Landmark year for Lughnasa

Lyric Theatre's new production of Dancing at Lughnasa comes to An Grianan, Letterkenny this week as part of the first ever Lughnasa International Friel Festival.
Lyric Theatre's new production of Dancing at Lughnasa comes to An Grianan, Letterkenny this week as part of the first ever Lughnasa International Friel Festival.

Brian Friel’s masterpiece, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’, has opened at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast and will run until September 27.

Winner of an Olivier and a Tony award for Best Play, this 25th anniversary tour of Dancing at Lughnasa, is produced by the Lyric in association with the Lughnasa International Friel Festival.

The production stars Charlie Bonner, Declan Conlon, Catherine Cusack, Vanessa Emme, Cara Kelly, Catherine McCormack, Mary Murray and Matt Tait.

It is the first time that a major production in Ireland of this story of five sisters in 1930s Donegal will have been directed by a woman: award-winning Annabelle Comyn.

The play is set during the Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasadh in 1936, and tells the story of the Mundy sisters and their brother Jack, who has returned home from the missions after 25 years away.

The story is told by the sisters’ nephew, Michael, who recalls the summer spent with his aunts when he was seven years old.

As August gives way to September, Michael recounts his memory of childhood in his native Ballybeg, where his aunts raised him in their crumbling, rural home and where once they danced. A wild, raucous dance. A dance to the exciting, fleeting melody of the past and a dance against the harsh, progressive beat of the present.

Executive producer Jimmy Fay said: “Dancing at Lughnasa is one of the greatest Irish plays ever written, and we’re delighted to be producing it in association with the Lughnasa International Friel Festival.”

For more information on the festival, go to www.lughnasainternationalfrielfestival.com

Tickets are available from the Lyric box office online at www.lyrictheatre.co.uk or by phoning (028) 90 38 1081.