Since its inception in 1957, the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival has not only brought major international artists and companies to the city, but also introduced new Irish plays and productions that have toured the world to acclaim. To be sure, the Festival is a key part of Ireland¹s cultural landscape, and to the extent that Irish theater is internationally prominent, the 18-day event is an ideal destination for devoted theatergoers everywhere.

The 2010 Festival features 363 performances of 31 shows. Among them are several major new Irish productions. Tony Award winner Garry Hynes (Druid will direct Seán O’Casey’s The Silver Tassie for the first time. Rough Magic will present a highly anticipated new version of Phaedra, by Hilary Fannin and Ellen Cranitch, directed by Lynne Parker with live music from some of Ireland’s foremost musicians. Pan Pan will perform the world premiere of the Gavin Quinn-directed The Rehearsal, Playing The Dane, a purgatorial iteration of Shakespeare’s classic. The Gate will present a season of Beckett, Pinter and Mamet; the Abbey will present Frank McGuinness’s new version of Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman, featuring Alan Rickman and Fiona Shaw; and the Peacock will present Carmel Winters’ B for Baby.

Furthermore, in a program called ReViewed, the Festival, in partnership with Culture Ireland and the Irish Theatre Institute, will revive three highly successful Irish productions: Una Santa Oscura (Playgroup and Ian Wilson in association with Project Arts Centre), Act Without Words II (Company SJ) and The Girl Who Forgot To Sing Badly (The Ark in association with Theatre Lovett).

This year’s Festival also features a major showcase, three years in the making, of contemporary Polish work. With significant assistance from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, this segment of the programming includes the great Krystian Lupa, who brings his epic,  7.5-hour production Factory 2, which recreates Andy Warhol’s milieu and legendary loft on Manhattan’s 47th Street. The Polski Teatr portion of the Festival also includes productions from two of Lupa’ss disciples: Grzegorz Jarzyna’s hypnotic and moving T.E.O.R.E.M.A.T., inspired by the Pasolini cult film Teorema, and infant terrible Jan Klata’s anarchic The Danton Case, which adapts a renowned Polish play set in the French Revolution and has won a staggering 25 awards worldwide.

Other international shows include the Festival-opening CIRCA (Australia), a breathtaking new creation using acrobatic circus skills integrated with sound, light and projection; the Olivier Award-winning ENRON (UK), directly on the heels of an extended West End run; L’Effet de Serge (Phillippe Quesne/Vivarium Studio, France), charming, hilarious show about the wonder of the simple things in life; the OBIE award-winning American production No Child inspired by Nilaja Sun’s years as a teaching artist in high schools in the Bronx (Barrow Street Theatre/axis: Ballymun); Diciembre (Teatro en el Blanco, Chile) a politically charged, blackly comic, razor sharp family drama from the new shining light of Latin American theater; and The Wonderful World of Hugh Hughes (Hoipolloi, UK), a trilogy of the joyous emerging Welsh artist’s immensely acclaimed shows Floating, Story of a Rabbit and 360.

In another thematic program, the Festival looks at the changing role of the audience in contemporary theater. The centerpiece of this strand is the Belgian company Ontroerend Goed, who will present three immersive theatrical creations: The Smile Off Your Face, wherein one-by-one, each audience member sits in a wheelchair, puts on a blindfold and indulges in his/her imagination, pleasures and fears; the exceedingly intimate Internal, which is performed to just five people each time; and A Game of You, a new show in which seven strangers promise to spend time with the audience and get to know them better than they know themselves. In addition to the Ontroerend Goed shows, Tim Crouch will return to Dublin with The Author (News from Nowhere/A Royal Court Theatre Production), which is performed within the audience and tells the story of a shocking and abusive other play.

Finally, every year the Festival presents a series of talks and other events to that invite audiences to engage more deeply with the Festival programming. A full program of these events will be announced soon.

Of this year’s programming, Artistic Director Loughlin Deegan said “The Festival is delighted to present a significant program of major Irish and international work this year. The scale of brand new Irish work will undoubtedly prove the wealth of talent and vibrancy in Irish theatre; alongside the world’s biggest, and most ambitious international productions from Olivier Award winning sensations to a showcase of contemporary Polish work never presented in Ireland before.”

For complete information visit http://www.dublintheatrefestival.com

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