With an implacable smile, Conroy encourages and supports even the most reluctant of audience members to join her on stage

It is hard to imagine anyone not falling for its gentle inclusivity and charm

Audiences familiar with Gorman’s work may enjoy hearing him sketch the various stages of his career, but the stakes are too low for the more disinterested viewer

Declan Gorman explores his own creative life in parallel with Joyce’s classic The Dead

Pat Fitzpatrick plays his alter ego in An Evening With Reggie at the Everyman Palace Theatre in Cork, opening in March.

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

Bold black-and-white illustrations from Karen Dietrich add visual interest to the anthology.

Anthology of writing for children is final part of Culture Matter’s publishing project

Evie’s Christmas Wishes, by Siobhán Parkinson, is a charming Christmas tale

Festive reads from Mel Taylor-Bessent, Kieran Crowley, Siobhán Parkinson and more

Elsewhere at the Abbey: Despite a historic setting, the contemporary political resonances were clear.

Hopes persist that live performance industry can rebuild itself again

The Long Christmas Dinner at the Peacock unfolds with graceful fluidity.

Thornton Wilder’s expressionist one-act play tracks a family home over 90 years

Mabel’s Magnificent Flying Machine: Caitríona Ennis as the effervescent, energetic Mabel. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

The Gate Theatre’s Christmas show is an adventure story anchored by a deeper emotional narrative

The Little Mermaid: Daryn Crosbie’s production celebrates the Gaiety Theatre’s 150th birthday in style

Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale is merely the hook for a spectacular production

The cast of   Aladdin rehearsing in the National Stadium in Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Despite the ever-shifting and sometimes barmy guidelines, theatres are determined to keep the Christmas show on the road this year

Aidan Crowe and Karen McCartney in Shame. Photograph: Caleb Purcell

Review: Gúna Nua’s production puts Hamlet in a modern Limerick gangland setting

Nick Drake’s All the Angels premiered at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London in 2015 and now comes to Smock Alley Theatre. Photograph: Patrick Redmond

The play, which charts creation of the classic piece, premieres in Ireland this week

A sumptuous illustration by Shona Shirley Macdonald from Cluasa Capaill ar an Rí, written by Bridget Bhreathnach

Titles from Sinead Moriarty, Sarah Webb, Freddy Alexander, John Hearne and Bridget Bhreathnach

Maura Bird,  Mark D’Aughton, Gene Rooney, Simon O’Gorman  and Alexandra Conlon in Bang! Photograph: Ste Murray

Dublin Theatre Festival: Michelle Read’s play is nuanced and deeply attuned to character development

iGirl: Olwen Fouéré in Marina Carr’s new play. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Dublin Theatre Festival: This deeply collaborative work asks how to make sense of our own stories in the continuum of human histor(...)

Disney’s The Lion King: ‘It’s an animal story, but it’s really a parable. All the animals are really human beings’

The director transformed Disney’s animation into a record-breaking cultural phenomenon

Stronger: despite fine performances, the play  serves the social story rather than a broader theatrical impetus

Dublin Theatre Festival: Geoff Power’s play delves into the psychology of victimhood and the circumstances that create criminals

What Did I Miss?: Naomi Moonveld-Nkosi and Sarah Morris. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Dublin Theatre Festival: Shaun Dunne’s play explores the ritual significance of school graduation

The First Child: what a treat it would be to see the full cycle performed in rep

Dublin Theatre Festival: This is a remarkable conclusion to Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh’s partnership

Once Before I Go: Aisling O’Sullivan and Sean Campion. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Dublin Theatre Festival: Sean Campion and Aisling O’Sullivan star in Philip McMahon’s play

Aobhlín Flynn (9) and Mícheál Barceló (12) flying the flag for the 25th Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. Photograph:  Andrew Downes

The festival has helped drive a change in attitude around the provision of arts to young people

Sarah Hanly

Sarah Hanly’s debut play is a troubling look at a skewed psychology thrust upon women

Dublin Fringe Festival 2021: Tonic, by Fionn Foley, staged at Dublin Castle by Rough Magic. Photograph: Jed Niezgoda

Dublin Fringe Festival 2021: Fionn Foley and Rough Magic’s production is a collaboration of comedic and musical talent

Adrienne Truscott and Feidlim Cannon, of Brokentalkers Theatre Company: Their Masterclass show is an attempt to lampoon the culture of reverence surrounding the “great artist”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Feidlim Cannon and Adrienne Truscott on Masterclass, their parody of ‘great artists’

John Connors in Rosaleen McDonagh’s Walls and Windows at the Abbey Theatre, directed by Jason Byrne. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Theatre review: Rosaleen McDonagh’s play explores complex social issues with empathy

Robert Grant’s The Philosophy Resistance Squad is a dramatic adventure, with an engaging helping of philosophy on the side.

New books by the Sears, Soundar, Shurety, Grant, Vry and Gauld

Players prepare for a Fit-Up performance.

In these creatively compromised times, a surge in touring performances is proving a hit

In MiddleTown: Mikel Murfi’s new solo show is touring until August 14th

The ghost of Enda Walsh hovers around the edges of the Gate Truck’s touring production

Waiting for Poirot  performed at the People’s Park, Limerick. Photograph: Keith Wiseman

The daring murder mystery is full of action and keeps families entertained throughout

Clelia Murphy in The Secrets of Primrose Square. Photograph: Ste Murray

A production that tracks the bleak reality of life during a pandemic in a south Dublin area

Our World in a Window is drawn from the work of 49 children across 18 counties in Ireland.

Distance Creates project allowed cocooning children continuity with creative expression

Rascal’s Pablo is a visual delight

New titles from Rascal, Charlie Higson, David O’Doherty, Jim Beckett and MG Leonard

Writer Úna McKevitt and director Emma Jordan at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin where One Good Turn will open on June 21st. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

One Good Turn by Úna McKevitt will be performed to a limited live audience – and online

Mespil in the Dark: Director Gavin Quinn says the impulse for the series has been percolating for a long time. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

The intimacy of the flats blurs the line between fiction and reality to exquisite effect 

Naomi Moonveld-Nkosi stars as Kyla in The Ark’s What Did I Miss? by Sean Dunne, which explores and shares children’s experience of lockdown. Photograph: Ste Murray

Shaun Dunne’s play, in its fourth, lockdown-shaped iteration, is about to stream from the Ark

Kerstin Walsh: ‘What I like to do with my work is preserve those stories, turn their memories into beautiful objects.’ Photograph: Kate Bean. Styling:  Alice Halliday

Many garments, particularly wedding dresses, have a story to tell, says Kerstin Walsh

The classic children’s author,  Sam McBratney.

Also new titles from Paddy Donnelly, Barry Falls, Sam Thompson, Amy Bond and Anna McQuinn

The Visiting Hour: Stephen Rea and (reflected) Judith Roddy give deep and rich performances in Frank McGuinness’s new play. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Review: Frank McGuinness’s short but meaningful new play has brought the Gate back to life

Catherine Doyle: One of the most interesting Irish children’s authors of her generation

The best new kids’ literature has something to fire the imaginations of all age groups

Francis Spufford: there are many passages of dazzling lucidity in his novel Light Perpetual. Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

Book review: Francis Spufford creates a rich and textured study of a city centred around five fictional characters

Francesca Simon: ‘I never had any ambitions to write for children. But you just don’t know what you are going to be good at.’ Photograph: Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty

The Horrid Henry author on sibling rivalry and the no-rules world of her new Viking story

For most artists with children, lockdown means creativity has to take a back seat to caregiving. Photograph: E+/iStock/Getty

Artists whose work is largely on hold during lockdown worry about a ‘Covid gap’ in CVs

Siobhán McSweeney as Winnie in Happy Days by Samuel Beckett, presented by Olympia Theatre and Landmark Productions. Photograph: Patrick Redmond.

Theatre review: one-night-only live stream of new co-production reflects these times of isolation and uncertainty

Aisling O’Sullivan, Cathy Belton and Derbhle Crotty in The Approach by Mark O’Rowe. Photograph: Patrick Redmond

Producer Anne Clarke on experiencing live performance for first time since pandemic

Howl by Kat Patrick

January’s best new books help kids start the new year with laughter and emotional release

Matthew Baker: Despite a thread of dark humour to leaven the psychological load, the America he foresees is a bleak place.

Matthew Baker thrillingly explores bleak patriotism with pulse of capitalism

Curl up by the fire with a good book, or a couple dozen good books, this Christmas. Photograph: iStock

Sara Keating selects the best books for the smallest stockings

The Ark’s Faces in the Window project, first produced in 1995, was re-created in 2016.

On its 25th anniversary, cultural centre for children has more than 14,000 virtual engagements

Nanny Nellie’s Panto Telly: Peter Pan, at Cork Opera House last Christmas. Photograph: John Allen/COH

Pantomimes and family shows have gone online – or even switched to a drive-in format

Rockin Rhymes in Galway’s Black Box theatre during the 23rd Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. Photograph:   Anita Murphy

A CD will be given to schools across Connacht and Munster as part of a teaching pack that includes videos introducing children to (...)

 Actor Marthe Keller and director Billy Wilder during the filming of  Fedora in Cherbourg, France in 1977. Photograph:  Michel Lambert/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Book review: Jonathan Coe’s usual cohort of fans may be bemused by the inconsistent style and tone

If You Come to Earth. Copyright Sophie Blackall

From Christmas themes to more universal themes of love, loss and mismatched sisters

Federico Julián González in Looking for América

Federico Julián González’s effortlessly engaging solo performance is personal but also has deep political resonance

Cora Venus Lunny, Caimin Gilmore and Olesya Zdorovetska in the Abbey Theatre’s production of The Great Hunger by Patrick Kavanagh at IMMA. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

The setting at IMMA – the scope of sky and the breadth of landscape – brings to life a new theatrical version of Kavanagh’s poem

The children’s author on Savage Her Reply, a reworking of the Children of Lir

A Thousand Ways: A Phonecall is an intriguing response to the challenges faced by the theatre in recent months. Photograph: Maria Baranova

Dublin Theatre Festival: Audience members meet through a guided phone call about their lives

Paul Noonan’s Electric Kazoo, part of 2020 Dublin Fringe Festival. Photograph: Ruth Medjber/ruthlessimagery

Dublin Fringe Festival: Recorded album would help find wider audience for family-friendly repertoire

Patricia Forde’s To The Island

Plus new titles from Eve McDonnell, Carlie Sorosiak and Sophy Henn

Archival footage and atmospheric video design  create a potent visual reminder and reenactment of lost histories

Dublin Fringe Festival: Caitríona Ní Mhurchú uses her past as prompt for philosophical exploration of nature of time

Rapid fire rounds, where Fionnuala Gygax’s questions were posed as ‘would you rathers’ and directed towards a specific context (the future climate emergency), provided a little more energy to proceedings

Dublin Fringe Festival: Interesting ideas get lost amidst the casual ‘improvised’ banter of interview format

Paul Fahy and Enda Walsh photo Andrew Downes believe ‘a festival is a great framework for people to be more experimental, and this just fit the bill’. Photograph: Andrew Downes

Changing Room explores the inner life of a man verging on change – a timely Covid-19 era work

Before You Say Anything, which will be performed at Dublin Castle’s Chapel Royal. Every audience member, director Claire O’Reilly says of the play, ‘will bring their own perspective to it. Every audience member will have a different opinion.’

Dublin Fringe Festival asked them to create a new work and Malaprop Theatre jumped at the chance

Dublin Theatre Festival director Willie White says a business model for digital theatre has emerged during lockdown. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Dublin Theatre Festival 2020: Live performance is more important than ever, says Willie White

Lisa Tierney-Keogh’s This Beautiful Virtual Village premieres online via the Abbey Theatre on August 17th. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Adapting her play for Zoom was ‘probably the hardest thing I have ever done’

Conor Hanratty says he found the limits of the Tiny Plays 600-word format “scary but liberating”.

A Japanese mentor helped to inspire Conor Hanratty’s online short play War Paint

There is “an intimacy with the roads that you can only get when you are hitching and you don’t get a ride”.

DIY stagecraft and theatrical invention get Tuam performer out under Tilt of the Sky

Jack Ryder’s debut novel is an exciting tale that grounds its gentle fantasy in the emotional life of its young hero.

Unadoptable children and plenty of tigers feature in this collection of adventures

Groskop is happy to admit that, occasionally, the film versions of her favourite French books serve as more of a touchstone than the texts themselves.

Viv Groskop sheds light on how personal readings of books can shift with time

Pat Kiernan instructs  Lucianne McEvoy Collins, Tadhg Murphy and Frankie McCafferty at Fitzgerald Park, Cork, at rehearsals of The Numbered by Elias Canetti. Photograph: Krzysztof Zielenski

Drama is fine online, but the deep art thrill needs innovative collective experience spaces

The Longest Strongest Thread by Inbal Leitner

Adventures and mysteries abound in this month’s releases for younger readers

Howie the Rookie

Howie the Rookie at The Lock Inn is running online on Wednesday nights until June 10th

Raven Smith’s book is structured as a series of discrete chapters, but the subject matter is largely overlapping and the language exhaustingly descriptive. Photograph: Darren Gerrish/WireImage

Raven Smith’s flashy literary style glitters with dense detail but little of substance

A view of performers in Expanding Fields by Jenny Roche

The coronavirus outbreak forced a rethink for the cutting-edge arts festival – with intriguing results

Michelle Paver: ‘One thing that has always frustrated me is that journalists, readers, booksellers, often use the word fantasy to describe the books, but Torak, Renn, these are not Stone Age superheroes.’ Photograph: Anthony Upton

The bestselling children’s author on making sure her fantasies are grounded in reality

Struan Murray’s debut novel Orphans of the Tide is a seaside story with a dark and magical twist.

Seaside tales full of magic and mystery, and a bear looking for chocolate cake

Scene from Sruth na Teanga

Set in Galway Airport, the audience is led to an understanding of how Gaeilge evolved

Playwright and theatre maker Sian Ní Mhuirí.

A celebration of Irish crystallographer Kathleen Lonsdale’s achievements

Patience Agbabi tells the story of Elle’s time-travelling talents.

Plus books from Gareth P. Jones, Kristin Roskifte, Yoko Tanaka and Noelle Smit

Derbhle Crotty  takes on the leading role of Madame Ranevskaya in The Cherry Orchard

Play will be live-streamed to cinemas in March in a first for an Irish production

As well as traditional theatre, Scene+Heard includes stand-up comedy, circus arts, live music and spoken-word poetry sessions.

Smock Alley’s new work showcase features 85 performance pieces on stage

What I (Don’t) Know About Autism:  Inclusivity defines the aesthetic as well as the experience of the show. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Theatre review: Jody O’Neill’s timely new play has a wide emotional register

Amelie Metcalfe and Carolyn Dobbin: Hansel and Gretel is the first opera that Theatre Lovett have produced. However, they have a long history of working with music. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

A family-friendly Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel aims to draw in children

Dawn McNiff’s Love From Alfie McPoonst The Best Dog Ever: Izzy’s dog Alfie has died, and she misses him terribly

Plus Two Bears, A House Without Walls, Lost, Agent Zaiba Investigates, Demelza and the Spectre Detectors

Taking the role of a woman who kills her children is not easy with children of your own

Seamus O’Rourke is nominated in the Best Actor category of the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards for his performance as Son in TRAD

Catch the final dates of the well-travelled and well-received production of TRAD

Restoration, directed by Darren Thornton with  Kate Stanley Brennan and John Cronin. Project Arts Centre, January 28th-February 1st

Shaun Dunne’s new play Restoration examines the tensions embedded in social work

Aaron Monaghan in The Travels of Jonathan Swift by Conall Morrison, Blue Raincoat Theatre Company

From the epic to the intimate, 2019 was a year of outstanding Irish theatre

 Author, Marita Conlon-McKenna, pictured at home in Dublin.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Thirty years after Under the Hawthorn Tree, the author has written a Famine story for adults

From right, Alex Murphy, Don Wycherley, Paul Mescal and Aisling Kearns from the cast  of the Gaiety’s  production of Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Photograph: Mark Stedman

In the 1990s Druid passed on The Lieutenant of Inishmore – the political temperature is different now

Blackwater Babble

Ronan Fitzgibbon’s Blackwater Babble and Irene Kelleher’s Gone Full Havisham

Emily Fox, Laurence Falconer,  Niall O’Brien and Gemma Kane in 48

Gemma Kane’s debut play 48 sees the human side of the 1981 Stardust nightclub fire

An illustration by Karl James Mountford from The Midnight Zoo by Maudie Powell-Tuck

Stories of a lost cat, a lost bird and friendships in moments of hardship and difficulty

Weekend Warrior  will be in the Civic Theatre, Tallaght  until January 5th.

Shows include mass physical therapy to theatrical portraits of minds under siege

From right, Alex Murphy, Don Wycherley, Paul Mescal and Aisling Kearns from the cast of Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore, which will run at the Gaiety Theatre. Photograph: Mark Stedman

Chekhov, McDonagh and O’Casey to be staged, along with newcomers to Irish scene

Elf: A Christmas SpectacularStarring Kym Marsh & Shaun Williamson is in Dublin’s 3Arena until December 29th. Photograph: Graham Stone/Jack@neilreadingpr.com

Room on the Broom and Buddy the Elf aim to please over the holiday season

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

Abbey Theatre play’s spiritual undertones feel appropriate to Christmas time

Voulez-vous? The international touring production of Mamma Mia!, starring Irish West End star Sharon Sexton, is at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre until January 5th

Well That’s What I Heard explores class divisions; Mamma Mia! explores Abba hits

Cinderella stars Jenny Dixon, Jake Carter, Alan Hughes and Michele McGrath. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall

Plus our reviews of all the best Christmas pantos – and the ones to avoid

Pauline McCaul, the  ‘the miracle maker’, designs and makes the panto costumes, pictured  with Joe Conlan as Widow Twankey at the Gaiety Theatre. Photograph: Tom Honan

Meet Daryn Crosbie and the colourful crew behind the Gaiety panto

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