Rough Magic Forty

By Various


Rough Magic celebrated 40 years with a bang!

We hosted a programme of events celebrating 40 years of distinctive, dynamic and eclectic theatre in the Project Arts Centre and The Irish Film Institute over the weekend of 9th and 10th February.

RTÉ Arena (live broadcast)
Friday 9th February, Project Arts Centre 7pm

The weekend kicked off with Sean Rocks hosting a broadcast of RTÉ’s Arena from Project Arts Centre in front of a live audience. Including readings, chats and live music, the programme featured many of the artists who have made Rough Magic a unique, electric and powerful element in Irish theatre over the past 40 years.

The broadcast featured interviews with Declan Hughes, Lynne Parker, Anne Enright, Siobhán Bourke, Eleanor Methven and Owen Roe, and excerpts from plays in the Rough Magic canon, showcasing the sense of fun and scale of ambition that runs through all of our work.

With performances by Colin Campbell, Eavan Gaffney, Emmanuel Okoye, Anne Enright, Eleanor Methven, Owen Roe, Aislín McGuckin, Brian Doherty, Arthur Riordan, Susannah de Wrixon, Cathal Synnott and Ellen Cranitch.

You can listen to the recording of this unforgettable broadcast at this link.

Hecuba – Irish Film Institute
Saturday 10th February, 10.30am

Saturday started with a screening of Hecuba, Rough Magic’s dynamic filmed version of our sell-out hit from the 2019 Dublin Theatre Festival. Hecuba is a passionate reimagining of the aftermath of the Trojan War, written by internationally renowned playwright Marina Carr. Surrounded by the devastation of her city, her husband slain, Hecuba waits in the throne room for the conqueror Agamemnon. She and her daughters now face a future beyond their control, in a history written by the victors.

An outstanding ensemble cast led by Aislín McGuckin, Brian Doherty and Owen Roe offer a series of intense, dangerous, personal encounters and impossible choices in this visceral depiction of the effect of war and its cost to the individual. Filmed in the Project Arts Centre, Hecuba was directed by Lynne Parker, with DOP Colm Hogan and edited by Tony Cranstoun.

Keep an eye on our news page for announcements of when and where you can watch this critically acclaimed film.


The Big Bang
Saturday 10th February, Project Arts Centre 2pm

The anniversary was a chance for us to look back, as well as looking to the future. This round table discussion took a look at the extraordinarily fertile independent theatre scene in the Ireland of the 1980s. The conversation centred around the genesis of an eclectic and dynamic bunch of companies formed at the time across Ireland. These companies, and others, formed a powerhouse of Irish theatre during an unprecedented explosion in independent activity at a time of deep recession.

The panel was chaired by historian Diarmaid Ferriter, and featured Passion Machine’s Paul Mercier, Red Kettle’s Jim Nolan, Charabanc’s Eleanor Methven and Rough Magic Artistic Director Lynne Parker.


Copenhagen Rehearsed Reading
Saturday 10th February, Project Arts Centre 3.30pm

A rehearsed reading of Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen, one of the highlights of the Rough Magic canon. Rough Magic’s Irish premiere of Copenhagen in 2003 received 3 Irish Times Best Actor nominations and a Best Director nomination (Lynne Parker). It won the awards for Best Production and Best Design (John Comiskey). This reading, directed by Lynne Parker, featured all three original cast members: Owen Roe, Ingrid Craigie and Declan Conlon.

COPENHAGEN takes place in the autumn of 1941, at a critical point in World War 2, when German physicist Werner Heisenberg pays a strange visit to his Danish mentor, Niels Bohr. To this day, speculation has raged over precisely what they discussed, for these two former friends were among a handful of scientists around the globe who could unlock the secret of nuclear warfare. In probing the mystery of this meeting, Michael Frayn has created an extraordinary play – gripping, haunting, exhilarating and moving – which asks how we can ever know why we do what we do.

Here Comes Everybody
Saturday 9th February, Project Arts Centre 7pm

Rough Magic are one of Ireland’s leading developers of new writing and emerging playwrights, supporting original and daring new writing through our SEEDS and COMPASS strands.

In this round-table discussion, six playwrights currently developing work with Rough Magic shared insights into the ideas that characterise their work. Featuring both leading and established dramatists and new emerging writers, the panel was chaired by Declan Hughes. The playwrights included Marina Carr, Erica Murray, Hilary Fannin, Shane Mac An Bhaird, Jimmy McAleavey, and Georgina Miller.

A team of Rough Magic actors performed excerpts from three new pieces of writing. These were:

  • The Delirium Archive by Shane Mac an Bhaird
  • Homo Hibernicus by Jimmy McAleavey
  • What Are You Afraid Of? by Peter Hanly

The actors were Colin Campbell, Eavan Gaffney, Eleanor Methven and Emmanuel Okoye.

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