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The Show You Should Make Time For At This Year's Dublin Theatre Festival

One of the highlights of this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival is a major co-production between DTF and the Lyric Theatre of Synge’s classic.

A fully female creative team will be at the helm for a new production of John Millington Synge's The Playboy of The Western World this September. 

This new production, directed by Oonagh Murphy (Tribes, Shelter) invites audiences who are familiar with the play to take a fresh look at an Irish classic, while also introducing it to a whole new generation.  

Murphy leads a fully female creative team; set and costume Molly O’Cathain, lighting design Amy Mae, composer and sound design Jane Deasy and movement director Paula O’Reilly.  

Regarded by many as Synge’s greatest masterpiece, The Playboy of the Western World is one of the most iconic plays of the Irish theatre cannon.

Met with controversy when it was first staged at the Abbey Theatre in 1907, this brutally hilarious play is about life on the margins and the lengths we go to, to create a reality more exciting than the place we find ourselves.

The new adaptation of the widely revered classic will take into consideration the political and economic advances made since the show's first outing, yet how similarly the social struggles still remain, director Oonagh Murphy tells Irish Tatler.

"Playboy is a play written by an Anglo-Irish playwright, about the Irish working class, in 1904, when Ireland was still under British rule.

"It’s a fascinating story to return to as we live through this current moment in Anglo-Irish relations, and explore what it means for a contemporary audience in both Dublin and Belfast.

"We’re delving into the themes of loneliness, and the disenfranchisement that comes from growing up away from the axis of power, in the middle of nowhere, with no money and no sense of the possibility of a different life.

"That’s the case for Pegeen, the lead character, who, as a young woman, navigating a patriarchal world, feels just as real in this moment of history as she did 100 years ago."

The impressive cast includes:

  • Eloïse Stevenson as Pegeen Mike
  • Michael Shea as Christy Mahon
  • Tony Flynn as Jimmy Farrell
  • Michael Condron as Shawn Keogh
  • Charlie Bonner as Michael James Flaherty
  • Joe Connelly as Philly Cullen
  • Holly Hannaway as Susan Brady
  • Meghan McDonnell as Sara Tansey
  • Hazel Clifford as Honor Blake
  • Aoibheann McCann as Widow Quinn 
  • and Frankie McCaffery as Old Mahon

Opening at the Gaiety Theatre on Wednesday 25 September, this production will preview on 24 September and run until 5 October only.  

Tickets from €11 are on sale here

The production previews at Marketplace Armagh on 19 and 20 September and after the Dublin run will transfer to the Lyric Theatre, Belfast from 8 October – 2 November. 

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