General, Funding, Organisations

NI Theatre Company Cahoots brings latest production to New York

12th October, 2023

Northern Ireland theatre company Cahoots is preparing this week to take a ‘mammoth’ step as its stunning original production, ‘The Vanishing Elephant,’ will be presented by The New Victory Theater at Stage 42 in New York City. The company, which specialises in creating magical theatre for young audiences, is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through National Lottery funds.

A young man is seen arms outstretched towards an elephant, exiting a large wooden crate. The elephant is a large scale puppet. Puppeteers can be seen below the elephant.
The Vanishing Elephant, Cahoots

The play is inspired by the famous ‘vanishing elephant’ trick performed by Harry Houdini in New York in 1918. This moving story of friendship and what it means to be ‘home,’ reflects on topics of migration, displacement, new beginnings and acceptance - all told through the eyes of an astonishing Asian elephant.

Featuring a cast of nine talented actors from India, America, Austria, the UK and Ireland, The Vanishing Elephant is opening in the city that inspired its story, with performances running between 14 - 29 October. Due to necessary renovations at the historic New Victory Theater, New York City's premier performing arts venue devoted to children and families, the production of ‘The Vanishing Elephant,’ will be presented at Stage 42 (422 W. 42nd Street).

The Vanishing Elephant is Cahoots’ most ambitious production to date. Using striking life-size puppetry, original music, authentic dance and magical illusion, audiences are invited to think about the challenging issues impacting children and their families around the globe.

Opu, a young boy in Bengal, dreams of one day becoming an elephant trainer. When he befriends Jenny, an Asian elephant, their friendship is the first step on an adventure so huge, it spans decades and continents. On their separate paths they face many challenges - fearsome encounters and strange new worlds.

Years in the future, Opu, now an old man, hears that world famous magician Harry Houdini will vanish an elephant, live on stage in New York City. Could it really be Jenny, Opu’s old friend, so far from home? He too must bravely make the long journey into the unknown to find out.

The Vanishing Elephant is written by Charles Way and directed by Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney with music from Aoife Kavanagh and MD Pallavi, choreography from Jayachandran Palazhy and animal puppetry from Helen Foan of Foan & Fortune Theatre Company.

Cahoots’ Artistic Director Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney said:

“Bringing this new piece of theatre to the boards of the New Victory Theater in New York is a very special moment and one of which we are incredibly proud.”

“The Vanishing Elephant has been in the works for several years so breathing life into its characters on stage in New York, the city that inspired the story, is wonderful. There are so many elements of this show that audiences of all ages will connect with - live music, incredible puppetry and a global, beautiful story.

“Its messaging of tolerance, acceptance, kindness and friendship is perhaps more relevant than ever. We are lucky to be working with such a talented line-up of performers, crew and creatives that will make this piece a true stand-out.”

The Vanishing Elephant opens in New York October 14th, 2023

The Vanishing Elephant is supported by Culture Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and presented in partnership with Belfast International Arts Festival with support from British Council NI.

Sharon Barry, Director, Culture Ireland, commented:

"For many years, Cahoots has presented work for young audiences across North America with Culture Ireland touring grants. To perform at the New Victory is an acknowledgement of their success and impact and we're very pleased to continue our support for these performances."

Alison McCrudden, Head of Literature and Drama, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added:

 “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support Cahoots, thanks to The National Lottery Players. This critically acclaimed, award-winning company creates the most imaginative, magical and inspiring theatre for children and young people, and I am thrilled to see them return to New York to present their wonderful production, The Vanishing Elephant, this October. Congratulations to all involved.”

Cahoots is the leading professional theatre company producing work for children in Ireland. Since beginning operations in 2001, Cahoots has produced original, critically acclaimed work for children including, ‘When We Were Wild’, Cinderella : The Midnight Princess’, ‘The Ghost House’, ‘The Grimm Hotel’, ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’, ‘Secrets of Space’, ‘Shh! We have a Plan’, ‘The University of Wonder and Imagination’, ‘Penguins’ and ‘Egg’ with many shows having toured internationally including China and the USA.

For more information visit or follow Cahoots on social media.

@CahootsNI (Facebook/X) and @cahoots_ni (Instagram)


For further information contact

Notes to Editor

Members of the Cahoots team are available for interviews by telephone or Zoom.

About Cahoots

Since its inception in 2001, Cahoots has produced original, innovative work for children, some staged in conventional theatre venues and some in purpose-designed sites or specific locations, including schools and healthcare settings. Its work concentrates on combining the visual potential of theatre with the age-old popularity of magic and illusion.

Cahoots was named ‘Arts Organisation of the Year’ at the Arts & Business NI Awards 2021 in recognition of its outstanding and innovative work of connecting audiences to theatre throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

About New Victory Theater

The New Victory opens new worlds to young people and families through extraordinary performances, education and engagement programs. Bringing kids to the arts and the arts to kids since 1995, this nonprofit theater has become a standard-bearer of quality performing arts for young audiences in the United States. Reflecting and serving the multicultural city it calls home, The New Victory is committed to arts access for all communities of New York to experience and engage with the exemplary international shows on its stages. A global leader in arts education, youth development and audience engagement, the New Victory Theater has been honored by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, by Americans for the Arts with a national Arts Education Award, and by the Drama Desk for "providing enchanting, sophisticated children's theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in young people."

About New 42

Under the leadership of President & CEO Russell Granet, New 42 is a cultural nonprofit whose mission is to make extraordinary performing arts a vital part of everyone’s life from the earliest years onward. Driven by a deep commitment to performing arts access, New 42 connects people to world-class performances, essential education and employment programs, and creative communities that push culture forward. Through New Victory and New 42 Studios, the nonprofit serves artists, educators and New Yorkers of all ages with invaluable arts engagement and resources in and beyond the performing arts. Together with our supporters, New 42 opens new perspectives, incubates new works and creates new opportunities to move us all.