Today, 27 October 2020, the Directors of the Abbey Theatre, Graham McLaren and Neil Murray, announced updates to the planned programme for October – December 2020.

See below for individual updates to the production schedule, including a change of performance dates for the highly anticipated binaural production of Dracula, which will move into early 2021.

Also announced today is Engine Room – an investment in the development of 35 theatre projects over the next 12 weeks that will support the work of over 190 theatre-makers.

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

In the theatre community we physically come together to create and share our work. The necessary preventative measures, in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, have, certainly, hindered this process at the Abbey Theatre, but we have used all our powers to  find ways to create opportunities to hear and share Ireland’s artistic voice. 

Over the last 8 months, our programme and productions have been reinvented, revised and rethought… and then revised again. To stay true to our core function of bringing the work of Ireland’s artists to the Nation, we have had to remain nimble. We have asked a lot of our colleagues at the Abbey and the artists we have worked with, and of our collaborators, partners, funders and supporters. We are so grateful to them for rising to each bespoke occasion with patience and passion. All understood the pursuit of getting these productions seen – either in person or online by Irish communities both at home and across the world. 

Theatre is nothing without an audience. We could scarcely have imagined the beauty that the 30+ artists brought to life for small groups of socially-distanced live audiences with our recent production of The Great Hunger outdoors in the grounds of IMMA. Or that over 235,000 tuned in to watch Ireland’s national theatre from their homes this year. As we head into the colder, winter months, with the country currently in Level 5 restrictions, we, again, must shift and change a little from our original plan, to ensure that as many people as possible get an opportunity to experience these productions.

Graham McLaren and Neil Murray on Engine Room 

As Directors of the Abbey Theatre, we conceived and created Engine Room to provide opportunities to theatre-makers throughout Ireland, in these most uncertain times. We believe that without a healthy freelance community of artists, Irish theatre, and Ireland itself will take much longer to recover from this global pandemic. We remain very proud of how the Abbey has met the many challenges of 2020, and we will, now, continue to fight to bring the work of your national theatre to you, in person and online.

More details on Engine Room will be announced in the coming weeks and months.


Dear Ireland 3 

Dear Ireland will continue with a series of three minute postcards from underrepresented voices in Irish society.  Featuring will be a number of the Abbey’s previous 5×5 partners, along with pieces from other collaborators the Abbey has been forging relationships with, some of whom have been the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. This evening of songs, stories and poems will try to make sense of the world around us. Streaming dates for Dear Ireland 3 will be announced in the coming weeks.

Theatre for One 

This production will remain on pause. With performances due to begin on 28 September, Covid-19 restrictions meant we needed to postpone Theatre For One. This production was sold out and all original bookings will have been carried forward, with a hope to stage this production once restrictions allow.

From Eden/Northern Lights 

As these productions were due to be part of a multi-venue tour, the cancellation of the tour has had a domino effect meaning that From Eden/ Northern Lights can no longer go ahead at the Abbey Theatre. All ticket holders will be contacted by our box office team in the coming days.

14 Voices from the Bloodied Field 

As these performances are due to take place indoors in GAA clubs and other venues nationwide and due to the time sensitive nature of the commemorations, the 14 short plays will be streamed online instead. More details will be announced in the next few weeks.


We want this terrifying, sensory production to happen as we had originally intended, with a live socially distanced audience, blindfolded in the Abbey auditorium. Where some productions in our programme can be adapted for online, Dracula would not be possible with Level 5 restrictions in place. With understandable uncertainty over what is to come over the next few weeks, we have decided to postpone. Dracula will now go ahead from 15 February to 28 March 2021. All bookings will be carried forward to the new dates and ticket holders will be contacted by our box office in the coming days. Tickets will be on sale soon.

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