The Plough and the Stars 2016

The Plough and the Stars 2016

  • From Wednesday, 9 March 2016
  • To Saturday, 23 April 2016
  • Showing on Abbey stage
  • Running time: 2 hours and 30 mins (approx) including a 20 minute interval

The Plough and the Stars 2016

Olivier Award-winning director Sean Holmes will bring a new perspective to Sean O’Casey’s absorbing play.

‘Th’ time is rotten ripe for revolution’

Set amid the tumult of the Easter Rising, The Plough and the Stars is the story of ordinary lives ripped apart by the idealism of the time.

The residents of a Dublin tenement shelter from the violence that sweeps through the city’s streets. A revolution that will shape the country’s future rages around them. What kind of Ireland awaits them?

The Plough and the Stars was first performed at the Abbey Theatre in 1926. The audience rioted. Now regarded as a masterpiece, this provocative play is an essential part of our understanding of 1916.

Olivier Award-winning director Sean Holmes will bring a new perspective to Sean O’Casey’s absorbing play. The Plough and the Stars is one of the highlights of our centenary programme with performances coinciding with Easter 2016.

Booking details for The Plough and the Stars

9 March – 23 April
Previews 9 – 14 March
on the Abbey stage

Times: Mon – Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Wed & Sat 2pm
Tickets: €13 – €45 / €13 – €23 Conc.

Sign language interpreted performance: Thursday 14 April, 7.30pm
Audio-described and captioned performance: Saturday 16 April, 2pm

Proudly sponsored by

The Plough and the Stars is now sold out. A waiting list for returns/cancellations is in place at our Box Office from 6.30pm each evening. You will need to be there in person to put your name down on this list. Contact 01 8787222 for more information.


Book for The Plough and the Stars and receive a €5 discount on your tickets for Tina’s Idea of Fun or Town is Dead. Book for Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme and receive a €5 discount on your tickets for Cyprus Avenue.

Tickets must be purchased at the same time. Subject to availability.


Following performances at the Abbey Theatre, The Plough and the Stars will embark on a tour of Ireland and North America.


Cork Opera House - Tuesday 26 – Saturday 30 April
(Audio-described and captioned performance Thursday 28 April)

The National Opera House, Wexford – Wednesday 4 – Saturday 7 May
(Audio-described and captioned performance Thursday 5 May)

Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick – Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 May
(Audio-described and captioned performance Thursday 12 May)

Town Hall Theatre, Galway - Tuesday 24 – Saturday 28 May
(Audio-described and captioned performance Thursday 26 May)

In association with Cusack Projects Limited

IRELAND 100: Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts and Culture at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC
American Repertory Theater, Harvard University, Massachusetts
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, University of Pennsylvania
Peak Performances at Montclair State University, New Jersey
Southern Theatre, Columbus, Ohio presented by CAPA and The Ohio State University

Supported by

Meet the Makers: Sean Holmes

In this podcast Sean Holmes Director of The Plough and the Stars talks about arguing with Ireland, the outsiders eye and hearing meaning for the first time. He talks about the prevalence of homelessness, the anger of O’Casey and asks who is Irish and where does that leave us?

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Reviews: What you said

See all (25) reviews

* * * * *

Excellent adaptation of this classic. I loved the crossover modern-ish take. The actors were excellent. Heartily recommended.

* *

I just about got the last tickets available for the Plough & the stars for last night 15th April.  I was delighted, as I have seen this play before and decided to book for my family including my 15 year son, as an introduction to a Sean O’Casey play and the Abbey Theatre as he would prefer to play the PS on a Friday night. He was so confused on the way home in the taxi as to why a little girl was dancing around to U2 in a Manchester united jersey, playing a DS, helicopter sounds, remote controls and asked me what was all that got to do with 1916. The set was dreadful and I just couldn’t capture the feeling of 1916. I was so disappointed with the whole production, the acting was brilliant, but instead of inspiring my son to go and see another Sean O’Casey play and visit the Abbey again it has done the opposite !  Unfortunately I didn’t know about this modern twist when I booked the tickets.  So disappointed.


What a shame that someone thought they had the right or indeed the talent, to change O’Casey’s wonderful classic
.What made the Abbey think that it was appropriate in 2016 to “interpret” one of Irish Theatre’s best plays
I was hugely disappointed
This production should not be advertised as The Plough and The Stars or at least warn people that it is not the O’Casey version.

* * * * *

I checked these reviews a week before actually seeing this production and was so dismayed at the prospect of a Plough & Stars that would be different to the period piece Plough and Stars I anticipated that I expressed my feelings in an indignant preview (above).
How wrong I was!  This is a superb production - brilliant in every aspect, from its clever, intelligent reading of the text to the inspired performances of the actors. I am blown away. I laughed and I wept and left the theatre conscious of having been in the presence of greatness.
This is one of best theatre productions I have ever experienced.

* * * * *

The last time I saw this play was around my leaving cert, a version that recreated the era of 1916 dutifully-In that staging I could appreciate O’Casey’s words but felt disconnected to the events onstage-like viewing old photographs of historic events there was a sense of ‘that was then’-Having worked in inner-city Dublin for years, this physically updated production keeps O’Casey’s words but updates the staging to the poverty of today & connected with me in a way that the previous ‘faithful’ version did not-showing the impact of war on modern day ‘ordinary’ Irish civilians that I could recognise-all in poverty, many abusing alcohol, how they were caught up in the formation of our country. O’Casey’s words & his characters’ complexity & bravery shine irrespective of the staging–I rarely have been moved to stand up & applaud a play but last Saturday I was that person- My congratulations to the director, cast & crew. “Dead things are living”.

* * * * *

It looks like I may be in a minority but I really enjoyed this. As with Shakespeare, good plays transcend time. The message holds whatever the era. O Casey was not just writing a historical documentary. This is a complex social commentary and the messages are just as true today as they were then. Well done.

Absolutely brilliant.  Acting amazing.  All the main characters were really great. Particularly Mahnoor Saad as Mollser. A real find.

* *

Awful..didn’t work for me at all. Couldn’t fault the acting but the modern twist on this play was dreadful...television, helicopters,Man United jersey,etc in this O’Casey classic. Also the stage set was like something put together at the last minute. Very disappointing.


This was a truly awful production and Sean O’Casey must be spinning in his grave.  This is not a play to be modernised.  The acting was lacklustre and its only saving grace was Eileen Walsh.  This play is supposed to show the poverty and hardship of life of tenement Dublin in the run up to the rising but this production with its sound effects (helicopter, tv football broadcast), blaring pop music (really, must bono be injected into everything?) has turned a masterpiece into a musical/comedy.  If that is what I wanted I would have stuck on Seven Brides For Seven Brothers!  Where else would the death of a consumptive child or the shooting of a woman by a sniper be received with laughter.  Thank you for ruining my favourite play!

* *

Plough and the stars with a modern music and chrome scaffolding to represent a tenement building. Sparce backdrops (Chair and a wardrobe) that did nothing to capture the atmosphere of the time. If you’re looking for an experience to draw you back in time this is not for you. Very disappointed as were a lot of members of the audience.

Have your say

Reviews: What the critics said

See all reviews

refreshed, high-energy restaging

* * * *

Helen Meany, The Guardian

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