Druid Theatre Company has announced full details of one of its most ambitious undertakings, DruidShakespeare, a challenging but fitting project to mark the company’s fortieth anniversary year. Druid will be taking the tour to Skibbereen Town Hall on June 29-30.
An epic story of families and wars and the making of nations, DruidShakespeare is an exploration of English history through an Irish lens. “The question we are asking is how, in the context of the historical relationship between Ireland and England, do we as Irish artists produce these plays today?” says Druid Artistic Director Garry Hynes.
With an ensemble cast of thirteen actors this major new theatre-event will premiere in Druid’s home, The Mick Lally Theatre in Galway, before embarking on an extensive Irish tour to Letterkenny, Sligo, Castlebar, Limerick, Skibbereen and will premiere internationally in New York at the prestigious 2015 Lincoln Center Festival. In August, Kilkenny Arts Festival in association with Druid will present a site-specific production of the plays in the castle yard where Richard II stayed when fighting his ‘Irish wars’.
Directed by Tony-award winner Garry Hynes, Mark O’Rowe’s new pared down version of Shakespeare’s four history plays, the key foundational narrative of the English monarchy —Richard II, Henry IV (Pts. 1 and 2), and Henry V, will be presented as an epic theatrical experience, performed by a superlative cast which includes members of the hugely celebrated Druid Ensemble.
“Druid commissioned one of Ireland’s most exciting writers, Mark O’Rowe, to adapt these great plays,” says Ms. Hynes. “This collaboration, along with a cast of Ireland’s finest actors, is a tremendously exciting opportunity. Acting is first and foremost an act of imagination, both on the part of the actors and the audience. That act of imagination transcends nationality, character, geography and background and we see no reason why it shouldn’t transcend gender too. Accordingly, our actors have been cast without regard to their own gender. For example, the three kings – Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V – are played by one male and two female actors. This decision further allows us to look at these plays of war and patriarchy through another lens.”
Tickets for DruidShakespeare can be purchased for all venues via www.druid.ie or by contacting the venue directly. Tickets from €52. See venues for details and promotions. www.druid.ie.