The Train at the Abbey Theatre and The MAC
Rough Magic Theatre Company’s musical The Train premiered in Ireland in 2015 with successful seasons in Limerick and at Dublin Theatre Festival, and in April this year the production will be seen on the main stage of the Abbey Theatre and at The MAC Belfast.
The show is directed by Lynne Parker, with book and lyrics by Arthur Riordan (‘Improbable Frequency’) and music composed by Bill Whelan (‘Riverdance’), The nine-strong cast includes Lisa Lambe, Clare Barrett, Kate Gilmore, Danielle Galligan, Sophie Jo Wasson, Darragh Kelly, Louis Lovett and Karen McCartney.
In an environment where gender equality in theatre has never been more pertinent, The Train is a fictional celebration of actual events surrounding the legendary Contraceptive Train, the remarkable media coup orchestrated by the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement in 1971 that changed the social landscape of Ireland.
Determined to challenge the restrictive laws of the Irish State, a group of 47 trailblazing women take a train to Belfast and return to Dublin with forbidden contraceptives.
“We wanted to start our first season on the Abbey stage by inviting in Irish artists, companies and shows we have long admired,” said Neil Murray and Graham McLaren, Directors of the Abbey Theatre. “From a revolutionary stance 45 years ago, this story still has an amazing urgency and potency in the context of issues still affecting today. If you haven’t seen Rough Magic’s The Train yet, you should, and if you have seen it you should see it again.”
A short journey which marked the beginning of a modern odyssey, this watershed moment in Irish social and political life is joyously captured by Arthur Riordan’s wit and Bill Whelan’s dynamic score.
What the critics said about The Train during the World Premiere Season at Dublin Theatre Festival 2015:
“When musical theatre hits the emotional hot spot, it has arrived at its destination. The whole show is a triumph.” Irish Independent
“Directed with precision by Lynne Parker, it’s a ball of energy, the pace enhanced by a quintet of live musicians… this kinetic production reminds us how far women have come.” The Irish Times
“An Arthur Riordan musical has become something to look forward to in Irish theatre; and when his book and lyrics are teamed with music composed by Bill Whelan, it can be expected to be a winning combination… it’s a terrific show.” Sunday Independent