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Eugene O’Neill 2019 Festival News

Picture: Patrick Browne

The 2019 Eugene O’Neill International Festival of Theatre will take place across two locations this autumn, with the first half running throughout September in Danville, California, and the second half in New Ross, Wexford, October 8-13.

The US festival is celebrating 20 years, while the 2019 New Ross festival programme which takes place in the historic St Michael’s Theatre is in its second year. And some of the highlights from the Irish programme are noted below.

Ann Power from Powerhouse PR announced the news this week, and said “The team behind the festival have organised a superb 2019 festival programme and a very unique collaboration with the Eugene O’Neill Foundation in the US which sees the local cast of The Glencairn Cycle head from Wexford to California to perform in San Francisco Bay this September.” 

The Festival organisers also announced that their production of the Glencairn Cycle of plays is invited to be showcased during the US Eugene O’Neill Festival this September in San Francisco Bay. 

Sean Reidy, Chairman of the Irish Festival said, “We are delighted to unveil our second annual festival programme, it is filled with top quality productions of O’Neill’s finest works plus a number of a panel discussion with Ireland’s leading literary luminaries, this festival truly and uniquely celebrates one of our greatest ever playwright.” 

The opening night Thursday 10th will show Eugene O’Neill’s autobiographical play ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night’ presented by the Eugene O’Neill Foundation Tao and directed by Eric Frazier Hayes. The award-winning ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’ tells the story of the O’Neill family’s emigration from New Ross. Eugene O’Neill’s father James was born in 1845 in Tinneranny, one mile from New Ross and he emigrated as a small boy with his family from the quayside of New Ross in 1851. Eugene retired to Tao House in Danville, California in 1937 where he then wrote four of America’s greatest plays including his autobiographical masterwork, ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’. He remains the only American playwright to win the Nobel Prize and also four Pulitzer Prizes.

Also on the programme is a staged reading of ‘Strange Interlude’. The Pulitzer Prize-winning experimental play in nine acts will be presented as a professional Irish production in a staged reading directed by Ben Barnes.

Twice daily aboard the beautiful Dunbrody Famine Ship berthed at New Ross Quayside will be the Glencairn Cycle of Plays, a series of three one-act plays directed by Paul Walsh set aboard the fictional ship the ‘SS Glencairn’, Bound East for Cardiff, The Long Voyage Home and In the Zone. These three one-act plays will be presented in one sitting – approx one hour in total.

A number of lunchtime sessions will also run on October 10th and 11th at 1 pm, featuring a programme of readings and performances of a selection of O’Neill’s short plays and writings. 

Closing the Festival on Sunday evening and nurturing the talent of the local modern-day playwright will be a production of ‘The Diary of Maynard Perdu’ written and directed by the award-winning Wexford playwright Billy Roche and starring the acclaimed actor/musician Peter McCamley.

Tickets to the festival weekend at St. Michael’s Theatre in New Ross are available at €100. Tickets for individual events are available from €15; for further details see www.eugeneoneillfestival.com