June marks the anticipated return of critically acclaimed companies who have been absent, some for months, some for over a year.
Brokentalkers, The Corn Exchange and THISISPOPBABY all head south for the Cork Midsummer Festival. Brokentalkers’ The Blue Boy – a piece that uses music and movement to look at the experiences of children incarcerated at Catholic residential care institutions (trailer: http://vimeo.com/21657110) – will be presented as a free-ticketed ‘work-in-progress’ at the Granary Theatre (Jun 24). The full shilling is expected to be staged at the Dublin Theatre Festival in October. The world premiere of Man of Valour (pictured above) – the newest show from The Corn Exchange – stars Paul Reid as an office drone who imagines heroic adventures. Annie Ryan and Michael West also lend their expertise as the company returns to its Commedia dell’Arte foundation in this latest outing. Catch the show at the Everyman Palace (Jun 21-26). THISISPOPBABY bring Neil Watkins’ spirited dynamo The Year of Magical Wanking to the Half Moon Theatre (Jun 23-25). Watkins’ story living as a 33-year-old homosexual with a Jesus complex is a “brave and heartbreaking exploration of porn addiction, destructive sexual behaviour, Catholic guilt, and family heartbreak” (trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKUe2dJiSAM)
The international addition to this year’s Cork Midsummer is Tomorrow, In a Year by Denmark’s Hotel Pro Forma. Described as an “electro-opera” about the world seen through the eyes of Charles Darwin, the show features an original musical score by The Knife. Site-specific productions are on offer by local mavericks Corcadorcha and Hammergrin, while Galwegian puppeteers Brannar bring Clann Lir – a retelling of The Children of Lir – to the Spiegeltent (Jun 18-19). Irish theatre by younger practitioners is endorsed by Solstice – a mini-festival that has taken over a floor of an old FÁS building – the line-up of which includes Wildebeast’s A Different Animal, Spilt Gin’s Taste, Rampant Productions’ Amy, I Want to Make You Hard, Devious Theatre’s Smitten, and Talking Shop Ensemble’s I Am A Homebird (It’s Very Hard).
Also making their return in June is Barabbas, as Raymond Keane’s City of Clowns debuts at Dunamaise Arts Centre Portlaoise (Jun 15) before the clowns take over the Clomnel Junction Festival in July. Over in Limerick’s Belltable we have Seeing and Dreaming by multi-disciplinary entrepreneurs Dog and String (Jun 11) and the aforementioned Clann Lir by Brannar (Jun 16-17). Up at Belfast’s Lyric, Martin Lynch’s Dockers (Jun 12-Jul 10) receives a new production by Andrew Flynn. Lynch’s play about a working class hero’s struggles to bring equality and integrity to the brutal working environment of the Belfast docks was originally staged in 1981, and opened the floodgates for local artists to make theatre.
Also returning to the stage this month is Loose Canon. The Dublin-based group have earned a reputation over the past fifteen years for their radical reworkings of mainly Elizabethan and Jacobean texts. Ever since 2008’s Phaedra’s Love – which won the company ‘Best Production’ at the Irish Times Theatre Awards – and 2009’s combo of Anatomy of a Seagull (Chekov’s Seagull) and Dee Roycroft’s Jesus has My Mom In There And Has Beat Her Up Real Bad, the company has been quiet. However, promotional images of their upcoming A Midsummer Night’s Dream? suggests that they haven’t lost their bold ambition or twisted humour. The show runs at the Project Arts Centre (May 31-Jun 18). Willy Russell’s musical Blood Brothers takes over from The Beauty Queen of Lenanne at the Gaiety (Jun 7-25) while Conall Morrison’s production of Translations comes to the Abbey’s main stage (Jun23-Aug 13) after Pygmalion takes its bow on Jun 11. Original drama Perve continues its run on the Peacock until Jun 25, after which the space will sadly be dormant (nothing is scheduled on the website for the foreseeable future). I’m not sure why the Peacock is closing doors but it has been home to a lot more ambitious and original work than the main stage this past Spring.
A homecoming of sorts will take place in Galway as Druid return from their twenty-one week tour, having been at Roscommon Arts Centre, the Gaiety, and across the U.S.A, now bringing The Cripple of Inishmaan to the Town Hall Theatre (Jun 22-24) before laying the play to rest with a final performance on Inish Meáin on Jun 26 (which is sadly sold out). Also at the Town Hall: Tales From Galway – a devised play celebrating aspects of the people’s history of Galway (Jun 4); Michael Harding’s The Tinker’s Curse (Jun 9-10), and Billy Roche’s boxing drama Lay Me Down Softly (Jun 14-18). Fregoli take to Studio THT with a double bill: a devised piece about three women’s dreams and realities – The Secret Life of Me (Jun 28-July 2); and the Edinburgh-bound Breathing Water by Raymond Scannell (Jun 14-18).
What theatre will you be going to in June?