience? How can actors present mental ill health ethically? See also Every Brilliant Thing at the Abbey Theatre on the Peacock Stage in January, followed by a national tour, for a mental health uplift.

The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin – March 15-19, 2022, bordgaisenergytheatre.ie 
This exciting interpretation of Narnia for the stage debuted at the Leeds Playhouse in 2017 to rapturous reviews. After transferring to the West End, it now embarks on a UK and Ireland tour. Director Sally Cookson and designer Rae Smith turn CS Lewis's Narnia into a moving magical wonderland, with Craig Leo's puppets taking a starring role in animating the animal creatures of Narnia's wintery woods. Aerial spectacle abounds in this stirring, imaginative adaptation, scripted by Adam Peck, with Samantha Womack starring as the White Witch, and an ensemble of adult actors, including Ammar Duffus and Shaka Kalokoh as the Pevensie siblings.

For young audiences in the regions, Longford’s Backstage Theatre are bringing Fionnula Gygax’s new play Luminara on tour in May and June in a production directed by Maisie Lee. Also look out for Anna Newell’s BabyGroove and BabyLovesMusic for infant audiences on tour throughout the spring and a new Branar show, Grand Soft Day, at the Ark in autumn.

Under Milk Wood
Sligo/Leitrim – June/July 2022, blueraincoat.com
This large-scale community event cements Blue Raincoat's reach beyond its Factory Space base in Sligo town. This community staging of Dylan Thomas's polyphonic radio drama, will culminate with site-specific performances across historic sites in the northwest, including Leitrim, Sligo and Roscommon. If you cannot wait until summer for a Blue Raincoat fix, Niall Henry is directing longtime ensemble members Sandra O'Malley and John Carty in Beckett's Happy Days in February.

Walking with Ghosts
Gaiety Theatre – January 27th-February 6th, 2022, gaietytheatre.ie
World premiere of this adaptation of Gabriel Byrne's best-selling memoir of the same name, directed by Emmy award-winning director Lonny Price. Moving between sensual recollection of childhood in a now almost vanished Ireland and a commentary on stardom in Hollywood and on Broadway, Byrne returns to his home town to reflect on a life's journey.