DUBLIN, 30 September 2021 – Live theatre is back! The Abbey Theatre is delighted to announce its November programme. The final chapter in former Directors Graham McLaren and Neil Murray programme, the Abbey’s line-up for November brings to the stage the return of Jody O’Neill’s  What I Don’t Know about Autism, a new opera by Michael Gallen and an exploration of the Irish canon through a series of plays on podcast. 

What I (Don’t) Know About Autism is a sometimes comic, sometimes heart-breaking look at the world of autism. It uses narrative, song and dance in an exploration of this contentious and often misunderstood subject matter. Inspired by the writer Jody O’Neill’s own experience with autism and performed by a cast of autistic and non-autistic actors, the play celebrates autistic identity whilst offering deeper insight and understanding to non-autistic audiences. The production will, again, be presented for a live audience in a relaxed performance style, with the following access options: 

  • Captioned performances – available for all in person, live-stream and on demand performances 
  • Irish Sign Language interpreted performances – available in-person on 30 October and  4th and 5th November and on demand performances online 
  • Audio described performances – available for in-person on 4th and 5th November and on demand online 
  • British Sign Language interpreted performances – available on demand online 
  • American Sign Language interpreted performances – available on demand online 


November also features the world premiere of Michael Gallen’s opera, Elsewhere. Elsewhere is based on the story of the world’s first Soviet Commune outside the USSR, which existed for eleven days in the lunatic asylum of Monaghan town in Ireland in 1919. Dealing with themes of utopia, fantasy and madness, Elsewhere explores the other worlds that exist at the frontiers of imagination. Working with director Tom Creed and co-librettists Annemarie Ní Churreáin and Dylan Coburn Gray as well as the Paris-based music theatre ensemble Miroirs Étendus, Michael Gallen’s engaging new work won the acclaimed Fedora Opera Prize 2021. 

Engaging with the Irish canon, Unseen Plays, is a project set to captivate the eardrums of audiences. Curated by Professor Chris Morash and presented in audio form, a series of nine plays will be released on a weekly basis from November via the Abbey Theatre Podcast and will be available on Spotify, iTunes and SoundCloud. The Unseen Plays are distinct from radio drama, in that there is no intention to create the full auditory world of the play, with its footsteps and offstage traffic; instead, these performances are presented as readings. The plays presented are listed below: 

  1. The Image by Lady Gregory and The Words Upon the Window Pane by W.B. Yeats, directed by Sarah Jane Scaife 
  2. Light Falling by Teresa Deevy, directed by Caroline Byrne 
  3. Liffey Lane by Maura Laverty, directed by Lelia Doolan 
  4. The Wood of the Whispering by M.J. Molloy, directed by Maisie Lee 
  5. The Evidence I Shall Give by Richard Johnson, directed by Conall Morrison 
  6.   An Triail by Máiréad Ní Ghrada, directed by Darach Ó Tuairisg  
  7. Did You Hear the One About the Irishman? by Christina Reid, directed by Emma Jordan 
  8.   The Pentagonal Dream by Sebastian Barry, created in collaboration with Olwen Fouéré, Roger Doyle and David Heap 

The Abbey Theatre will partner with Dublin Dance Festival again, on three performances taking place in Dublin and Longford in festival’s Winter edition. Junk Ensemble’s The Misunderstanding of Myrra and Liz Roche Company and Crash Ensemble’s Dēmos will take place at the O’Reilly Theatre and Floating on a Dead Sea by Catherine Young Dance will run at the Backstage Theatre in Longford. 

‘We, at the Abbey are delighted to announce our November programme for 2021. It will be a joy to present these productions safely to larger numbers of live audiences in the building, but to also have options in the programme for people to engage with from home,’ said Jen Coppinger, Head of Producing, the Abbey Theatre. ‘These productions and initiatives mark the final contribution of programming from our previous Directors of the Abbey Theatre Graham McLaren and Neil Murray, who finished their tenure in July. We are delighted to present the imaginative and emotive work of these artists on our stages and online.” 

Further details on dates and tickets can be found here.