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Jan 17 2020

All aboard Joanne McNally's Prosecco Express

Comedian brings new show to the Town Hall Theatre for two nights

The World is a confusing place for comedian Joanne McNally. Her friends are getting married, having children, or buying domestic appliances, while her mother is still trying to convince her to give up comedy and study nursing.

The popular Dublin comedian is finding that, in her thirties, she is spending a lot of weekends celebrating other people’s milestones at their garden parties drinking prosecco out of jam jars. She is full of questions, her main one being if she does not have a child, who will be obligated to watch her die so she does not have to do it alone?


Jan 17 2020

The hijacker, the Third Secret of Fatima, and a right Holy Show

Hit comedy play about 1981 Flight 164 hijacking comes to the Town Hall Theatre

In the history of aeroplane hijackings – a common occurrence during the 1970s and early 1980s – few are as bizarre and as eccentric as the hijacking of Aer Lingus Flight 164.

On May 2 1981, the plane was on a flight from Dublin to London with more than 100 passengers on board. As it approached Heathrow, just five minutes before it was to land, a 55-year-old Australian named Laurence James Downey went into the toilet and doused himself in petrol. He then went to the cockpit and demanded the captain divert to Le Touquet – Côte d'Opale Airport in northern France, refuel there, and then fly to Tehran.


Jan 17 2020

Judy Collins - folk legend returns to Galway

She gave Leonard Cohen his start

In 1961, a young singer-songwriter, originally from Seattle, but now part of the thriving folk scene in New York's Greenwich Village, released her debut album, A Maid Of Constant Sorrow.

The singer was Judy Collins. She has since become a legend of American folk music, celebrated for her peerless interpretations and for bringing the songs of Leonard Cohen to the world's attention. She will play the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday January 30 at 8pm.


Jan 16 2020

Engelbert Humperdinck’s greatest hit heads to Galway

Irish National Opera, Theatre Lovett and the Abbey Theatre are collaborating for the first time on an exciting new production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s masterpiece, the compelling three-act opera Hansel and Gretel, reimagined in a mysterious modern setting. One of the greatest operas about children, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel is sweet and beguiling, combining childlike simplicity with heart-aching beauty. Don’t be fooled. This is a story of greed, mouth-wateringly sugar-coated.

This provocative production will be performed in English, with English surtitles, by an Irish cast of six singers and three actors, with an ensemble of seven musicians on stage After six nights at the Abbey Theatre, this new production of the world’s favourite fairytale opera goes on a nationwide tour to nine theatres around the country and will visit Town Hall Theatre Tues 3 March.


Theatre Lovett has been described by The Irish Times “one of the most imaginative and indispensable companies at work today”. Muireann Ahern, who co-directs the opera with Louis Lovett, says “We are thrilled to be sinking our teeth into Humperdinck’s delicious opera. Our penchant is for stage work that appeals to both adult and child. We are looking forward to working with Irish National Opera for the first time, and bringing our cross-generational approach to this operatic party. We will have a fresh slant on the situation of the poverty-stricken family whose children stray into a beguiling culinary underworld.”


Graham McLaren and Neil Murray, Directors of the Abbey Theatre add “Collaboration is a key pillar of our programming – joining forces with talented artists and companies on projects that, we feel, say something about the world we live in and hold a mirror up to Irish society. We are proud to partner with Theatre Lovett and Irish National Opera to bring a fresh, new production of this beloved fairytale and fantastic opera to audiences both here at the Abbey in Dublin and across the country.”


INO Artistic Director Fergus Sheil says, “I really love the work of Theatre Lovett. Both Muireann Ahern and Louis Lovett have a cheekiness and irreverence that guarantees fun, but they also have a serious understanding of how to make their work really connect with audiences. And I have always had a soft spot for Engelbert Humperdinck’s best-known opera, which was praised by some of the great figures of his time, including Richard Strauss, who conducted the first performance, and Gustav Mahler, who conducted it the following year. Hansel and Gretel seemed to me like a perfect vehicle for Muireann and Louis to begin their first operatic exploration.

“We are excited to bring an INO production to the stage of our national theatre for the first time, and with the nationwide tour, the production will have the longest run of any Irish National Opera production to date.”


Hansel and Gretel, with a libretto by the composer's sister Adelheid Wette based on the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale, was an immediate, whirlwind success at its premiere in Weimar in December 1893. A year later it had been produced in 50 theatres in Germany alone, and it quickly made its way to Dublin, where it was produced in August 1895. It's one of the small number of operas that has an enduring appeal for children as well as adults and INO’s new production will be sung in David Pountney's English translation.


Mezzo-soprano Raphaela Mangan, who sings Hansel, says, “A children's story told through opera, what's not to love?” And she describes the role of Hansel as “one of my favourite roles to sing.” Soprano Amy Ní Fhearraigh, the production's Gretel, says “It’s the perfect opera for audiences young and old with its combination of lush but approachable and playful music. And of course, it’s a fairytale story that everyone knows and loves.”

The all-Irish cast also includes Miriam Murphy, who makes her INO stage debut as Mother. Ben McAteer, whose INO debut as the Count in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro was described by Opera Journal as “perfectly measured for technique and character,” sings Father. Cork soprano Emma Nash, praised by the Sunday Independent for her “powerfully soaring Amore” in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for INO, sings the Dew Fairy and Sandman. Carrickfergus mezzo-soprano Carolyn Dobbin makes her INO debut as the Witch.

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