The Abbey Theatre’s new 2020 programme is here!

This new lineup boldly meets the challenges of theatre-making during COVID-19, embracing restrictions placed upon artists during the pandemic, and provides our incredible audience with unique, intimate and elemental experiences.

Highlights coming soon include: a ground-breaking, blind-folded production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula; an immersive site-specific telling of Patrick Kavanagh’s epic poem The Great Hunger, in a historic partnership with IMMA; two further instalments of the Abbey’s acclaimed online series, Dear Ireland; a witty exploration of living in COVID-19 times through a Zoom adaptation of the award winning play This Beautiful Village; and a nationwide partnership with the GAA, bringing the stories of 14 victims of tragic violence to life in Fourteen Voices from The Bloodied Field, plus more exciting projects to come.

  • Discover the full programme here.
  • Signup to the Abbey Theatre mailing list here for the latest updates about 2020 productions and on-sale dates. 

A Message from Graham McLaren and Neil Murray, Directors of the Abbey Theatre  

COVID-19 strikes at the very heart of theatre’s foundations  – a collective experience which, typically, has no social distancing, no distance between performers, no distance between the audience members and, in some cases, no distance between audience and performers. Whilst the impact of social distancing has a profound effect on the physical making of theatre, the guidelines also present a creative challenge and, within this challenge, is a space to innovate and experiment with form. The world may be changing but the Abbey’s function must not change. The job is to tell Ireland’s story to Ireland. The way in which we do it may be different, but the end must be the same. We are proud to announce an initial six month programme of new theatre –  for a socially distant audience at our home in Abbey Street, live performance for a live audience in site specific locations across the country and new, digital work for an online audience.

“Continued support from the Arts Council and Irish Government – coupled with a radical programme rethink – has allowed us to retain our core staff and produce a newly imagined programme of work for 2020. Many other theatre organisations find themselves in much deeper peril. In even more dire straits, are individual theatre artists, technicians and practitioners. They are the bedrock of our industry. As Ireland’s national theatre, we must continually seek to create opportunities for Irish artists to create work and connect with audiences. Therefore, one of the guiding principles of this new programme is to employ as many freelance theatre-makers as possible, within the constraints we currently face. We are proud to be one of very few theatres in the world, at this juncture, announcing a newly conceived programme of work, developed almost entirely, during the pandemic.

“We conceived of this bespoke programme to engage and directly employ as many freelance theatre-makers, as possible, affected by COVID-19. Currently, that number stands at 170, (270 including the first iteration of Dear Ireland, which does not count the 67 artists, whose contracts were honoured in full, for postponed and cancelled shows). That does not come close to solving the issues our industry faces. The sector is in crisis and its long-term security urgently needs to be considered by us all. We urge the new Government to build on its commitment of €25M and to seize this moment in our nation’s history to enshrine the value we place on our artists.”


The safety of artists, audiences and staff have been considered paramount in the creation of the new programme. The remainder of 2020 will see the Abbey producing new productions in-house; collaborating with some of Ireland’s most prestigious institutions, IMMA and the GAA on site-specific projects; and continuing to make Ireland’s national theatre open to all, by presenting stories from under-represented communities and original voices. The commitment to new writing will continue with a record number of full length play commissions, helping ensure the future for Irish artists in our forthcoming seasons.

Each project will have a tailored set of safety protocols, based on government guidelines, venue capacity and consideration as to whether the show takes place indoors or outdoors. These will be announced when tickets go on sale.


Tickets for new productions will be available in the coming weeks on the Abbey Theatre’s website, with further programming initiatives to be announced during the year. Signup to the Abbey Theatre mailing list here for the latest updates about 2020 productions.

Our New 2020 Season Programme 

Discover our full programme here.