All-star version of The Dead by James Joyce set for the Abbey stage at Christmas

All-star version of The Dead by James Joyce set for the Abbey stage at Christmas

~ Best of writing and acting talent take centre stage at the Abbey in the Great Irish Writers Season ~

James Joyce’s The Dead is set to be performed for the first time on the Abbey stage at Christmas and forms part of the Abbey’s Great Irish Writers Season, announced today, Monday 11 June 2012.

The Dead, Joyce’s famous Dubliner’s short story in a dramatisation by foremost Irish playwright Frank Mc Guinness will feature a stellar cast of Stanley Townsend as Gabriel and Derbhle Crotty as Gretta alongside major Irish actors Lorcan Cranitch, Ingrid Craigie, Rosaleen Linehan, Alison McKenna, Derry Power and Anita Reeves. The Dead will be directed by former Abbey Theatre Artistic Director, Joe Dowling who makes a welcome return to the Abbey and Ireland.

The Abbey’s Great Irish Writers Season (June 2012 – January 2013) features Ireland’s most influential writers James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Sean O’Casey alongside new Irish writing from Owen McCafferty and Gary Duggan, who will both make their Abbey debut.

The next seven months at the Abbey features three world premieres, a national and UK tour of O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, a short play commission series and the best of amateur drama.

Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre said, ‘I’m delighted Joe Dowling is coming back to the Abbey to direct The Dead. It will be a feast for our audiences to see this cast bring this master-piece of a story to life. To have Frank Mc Guinness dramatise Joyce’s work is the union of two great Irish writers across the ages and that is what our next season of plays is all about. I’m proud to present two new plays from Owen McCafferty, an important Irish writer and Garry Duggan who the Abbey first commissioned to write a short play back in 2008. I’m also very proud that many of Ireland’s major actors will return to the Abbey this season.’

‘The Abbey especially commissioned Neil Bartlett, to adapt Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray for the Abbey stage for the Dublin Theatre Festival in a testament to our relationship with this important theatre artist who delighted our audiences with An Ideal Husband in 2008,’ he said.

Joe Dowling, Artistic Director of the Guthrie Theatre said, ‘I am very happy to be coming back to the Abbey and working once again with Frank McGuinness and Fiach MacConghail. Joyce’s story has been a long-time favourite of mine and Frank’s stunning adaptation will lend itself beautifully to the Abbey stage. With the dream team of a cast the Abbey is assembling, this will be a treat to work on’.

New writing

The Abbey is committed to nurturing new Irish writing and presents two new plays back to back on the Peacock stage during October, November and December. Quietly is a powerful story about violence and forgiveness and two men trying to reconcile the past. This World Premiere marks Owen McCafferty’s Abbey debut. Directed by Jimmy Fay and starring Patrick O’Kane, Quietly runs from Tuesday 20 November to Saturday 15 December.

Shibari by Gary Duggan tells the story of six people that are more connected than they think, in a modern day look at life in multi-cultural Dublin. Shibari will be directed by Cork Midsummer Festival Director, Tom Creed in his exciting Abbey debut and set design is from the award-winning Frank Conway. This is Gary Duggan’s first full-length play commissioned by and staged at the Abbey. He was a previous participant on 20: Love, one of the Abbey’s short-play commission series.

In June of this year, the Abbey’s Literary Department presents its fifth short play commission series Into the Woods, with three new plays commissioned by the Abbey. The featured writers are Mark Cantan, Jody O’Neill, a former participant on the Abbey’s New Playwrights Programme and Neil Sharpson, also a former participant on the Abbey’s New Playwrights Programme. The three 20 minute plays will run for two nights on Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 June.

In a continuation of the national theatre’s commitment to supporting the amateur drama movement in Ireland, the Silken Thomas Players, finalists in the RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival 2012 will perform Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth at the Peacock Theatre from Thursday 5 July to Saturday 7 July.

Dublin Theatre Festival shows

For the Dublin Theatre Festival (27 September to 14 October 2012), the Abbey is proud to present a major adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, by the leading director and performer, Neil Bartlett. Especially commissioned for the Abbey stage during the Dublin Theatre Festival, this new staging of Wilde’s black-hearted masterpiece will star Tom Canton as Dorian. A recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, this is an exciting debut of a major new acting talent. The all-star cast also includes Jasper Britton, Aaron Heffernan, Andrew Macklin, Diarmaid Murtagh, Lise Ann McLaughlin, Kate O’Toole, Ali White, Susannah De Wrixon and Bairbre Ní Chaoimh.

During the run of new play Shibari on the Peacock stage during the Dublin Theatre Festival the Abbey will also unveil a work in progress presentation of an Abbey commission entitled Maeve’s House by actor Eamon Morrissey. Written and performed by Eamon Morrissey, the play explores the life and times of Maeve Brennan, the major Irish short story writer. Many of Maeve Brennan’s short stories take place in her childhood home in 48 Cherryfield Avenue, Ranelagh, Dublin where Eamon Morrissey also lived.

To kick off the Great Irish Writers Season, an Irish and UK tour of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars directed by Wayne Jordan, Associate Artist at the Abbey gets underway at the OReilly Theatre, Belvedere from Wednesday August 1st (previews from Thursday 26 July). The Plough and the Stars then embarks on an Irish and UK tour, with support from Culture Ireland for the UK tour.

The Abbey Theatre acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council.

Early bird pricing and Members booking from today Monday 11 June 2012.

General booking from Monday 2 July 2012.

Booking and information on and (01) 8787 222.

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For further information please contact:

Sinead O’Doherty, Gerry Lundberg Public Relations (01) 679 8476 / 086 259 1070



An Abbey Theatre Commission | World Premiere
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde, in an adaptation by Neil Bartlett
Directed by Neil Bartlett
Wednesday 3 October 2012 – Saturday 17 November 2012
Previews: Thursday 27 September 2012 – Tuesday 2 October 2012
On the Abbey stage

The Dead
James Joyce in a dramatisation by Frank McGuinness
Directed by Joe Dowling
Tuesday 11 Dec 2012 – Saturday 19 Jan 2013
Previews: Wednesday 5 Dec 2012 – Monday 10 Dec 2012
On the Abbey stage


The Plough and the Stars
Sean O’Casey
Directed by Wayne Jordan
Wednesday 1 August – Saturday 15 September
Previews: Thursday 26 July – Tuesday 31 July
At the OReilly Theatre, Belvedere, 21 Great Denmark St, Dublin 1


Grand Opera House, Belfast
Tuesday 18 September – Saturday 22 September

An Grianán, Letterkenny
Tuesday 25 September – Saturday 29 September

Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cambridge
Tuesday 2 October – Saturday 6 October

Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham
Tuesday 9 October – Saturday 13 October

Theatre Royal, Bath
Tuesday 16 October – Saturday 20 October

Siamsa Tire, Tralee
Tuesday 23 October – Saturday 27 October

The Lime Tree, Limerick
Tuesday 29 October – Saturday 5 November


Into the Woods
New short plays commissioned by the Abbey Theatre
Mark Cantan, Jody O’Neill, Neil Sharpson
Directed by Oonagh Murphy
25 – 26 June
On the Peacock stage

An Abbey Theatre Commission | World Premiere
Gary Duggan
Directed by Tom Creed
Wednesday 10 October – Saturday 3 November
Previews: Thursday 4 October – Tuesday 9 October
On the Peacock stage

World Premiere
Owen McCafferty
Directed by Jimmy Fay
Tuesday 20 November – Saturday 15 December
Previews: Wednesday 14 November – Monday 19 November
On the Peacock stage

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