A century ago, Ireland was reborn in the fires of rebellion and war. The playwright Sean O’Casey bore witness to these seismic events and dramatised them as the Dublin Trilogy, three great works of Irish theatre, full of history, humanity and humour – The Plough and the Stars, The Shadow of a Gunman and Juno and the Paycock.
100 years later, Druid will weave O’Casey’s three plays into an epic theatrical event of conflict, national identity and the human toll of war, DruidO’Casey, Druid’s most ambitious production yet and one of the greatest Irish stories ever told.
Audiences will experience O’Casey’s work like never before: directed by Tony Award winner Garry Hynes, the three plays will be performed together in one day, drawing parallels between an Irish past and an international present. A limited number of single-play performances will also take place.
DruidO’Casey begins with The Plough and the Stars, the story of newlyweds Jack and Nora Clitheroe living in a city on the brink of rebellion in 1916. In The Shadow of a Gunman, Donal Davoren, Seumas Shields and Minnie Powell find themselves tragically tangled up in the Irish War of Independence. The saga ends with Juno and the Paycock and the Boyle family who see their fortunes dashed amidst the upheaval of the Irish Civil War.
The world premiere of DruidO’Casey will take place at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway this July as part of Galway International Arts Festival. It will then travel to the Lyric Theatre in Belfast and the Abbey Theatre.
Garry Hynes, Artistic Director of Druid: ‘It has been a long-held ambition to combine these three incredible plays into one theatrical saga, and to celebrate O’Casey as one of Ireland’s greatest playwrights, deftly matching the tragedy of these events with the comedy and wit of his characters. Ahead of this mammoth undertaking, I wish to pay tribute to the legion of people who will make this all happen: the Druid Staff, Board and Ensemble; the dozens of freelance theatre artists and practitioners; our partner festivals and venues; and our funders and supporters including the Arts Council, Culture Ireland, University of Galway, Galway City Council, our great friend Paul Boskind, and production sponsor Smurfit Kappa.
Caitríona McLaughlin and Mark O’Brien, Co-Directors of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin: ‘Sean O’Casey was a fighter; he fought for his beliefs with his art. We at the Abbey Theatre believe in the power of our artists to change the world we live in. Presenting DruidO’Casey here is an opportunity to reflect on that power and for our audiences to witness both great art and the ideas that changed Dublin 100 years ago; ideas that are suddenly urgent and relevant again today. We couldn’t be more excited to have this work of scale and ambition on our stage and to welcome Druid back into the building with this epic undertaking.’
Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast: ‘We are grateful that Druid has weaved together this fantastic trilogy of Sean O’Casey’s work. We can’t wait to share the amazing works of one of Ireland’s foremost playwrights, who has a long and rich history with the Lyric Theatre, with our audiences; and look forward to celebrating with them in this extraordinary concept by one of the best theatre companies in the world.’
For more information, visit www.druid.ie.
DruidO’Casey will be presented at the Abbey Theatre from Saturday, 26th August – Saturday, 16th September. Booking is via the Abbey Theatre Box Office.