Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival, New York’s only all-Irish event of this type, is moving to a new permanent slot in the calendar on the occasion of its special 10th anniversary edition. Origin’s 1st Irish 2018 runs from January 9 to 29.
The world’s only theatre festival dedicated to showcasing the work of contemporary Irish playwrights takes place in a number of distinguished New York venues, including the Irish Rep, City Center, the cell, the Irish Arts Center, the American Irish Historical Society, Symphony Space, Scandinavia House, Bloom’s Tavern, the Museum of the City of New York, the Sheen Center, The Irish Consulate and Torn Page in Chelsea. This year the Festival welcomes and organizes productions and special projects from Belfast, Dublin, Boston, The Bronx, and Manhattan. (For tickets and schedule visit www.origintheatre.org)
Curated and coordinated by festival founder George C. Heslin, Origin’s 1st Irish is the only festival of its kind to mix brand new and recently acclaimed productions and special projects from both sides of the Atlantic. Since its founding in 2007, the Festival has been recognized for its focused size, and emphasis on audience engagement through parties, panels and workshops. Its Next Generation and Breaking Ground series have proven to be a launch-pad for new projects developed collaboratively by artists from different cities, that have gone on to further success and acclaim. In 2015 The New York Times called Origin’s 1st Irish “an important event that offers New York theatergoers the chance to see fascinating new work.”
A competitive festival, this year’s Best of Festival awards will be determined across categories because of the diversity of the projects. The blue-ribbon panel of judges conferring the Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival Awards on Monday, January 29 will be announced soon.
Origin’s 1st Irish 2018 gets underway on Tuesday, January 9 at its Official Launch Party welcoming Festival participants and partners at Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue.
1.– Opening the Festival will be the 20th anniversary production of Enda Walsh’s breakthrough play Disco Pigs, which begins previews on Friday January 5, opens on Monday January 8 and runs through Sunday February 18. Directed by John Haidar, starring Evanna Lynch and Colin Campbell in their US stage debuts, this is the critically acclaimed Tara Finney Productions hit that played in London in the summer of 2017. The story of two runts who’ve been inseparable since birth and what happens when they take the plunge into drugs, booze and the disco life, the play won the George Devine Award Stewart Parker Award. At the Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 West 22nd Street, Jan 5 to Feb 18,
2. –The Irish sensation Party Face‘s cast is headed by Hayley Mills in this New York production of Isobel Mahon’s comedy, directed by Amanda Bearse. Crash the party with Klea Blackhurst, Gina Costigan, Brenda Meaney and Allison Jean White. At City Center Stage II, 135 West 55th Street. January 11 to April 8.
3.– The world premiere of a new dark comedy, Dying for It, by the New York-based writer Derek Murphy, who was represented last year by the comedy Appendage. This year Murphy comes to life in a world premiere directed by John Keating, with a cast that includes Maria Deasy, Adam Petherbridge, Sarah Street and Aoife Williamson. At the cell, 338 West 23rd Street, from January 16 to 28.
4– Boston’s Tir Na Theatre Company brings Bernard McMullan’s internationally acclaimed Jimmy Titanic back to New York to dock once again. Directed by Carmel O’Reilly, the play introduces us to an angel played by Colin Hamell, who, more than 100 years after that fateful maiden voyage, is still on board and steering the Titanic’s legacy to strange, distant shores. Some journeys never end! At the cell, Thur January 25, and Fri/Sat January 26, 27.
5– Torn Page Theater, in association with The WB Yeats Society, presents an Apartment 929 Production of WB Yeats’ The Only Jealousy of Emer, devised and directed by the celebrated Dublin director Ray Yeates. In this site-specific rendition of Yeats’s deeply semiotic chronicle of love transfiguring death, a strange collision of ancient Irish mythology and Japanese Noh theater ricochets through the oddly bohemian vertical theatre that is Torn Page, the Chelsea townhouse that once was the home of Rip Torn and the late Geraldine Page. 435 West 22nd Street, Friday January 19 to Sunday January 28.
Throwback Thursdays – Back by Popular Demand!
6– The Bronx-based Poor Mouth Theatre Co. returns to the Festival for the fourth time with a special encore of Don Creedon’s site-specific comedy, Guy Walks into a Bar, which won the Festival’s audience award for best play in 2010. In this new staging directed by Tim Ruddy, we are introduced to a sad loser trying to get back into the dating scene after a totally demoralizing divorce. Two nights only at The NY Irish Center, 10-40 Jackson Avenue, in Long Island City, Thursdays January 18 and 25.
7– Origin’s Breaking Ground series commissions five writers to explore the opioid epidemic in America by writing five new short plays based on a single newspaper article about the crisis. Presented in association with Shea Delves Productions, Building Pain, a site-specific experience, takes the audience to five destinations and outcomes based on the same catalytic dose of Oxycotin. That’s five different stories of despair and isolation played out in the same single room. Staged in the apartments above Bloom’s Tavern on three consecutive evenings. The playwrights are Geraldine Hughes, Honor Molloy, Sarah Street, Brenda Meaney and Lisa Tierney Keogh. Bloom’s Tavern, 208 East 58th Street, Thursday January 25, Friday January 26, Saturday January 27.
8– In Between Silence, by Irish composer and avant-garde recording artist Stano. Here in this one-night-only event, we discover some of Stano’s latest story-collaborations with noted Irish authors and artists, which are filling an impressive on-going archive of improvised storytelling. First seen in New York at the Barrow Street Theatre in December 2016, Stano’s creations capture short vignettes from the lives of the authors, as told to him without prior rehearsal, and to which he improvises the score. In each case, an original performance of a personal story merges with a spontaneous musical setting devised by the composer. A hand-picked collection of stories is screened at Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, Tuesday January 16.
9– The Lyric Theatre of Belfast, in a new partnership Origin Theatre Company builds a new cultural bridge between New York and Northern Ireland by sharing the work of two unique writers. In a free reading performed by local Irish actors, Away with the Fairies by Seamus Collins, and All Mod Cons by Erica Murray are cleverly juxtaposed. At American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue on Wednesday January 17. Free event.
10– A festival family event! In a new partnership with Cinemagic, which promotes the involvement of young people in films made in Northern Ireland, Origin offers us a late Christmas gift — a special screening of A Christmas Star, a feature film in which 40 young trainees earn their first ever film credit. A delightfully humble and charming movie which shows that gifts can come in many packages screens at Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, Monday January 22, at 7 PM.
11– Currently on view at the Irish Arts Center, Beckett and His World, the photography of John Minihan. This fascinating exhibit captures many Beckett collaborators, friends and members of his inner circle, from the director Walter Asmus, to author Edna O’Brien, to publisher John Calder, and London actors Lisa Dwan, John Hurt, Olwen Fouéré and the writer John Montague. At the Irish Arts Center, 553 West 51 Street, gallery hours by appointment only, Monday to Friday 10 AM-6 PM
12– NYC GAA Scór Nua Eabhrac presents Scór on Broadway, a unique cross-over of Irish culture and sports, in which the seven Gaelic Athletic Associations in New York carry on a brave tradition (begun in 1969) of the all-Ireland GAA clubs, as they show off their off-season cultural projects in a spirited arts competition voted by the audience and a blue-ribbon jury. This is the second year in a row that Origin has co-hosted the festively raucous event at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway (at 95th Street), Friday, January 19 at 7 PM.
13– A special Day-Long Symposium with guest speakers, including distinguished writers, directors, actors and arts executives who will deeply mine the current arts scene in Northern Ireland, currently undergoing an inspirational transformation. At the American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue (at 80th Street), Saturday January 27, 11AM-5 PM. Free event.
14– Ha za! It’s another round of “ShakesBEER!” NYC’s Original Shakespearean Pub Crawls. Brought to us by NY Shakespeare Exchange — the company that popularizes Shakespeare for diverse, contemporary audiences in new and timely ways. This rollicking show, enjoyed in the course of a lazy Saturday afternoon, has audiences repairing to four nearby pubs for four immersively staged scenes of Shakespeare classics, plus, in honor of 1st Irish, a Bard-worthy scene by an Irish scribe. This time it’s greatest hits from Romeo and Juliet, Pericles, Merry Wives of Windsor and Shaw’s Misalliance. It all starts, fittingly, at The Dubliner on Historic Stone Street, 45 Stone Street, Saturdays January 27 and February 3, both at 3 PM
15– Interactive Talk: “Dante’s Path.” In this interactive experience, the renowned international authors Bonnie and Richard Schaub lead the audience on a unique journey exploring the vast and various perspectives of human nature. Inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” and using imagery, art, sound, conversation, and aspects of guided meditation, the Schaubs will take us where no audience has ever gone before! At The Sheen Center, 18 Bleecker Street, Saturday January 27 at 7 PM.
15– Artists Without Walls presents a staged reading of Crossing Boroughs, a pop-culture fun-house ride through the boroughs, and from neighborhood to neighborhood, with all the sights, sounds, games and crack lingo of yesteryear, in a time well before gentrification and the airbrushing of the social landscape by corporate America. At the Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue (at 103rd Street), Sunday January 28 at 3 PM.
16– Opus Books, in association with The Irish Consulate, presents Dear Mr. Beckett, a reading of selected passages from the letters of Samuel Beckett to his publisher at Grove Press, Barney Rosset. Conceived by publisher and writer Glenn Young, and featuring the distinguished Irish actors Billy Carter and Olwen Fouéré, the evening not only sheds new and revealing light on Beckett’s career, but it is a hilarious chronicle of a friendship between like-minded modernist iconoclasts. Passages are drawn from the 2017 Dear Mr. Beckett: Letters from the Publisher from Opus. At The Irish Consulate, 345 Park Avenue (between 50th & 51st Streets), Monday January 29 at 1 PM.
In all seven productions, and nine special events will seen in competition during the three-week Festival, which concludes at the Origin’s 1st Irish Awards Ceremony on Monday January 29 at 7 PM at a venue to be announced.
Support for Origin’s 1st Irish Festival in 2018 is generously provided by Lead Sponsors: Mutual of America and McVicker & Higginbotham; Presenting Partners: Bank of Ireland, Goldman Sachs, The Ireland Funds, the Irish Consulate and the Northern Ireland Bureau; and Title Sponsors: Tourism Ireland; Culture Ireland, NY State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the NY State Legislature, public funds from NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and our individual patrons.
Under the artistic direction of George C. Heslin and now in its 15th season, Origin Theatre Company is the city’s only theatre company devoted to presenting the American premieres of impactful plays by diverse contemporary writers from Europe, in new productions with New York-based artists.
Since its founding in 2002, Origin has introduced works by 162 playwrights to US audiences, from such countries as the Netherlands, Sweden, Romania, Macedonia, Norway, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Origin also organizes symposia to explore cultural trends in different cities and communities across Europe.
For Festival details visit www.origintheatre.org