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The Northern Ireland playwrights taking a bite of the Big Apple at Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival

Monday 13th January 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Drama

Pictured (L-R) is Rhiann Jeffrey, Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Council, Gina Donnelly, Sarah Gordon, Finn Kennedy, Clare McMahon. Emily DeDakis, Rebecca Mairs, Lyric Theatre, Benjamin Gould. Image: Pictured (L-R) is Rhiann Jeffrey, Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Council, Gina Donnelly, Sarah Gordon, Finn Kennedy, Clare McMahon. Emily DeDakis, Rebecca Mairs, Lyric Theatre, Benjamin Gould.

The 12th annual Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival in New York will welcome six playwrights and two directors from Northern Ireland to showcase newly commissioned work on an international stage.

The festival, which runs from January 7th to February 3rd 2020, is New York’s only all-Irish performing arts festival and is the world’s only festival dedicated to showcasing the work of contemporary Irish writers.

Five women playwrights based in Northern Ireland - Alice Malseed, Fionnuala Kennedy, Gina Donnelly, Emily DeDakis and Sarah Gordon, have each been commissioned to write short plays about Belfast to be performed at the festival, directed by former Arts Council ACES awardee, Rhiann Jeffrey.

Separately, Clare McMahon’s play, The Gap Year, which was developed in the Lyric Theatre’s New Playwrights Programme, has been programmed for a special rehearsed reading which will be directed by Northern Ireland director, Benjamin Gould.

Alice Malseed, Clare McMahon and Sarah Gordon have each honed their writing talent through the Lyric Theatre’s prestigious New Playwrights Programme, a six-month writing and mentoring development programme aimed at emerging playwrights to create and showcase new work.  This valuable programme has enabled these playwrights to take their ideas from page to stage through the expert guidance of the Lyric Theatre’s Literary Manager, Rebecca Mairs.

Rebecca Mairs, Literary Manager, Lyric Theatre, commented:

“We’re thrilled that this exceptional group of theatre makers have the opportunity to present their work on an international platform – they’re wonderful ambassadors for the wealth of talent, creativity and vitality in Northern Irish theatre today.  This is the third year in a row that the Origin’s 1st Irish Festival are presenting a reading of a play developed though our New Playwrights Programme, and it’s very exciting that a further two previous participants of the programme have been commissioned by the festival this year.  We wish all the writers and directors every success!”

Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Literature and Drama Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, speaking about the valuable opportunity added:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to be supporting some of our best, freshest theatrical talent in presenting their work at Origin’s 1st Irish festival in New York.  In particular, I am thrilled that many of these artists are women. They will superbly represent the formidable pool of female talent, voices and imaginations at work in Northern Irish theatre at present. New York audiences are in for a treat as they experience the specificity and the universality of Belfast writing and directing. We are so proud to be supporting these artists and wish each of them all the best for the festival.”

For more information on the festival visit www.origintheatre.org

For more information on Arts Council travel awards visit www.artscouncil-ni.org/funding

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