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Straymaker presents


Town Hall Theatre

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Following its hugely successful run on the Abbey Theatre stage in 2021, this bold new opera by Michael Gallen, based on the true story of the radical “Monaghan Asylum Soviet” of 1919”, is coming to the Town Hall Theatre. Highlighted as one of the Irish Times’s Best of 2021, Elsewhere was also nominated for two Irish Times Theatre Awards, including Best Opera. We’re very excited to bring this “extraordinary, shocking, funny, and, ultimately, moving piece of contemporary theatre” to audiences in Dublin, Monaghan, Galway and Cork this spring.

In 1919, the staff of the Monaghan Asylum barricaded the hospital gates and declared themselves an independent Soviet commune. Their strike brought asylum workers and patients together in collective action, presenting a revolutionary vision of what a care-centred society could look like.

The moment of the Soviet is in constellation with our own, occurring during the 1918 Flu pandemic, and at a time when social and geographical borders were being redrawn. Marked by death and hardship, the strikers overcame sectarian divides to demand humane conditions and equal pay for women and men.


In Elsewhere, these events unfold through the visions of Celine, a patient who decades later remains ‘locked in’ to the moment of the Soviet, believing herself to be its leader. Through her interactions with the charismatic ‘Inspector of Lunatics’ we tread the borders between fantasy and incarceration.

Drawing upon the hum of murmured rosaries, the eccentric lilt of the border dialect and the glitched ornamentation of Oriel sean nós song, Elsewhere’s score melds a delicate, introspective complexity with the raucous energy of revolt.

The libretto is co-written by Michael Gallen with poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin and playwright Carys D Coburn, and the production brings together a team of renowned Irish artists and rising international stars led by director Tom Creed and conductor Fiona Monbet. Singers and instrumentalists play a range of characters from patients and strikers to Marx and Jehovah, shape-shifting between work routines, football matches, negotiations, dances - in a dynamic that is both playful and uncanny. Over time we discover how Celine’s fate and that of the Soviet are entwined.

Dealing with themes of freedom, care and mental illness, Elsewhere explores the imagined future of a forgotten past.

"...riotous carnival dreams, musical warmth and incidental truths...this is a show that needs to be seen and heard–and more than once. It deserves to run and run." ***** GoldenPlec

"Elsewhere is an extraordinary, shocking, funny, and, ultimately, moving piece of contemporary theatre." The Irish Times - "Best of 2021"

"...a wildly engaging experience...sensitively and beautifully crafted. A cacophony of delight that is fun, thought provoking, and often moving." **** The Arts Review

Creative Team
Concept/Composer: Michael Gallen
Libretto: Michael Gallen, Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Carys D Coburn
Director: Tom Creed
Conductor: Fiona Monbet
Vocal Director: Romain Louveau
Choreographer: Shawn Ahern
Set & Costume Designer: Katie Davenport
Lighting Designer: Sinead McKenna
Video Designer: Luca Trufarelli
Associate Director: Eoghan Carrick
Associate Set & Costume Designer: Laura Fajardo Castro
Associate Lighting Designer: Matt Burke
Producers: Maura O’Keeffe and Cally Shine

Singers: Daire Halpin, Fearghal Curtis, Adrian Dwyer,Carolyn Holt, Amy Ní Fhearraigh, Aaron O'Hare, and Sarah Shine

Ensemble Miroirs Étendus: Aurélie Martin, Constant Madon, Cyprien Noisette, Elsa Moatti, Julia Macarez, Sarah Margaine, Michèle Pierre, Amélie Potier, Sarah Van der Vlist, Romain Louveau

Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, Creative Monaghan, L’Institut Français Paris and La Région Hauts-de-France and supported by Monaghan Arts Office, Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris. With the support of l’Institut français à Paris et la Métropole Européenne de Lille.

Duration: 70 mins (no interval)