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Apr 02 2019

A PLAY FOR IRELAND Winner Announced! 

 A Play For Ireland

After a rewarding 18 month process Fishamble: The New Play Company today announced that the search is over and it has chosen A PLAY FOR IRELAND: The Alternative by Michael Patrick & Oisín Kearney, which will premiere in Dublin Theatre Festival as part of its nationwide tour in association with Draíocht, Everyman, Lime Tree Theatre & Belltable, Lyric Theatre, Pavilion Theatre, Town Hall Theatre in September and October 2019

As part of its 30th year in 2018, Fishamble: The New Play Company set out to find one, big, ambitious play, that bursts with humanity and tackles a subject about which the playwright feels passionate - A PLAY FOR IRELAND that captures the zeitgeist of the country, that demands to be produced. 

Submissions were invited from across Ireland at the start of this two-year process, which encouraged the citizens of Ireland, and non-Irish citizens living on the island of Ireland, to write plays, engaging people aged 18+, from all communities, throughout the country. The initiative has seen Fishamble develop 30 new plays with playwrights throughout the island of Ireland during the first round of this initiative, and later this year will result in the production of one very special new play. 

Today Fishamble announced that after a lot of debate and discussion among themselves and with the partner venues and independent readers, they have chosen THE ALTERNATIVE by Michael Patrick and Oisín Kearney as the Play for Ireland. 

What if Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom? What if Home Rule had passed? What if there was no War of Independence? No Civil War? No partition? What if the island had only one soccer team? 
The year is 2019 and it is the eve of the Referendum. British Prime Minister Ursula Lysaght is returning to her hometown of Dublin to convince voters to Remain. With the threat of chaos in the streets, and personal conflict behind the scenes, the final debate is set to begin at BBC Dublin: Should Ireland leave the UK? 

The Alternative will premiere in the Dublin Theatre Festival as part of its nationwide tour in association with Draíocht, Everyman, Lime Tree Theatre & Belltable, Lyric Theatre, Pavilion Theatre, Town Hall Theatre in September and October 2019. 

“It has been a hugely rewarding experience for Fishamble over the past year-and-a-half to work with playwrights on the development of new plays as part of our Play for Ireland artist development initiative. It has been a pleasure working with the artists involved, and the 6 partner venues throughout the country. It has been such a difficult task to choose just one play to produce on national tour later this year, but we are delighted to have chosen THE ALTERNATIVE by Michael Patrick and Oisín Kearney. This play is such an inventive and ambitious response to the brief, and we feel it will be a hugely engaging, thought-provoking and entertaining experience for our audiences.” 
Jim Culleton, Artistic Director of Fishamble 

“We're absolutely over the moon that our play 'The Alternative' has been selected for A Play for Ireland. It’s an honour to be included in a process with so many talented writers and we’re so grateful to Fishamble and to the Lyric theatre for all of their support. We wanted to write a play that would reflect the tumultuous political climate we are living in, something that would deal with the big questions over the history and future of Ireland and Irish identity through satire, whilst having loads of fun with an alternate world. Hopefully, audiences will enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed writing it!” 
Michael Patrick & Oisín Kearney 

Oisín Kearney (director & writer from Warrenpoint) and Michael Patrick (actor & writer from Belfast) met at the University of Cambridge where they began making theatre together and ran the University's Ireland society. They then formed Pan Narrans Theatre in Belfast. Last year they co-wrote the award-winning My Left Nut, which was developed through the Show in a Bag programme run by Fishamble, The ITI and The Dublin Fringe. Over the past year they've been a part of the BBC Belfast Voices screenwriting scheme, have written for BBC NI's Soft Border Patrol and were shortlisted to write for BBC 3's The Break. 

Oisín directs both theatre and documentary films. He localised Willy Russell's script of Educating Rita to 1980s Belfast for the Lyric Theatre, and was Assistant Director on on the project. He was Assistant Director on the the Lyric’s production of Good Vibrations, and worked closely with Colin Carberry and Glen Patterson on their translation of the story from screen to stage. Oisín has Assistant Produced a number of feature documentaries, and has directed a number of short films. His first feature as Director will premiere on April 28 at Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto. 

As an actor Michael has worked with The Abbey, The Lyric, Tinderbox, NI Opera and appeared on Game of Thrones, Death and Nightingales, Krypton, and Soft Border Patrol. He is currently acting in Taming of the Shrew and Measure for Measure for the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2019 season.