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RECENT STAGE & SCREEN WORKS

TOSCA

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

GRAND OPERA HOUSE, BELFAST

‘Tosca’ is an operatic thriller set in Rome, taking place over one day, making it one of the most intense and exciting operas ever written. Floria Tosca is a beautiful soprano, deeply in love with painter Mario Cavaradossi. When the corrupt Chief of Police, Baron Scarpia, discovers that Mario has been helping political prisoners escape, he sees a way of forcing Tosca into the ultimate sacrifice to satisfy his lust. Scarpia will entrap her and try to get rid of her lover…  who will survive? Directed and conceptualised by Cameron Menzies, performed with the Ulster Orchestra and the NI Opera Chorus.

An intelligent new production from NI Opera of Puccini's masterpiece is full of vocal intensity

**** Opera Now Magazine

'... an ensemble triumph of virtuosity, passion and vision.'

**** Theatre News

9TH - 16TH SEPTEMBER 2023

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LES NUIT D'ÉTÉ

LYRIC THEATRE, BELFAST

Les Nuits d’Été or Summer Nights is a song cycle in a staged performance by soprano Mary McCabe and pianist Bryan Evans in the Throne Room in Hillsborough Castle, followed by a performance of À Chloris and a selection of mélodies by Reynaldo Hahn.

Hector Berlioz originally wrote Les Nuits d’Été, based around Théophile Gautier’s poems, for a mezzo or tenor and piano, though it is more well known in its orchestral version.  ‘Les Nuits d’Été’ is Berlioz’s only song cycle published as a set.  The songs explore the universal themes of love and loss and will be performed in French.

‘À Chloris’ is a setting of a poem by the French poet Théophile de Viau (1590-1626). Hahn’s song was composed in 1916 and speaks of a shepherdess named Chloris, portraying her as the epitome of beauty and grace. Hahn’s compositional style is often associated with the French mélodie tradition, which emphasizes the fusion of poetry and music: a selection of mélodies will also be performed during this Salon Series event including ‘Si mes vers avaient des ailes‘, ‘L’heure exquise‘, ‘Le Rossignol des lilas‘, ‘L’énamourée‘ and ‘Mai‘.

17TH JUNE 2023

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AGREEMENT

LYRIC THEATRE, BELFAST

The clock is ticking. It’s April 1998 and the main political parties in Northern Ireland, the British Government and the Irish Government, all under the watchful eye of Senator George Mitchell, try to hammer out a deal that could pave the way for peace in Northern Ireland. Every word, every movement, every stare means something. This is the last chance saloon and no one is leaving until Agreement is reached one way or another.

In this major new play, commissioned by MGC (Michael Grandage Company) and by one of our foremost playwrights, Owen McCafferty examines the negotiations leading up to the Good Friday Agreement and weaves real drama out of this complex, momentous and landmark moment for Northern Ireland.

25TH MAR - 22ND APRIL 2023

GOOD VIBRATIONS

CO-PRODUCTION BETWEEN LYRIC THEATRE & GRAND OPERA HOUSE, BELFAST

This is the 1970s Belfast, conflict is shutting down the city. While all Terri's friends take sides and take up arms, he opens a record shop Good Vibrations on ‘the most bombed half-mile in Europe'. Here he discovers a compelling voice of resistance in the city's underground punk scene. Galvanising the young musicians into action, Terri is the unlikely leader of a motley band of kids and punks. Join Terri and the gang on their mission to create a new community, an alternative Ulster, and to bring his city back to life!

This staged musical version of the award-winning movie charts the life of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley, a radical, rebel and music-lover. Just a stone's throw away from the site of the old record shop, this Lyric Theatre production features iconic punk anthems including Teenage Kicks, Just another Teenage Rebel and Alternative Ulster.

9TH - 20TH MAY 2023

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SONGS OF DANCES OF DEATH

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

A double bill of ‘Songs and Dances of Death’ by Mussorgsky and ‘Kindertotenlieder’ by Mahler: part of NI Opera’s new ‘Salon Series’.

While the themes of both works are macabre and dark: the music is magnificent and this will be a spectacular performance, staged in the round in the historic and starkly beautiful C Wing of Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast.

Baritone Brendan Collins and pianist Tristan Russcher perform Mussorgsky’s masterpiece, staged in the round.  ‘Songs and Dances of Death‘ is a set of four songs: ‘Lullaby’, ‘Serenade’ ‘Trepak’ and ‘Field Marshall’, each telling a story where Death is personified, appearing to four different people on the cusp of life and death.  This performance will be in English.

Mezzo-soprano Margaret Bridge and pianist Tristan Russcher perform a staged version of Mahler’s beautiful ‘Kindertotenlieder‘ (Songs on the Death of Children), a set of five songs based around the work of the poet Rückert written after the death of his two of his children.  These songs explore the feelings and processes of grief, and will be performed in German.

8TH MARCH 2023

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BOTHERED, BEWITCHED & BEWILDERED

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered’ is part of NI Opera’s new Salon Series, bringing staged performances in the round to locations across Northern Ireland with repertoire including short operas, cabaret, music theatre and art song.

‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered’ will be performed by soprano Wendy Ferguson and pianist Ruth McGinley, who are both from Derry, performing songs from the golden age of music theatre, staged in the round. They will be joined by a drummer and bassist.

You will hear songs by Cole Porter George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Stephen Sondheim and many other composers.  This event will be staged in the beautiful St Columb’s Hall in Derry.

18TH FEB 2023

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SEA WRACK

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

‘Sea Wrack’ is one of six productions making up The Salon Series, featuring staged performances in the round by Northern Irish and Irish artists.

Come and join us as we explore the work of composers and new arrangements of songs from across the island of Ireland, including pieces by William Balfe, Hamilton Harty and William Vincent Wallace. ‘Sea Wrack’ will take place in the St Joseph’s in Sailortown, once a church, now a venue for the people of Sailortown who have ambitious plans to fully restore the building as a community and arts hub.

Soprano Susie Gibbons, mezzo Jenny Bourke, tenor Michael Bell and baritone Seamus Brady, with pianist Frasier Hickland, will perform repertoire including ‘Sea Wrack’ by Hamilton Harty in a new arrangement by Bryan Evans, ‘Carrickfergus’ in a new arrangement by Matthew Owens and ‘Sainted Mother’ by William Vincent Wallace.

19TH FEB 2023

Northern Ireland Opera's Salon Series
‘La Voix Humaine’

The Throne Room at

The Royal Hillborough Castle

‘La Voix Humaine’ a one act opera by Poulenc based on a play of the same name written by Jean Cocteau, who directed the first production in 1959.

‘La Voix Humaine’ is the story of a woman who receives a phone call from her lover. Over the course of 50 minutes, her life unravels as he tells her he is in love with someone else and ends their relationship.  Soprano Mary McCabe and pianist David Quigley will perform this staged opera in the round in the historic Throne Room in Hillsborough Castle.

11th February 2023

SHOP AT THE TOP OF THE TOWN

THEATRE AT THE MILL, NEWTOWNABBEY

For Christmas 2022 the Theatre at The Mill is proud to premiere the brand new musical play The Shop at the Top of the Town by Michael Cameron (writer of Ruby! and Carson and the Lady) promising audiences the most uplifting romantic and musical comedy of the holiday season!

Step back in time to Christmas in Belfast 1972, the heyday of the classic department stores of Robbs, Anderson & McAuley and Robinson & Cleaver. Crowds are flocking to see the magical window displays while children queue excitedly for their trip to Santa’s Winter Wonderland. Doesn’t every family have their own memories (and a Santa pic!) of those fabulous festive days?

2ND - 31ST DEC 2022

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PROPAGANDA
A New Musical!

LYRIC THEATRE, BELFAST

Berlin, 1949.

An ‘iron curtain’ draws across war ravaged Germany. Berlin divides in two. Trapped in the East, two young lovers become embroiled in the chaos of circumstance, art, love and American jazz.

With a Broadway influenced score, a live 14-piece orchestra and stellar cast, Propaganda promises to be a musical for our time.

Commissioned by the Lyric Theatre, and developed with the Lyric New Writing department, Propaganda: A New Musical by double Ivor Novello- nominated composer Conor Mitchell is an old fashioned Soviet love story

8TH OCT - 5TH NOV 2022

LA TRAVIATA

GRAND OPERA HOUSE, BELFAST

‘La Traviata’ tells the story of the tragic love between the courtesan Violetta Valéry and the romantic Alfredo Germont.  Falling hopelessly in love the two leave the dizzying heights of Paris society for the country. Their love affair threatens to shame Alfredo’s family name. His father confronts Violetta to try to get her to leave Alfredo, to save his family name and the reputation of his sister.  In an act of self-sacrifice Violetta agrees to leave her one true love and ends up paying the ultimate price.

3RD - 25TH SEPT 2022

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GAP YEAR

LYRIC THEATRE, BELFAST

A journey of craic, coffee shops and self-discovery at 60.

Newly widowed Kate, childminder-in-chief Roisin and their best friend Oonagh have decided enough is enough. Life is too short, they’re going to follow in their children’s footsteps and take a Gap Year. Thailand? Europe? Down Under? No, they’re visiting every county in Ireland, sure there's a few they’ve never even heard of!

It's time for castles, coffee and craic as three women in their 60s go on the adventure of a lifetime.

3RD - 25TH SEPT 2022

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THIS SH*T HAPPENS
ALL THE TIME

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

A young woman falls in love. Her girlfriend’s jealous ex-boyfriend responds with murderous intent. In 2022 he'd be arrested but in Belfast 1992 homophobic hate crime law doesn’t exist. This Sh*t Happens All the Time is a powerful new one-woman play from Amanda Verlaque, which uses personal experience to explore misogyny, coercive control, and queer-baiting to ask why the privileges and protections granted to most of society remain disgracefully out of reach for Northern Ireland’s LGBT+ community.

22ND MAR - 2ND APR 2022

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TRANSLATIONS
BY BRIAN FRIEL

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

&

ABBEY THEATRE | DUBLIN

It’s August 1833. The pupils have gathered in a hedge-school in the townland of Baile Beag/Ballybeg. This Irish-speaking community in Donegal, has become the unlikely focal point for a changing world.

Progress is coming. Tensions are growing. There are plans for a new English-speaking national school and a group of Royal Engineers have arrived to map the area.

23RD APR - 29TH MAY 2022

BEAR

BLACK LIGHT PRODUCTIONS

“Tear my head off, Bear. Claw out my heart.”

Adapted by Cliodhna McAllister, from the novel by Marian Engel.

Led by animal instinct. Intoxicated by primal desire. Marked by violent passion. When Lou meets Bear, she is forever changed.

‘Bear’ is the provocative tale of a woman’s transformative experience on a remote Canadian island. Dispatched to catalogue the contents of the island’s abandoned nineteenth-century estate, Lou finds she is not alone – there’s always a bear on Cary Island. And there are always secrets. 

Consumed by primal desire, Lou’s relationship with Bear takes her on a journey of sexual and spiritual awakening. She won’t leave the island the same woman she used to be.

5TH & 6TH MAY 2022

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INTO THE WOODS

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

‘Careful the things you say: children will listen!’

In a whirlwind quest to make their dreams come true, our cast of storybook heroes, heroines and villains learn to be very careful about what they wish for. Once upon a time, they all go into the woods on very different quests, all hoping to live happily ever after – just like in the fairy tales. But in these woods, nothing is straightforward… and what you think you want isn’t always what you end up getting.

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LA BOHÉME

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

Four struggling bohemians – a poet, a painter, a musician and a philosopher are living together in Paris, when one freezing Christmas Eve their lives are changed forever. A girl named Mimì knocks on their door looking for a candle light, and she and Rodolfo fall in love.

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OLD FRIENDS AND OTHER DAYS

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA & CAUSEWAY PICTURES

The viewer is instantly plunged into an atmospheric, decaying, beautiful world where ambiguity reigns supreme and the stream of consciousness is governed by the world of song. Is it a sanctuary to enrich your senses or could it be purgatory?  Our four muses take us through these fleeting moments of reflection, discipline, loneliness and joy, where they tempt and entice us to reminisce on what has gone before.  What happens once everyone’s suitcases are packed? Where will our muses take us next?

ROUGH GIRLS

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

&

BBC

“Football, life, theatre” is the unholy trinity that breathes robust, raucous, vinegary life into Tara Lynne O’Neill’s Rough Girls at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

Last seen on the Lyric stage in 2019 as Willy Russell’s titular Shirley Valentine, the return of the Derry Girls star marks her debut as a playwright with an ambitious piece for 11 women—a remarkable, applaudable statement of intent in itself—about the short-lived fortunes of Belfast’s first all-female football team.

O’Neill folds her trilogy of metaphors into a tale that surprises—and shames—with its unearthing of a long-forgotten story of proto-feminists at the end of the First World War staking their claim in an antagonistic male-dominated world.

BY TARA LYNNE O'NEILL

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SADIE

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

&

BBC

The international premiere of a searing new play from David Ireland centres on a Belfast woman reflecting on her turbulent life amidst the Troubled past.

Sharp-witted cleaner Sadie develops an intense, dysfunctional yet passionate relationship with a much younger man, triggering a psychological showdown with the remnant demons of her past. She confronts these ghosts, calling out their contribution to the path life took her down.

KISS ME KATE

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

&

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

Kiss Me, Kate, Cole Porter’s iconic musical comedy follows a fiery couple of co-stars feuding both on and offstage in a production of Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew.

Showbiz shenanigans together with a jazz-inflected score form a sparkling tribute to the golden age of theatre in all its greasepaint and glory. Kiss Me, Kate’s award winning music and razor-sharp wit are catapulted into the limelight by a cast performing show-stopping numbers including Too Darn Hot; Another Op’nin’, Another Show; Brush Up Your Shakespeare; and So In Love.

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PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

DUBLIN THEATRE FESTIVAL

&

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

A Lyric Theatre and Dublin Theatre Festival co-production in association with Belfast International Arts Festival

Pegeen is fed up. She’s not getting younger and is desperate to escape the confines of a life stuck in the middle of nowhere. When the stranger Christy Mahon arrives at her father’s shebeen, with a story that sets the village talking, he is welcomed with admiration by the locals, even Pegeen. But all is not as it seems, and soon the playboy’s past threatens to catch up with him.

PETER PAN

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

Paul Boyd’s new musical adaptation of Peter Pan is a thing of beauty. It keeps faith with both the narrative of JM Barrie’s story of the boy who refused to grow up and the spirit of Mabel Lucie Attwell’s charming illustrations for its first edition.

A combination of glorious sets, costumes and lighting effects, haunting music and expressive choreography successfully achieves a tricky balancing act between vintage and modern.

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DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

Placing us in the highest pub in Ireland – not the Ponderosa, by the way, but Stuart Marshall's superbly designed Dander Inn, surely called so because you just "dander in" and stuff happens – is the doorway to a collection of initially wry wit which ultimately develops into full on laughter. All this is accompanied by the music, and sometimes acting, of musical director Rod McVey, whose consistent involvement with the ensemble is the icing on the Christmas cake.

SHIRLEY VALENTINE

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

What on earth could be done with a new production of Shirley Valentine that has not already been done before? Cushioned by Willy Russell’s sharp, perceptive, tuned-in writing, the easy option would be to find a good actor and let the script do the rest. But, in the hands and imagination of Patrick J O’Reilly, whose directorial vision hinges on physical expression and a restless determination to go the extra performance mile, Oisín Kearney’s 1980s Belfastised version sings sweetly off a different song sheet.

It is to the immense credit of the professional discipline of Tara Lynne O’Neill that she delivers, with irresistible brio, a vulnerable woman whose personal journey connects deeply at an individual level.

You couldn’t not love her as, meticulously choreographed by O’Reilly, she beats a familiar daily path around her cell-like kitchen, a domestic drudge, longing to cut loose and rediscover the spirited, mischievous girl she used to be.

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GOOD VIBRATIONS

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

The hit production Good Vibrations, adapted for stage from the popular film, starring Aaron McCusker (Bohemian Rhapsody, Shameless) and directed by Des Kennedy (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) follows the life of radical, rebel and music lover Terri Hooley (Aaron McCusker) on a mission to create an alternative Ulster, by uncovering some of the best punk bands of the 70s. This is the feel good, rebellious, two-fingers-up production and must-see lockdown theatre.

A STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

Set in the stifling heat of New Orleans’ Latin Quarter in the 1940s, A Streetcar Named Desire follows wilting southern beauty, Blanche DuBois (Aoibheann McCann), as she attempts to escape her former life and past trauma. Blanche takes up residence in her sister Stella’s (Meghan Tyler) cramped two-room apartment, much to the irritation of her boorish and abrasive brother-in-law Stanley.  But as details of Blanche’s past come to light, she incurs the suspicion and then wrath of Stanley (Mark Huberman), and her sense of reality begins to shatter.

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THE 39 STEPS

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

BRUISER THEATRE COMPANY

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LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

Based on the 1935 Hitchcock adventure film and the book by John Buchan, The 39 Stepsfollows the adventures of the dashing hero Richard Hannay as he grapples with dastardly murderers, double-crossing secret agents and devastatingly beautiful women. Narrowly escaping from a succession of hair-raising escapades and hooting with laughter as he and his fellow characters deliver some of the funniest one-liners.

THREEPENNY OPERA

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

&

LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

Underneath Polly Peachum's clean cut image lies a young woman with a risk-taking streak. She plants her affections on the cheek of bad lad Mack the Knife (or Macheath) who seems to have his wicked way - criminally, sexually, or both - with half of London. 

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SWEENEY TODD

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

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LYRIC THEATRE | BELFAST

The murderous rise and fall of Fleet Street’s demon barber is staged almost as a rollicking farce, with some potent individual performances. Blood spurts from severed jugulars, dead bodies thud down from the flies, grinders churn out evil-looking pie fillings. You can’t say that Northern Ireland Opera’s new production of Stephen Sondheim’s mischievously macabre melodrama stints on the actualité.

DON GIOVANNI

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

&

GRAND OPERA HOUSE | BELFAST

This Don Giovanni is Oliver Mears’s final production with Northern Ireland Opera before he heads to Covent Garden next year to take over from Kasper Holten as director of opera. And I bet his home fans will miss him, particularly because, despite a slightly uneven cast, Mears’s last hurrah in Belfast was a hugely entertaining and witty show, met with chuckles throughout.

Here, Mozart’s opera buffa was staged as a retro cruise-ship comedy, set in the 1960s on a luxury ocean liner (the Seville). Quite a neat idea; the social divide between passengers and staff echoed that of nobility and servants, while the “closed” set-up lent the Commendatore’s murder the air of a whodunnit.

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TURANDOT

A CO-PRODUCTION WITH

NORTHERN IRELAND OPERA

&

GRAND OPERA HOUSE | BELFAST

Turandot is directed by Calixto Bieito, a man described by The Guardian as “the Quentin Tarantino of Opera”. Currently working to great acclaim with English National Opera and with a production soon to open at The Met in New York, Bieito is a director with a world-wide reputation for producing opera as spectacle. With aesthetic references ranging from Pedro Almodovar to Fritz Lang, Hitchcock to (yes) Tarantino, this new production of Turandot is without doubt visually stunning.

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