Staging Dublin - Dublin Theatre Festival

The city’s stages hold a lot in store for adventurous theatre-goers making their way to the Dublin Theatre Festival, writes Andrew HinesThe Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival began last Thursday (September 29th) and will continue over the next fortnight, with twenty-eight shows running in twenty-five venues until October 16th. This year’s programme promises to be multi-faceted and diverse, showcasing many internationally recognised directing and acting talents with, of course, a predominant Irish emphasis.Loughlin Deegan, in his final year as the festival’s Creative Director, has brought a program that is experimental, thought provoking and lively, as he aims to go out on a high note. “I am very proud to present my fifth and final festival programme which includes a particularly strong Irish programme, alongside many international artists and companies whose work I have been endeavouring to bring to Dublin throughout my time as Artistic Director.”Such international artists include the renowned Dutch director Ivo van Hove, who will present a highly contemporary production of La Voix Humanine, whilst director Lynne Parker will present a new version of Ibsen's Peer Gynt. In the realm of Irish theatre, Garry Hynes will direct Colm Tóibín's Testament. This is the festival’s first new commission in eleven years and will feature the local acting talent of Marie Mullen. The staging of Testament is just one part of a more concerted effort on the part of the festival organisers to encourage and promote Irish theatre.Given the nationalist history of the Abbey Theatre, it should be no surprise that they’re at the forefront of this re-found commitment to Irish drama; their latest production of Juno and the Paycock features an all-Irish cast. Directed by Howard Davies, this is the forty-fifth production of the Sean O’Casey classic at the Abbey and Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey is particularly pleased with the acting talent on show. “I want to welcome Sinéad Cusack and Ciarán Hinds back to the Abbey Theatre. Both are world-class actors and it is a privilege to have them appearing in this production.”In a rather unique move, the festival is presenting seven shows in non-traditional spaces around Dublin.  Organisers feel that “each site-specific production uniquely tells its own story.” Locations vary from a suburban castle to an abandoned guest house in the city centre. So whether you fancy experiencing traditional productions of the works of great Irish dramatists or more modern, experimental fare, you’re sure to see something special.The Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival runs from September 29th to October 16th. For more information see