March 20th, 2009
Druid is delighted to announce a jam-packed programme of theatrical treats for 2009 with plans to present 335 performances in 26 venues in Ireland, the UK, USA, Australia and Canada.
Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism said: "I commend Druid on demonstrating their ability to combine strategic planning together with an artistic integrity which has once again, delivered an outstanding programme for audiences both at home and in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia throughout 2009."
A long-standing dream is finally becoming a reality as 2009 sees the re-opening of Druid theatre in Galway following an extensive refurbishment. The theatre has been integral to the Druid story and the creative birthplace for all the company’s work, from J.M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World through to Martin McDonagh’s Leenane Trilogy.
The Gigli Concert by Galway playwright Tom Murphy will officially open the refurbished theatre in Galway as part of Galway Arts Festival. The staging of this production revives the relationship between Tom Murphy and Druid who have previously worked together on Conversations on a Homecoming and Bailegangaire. These plays formed part of a major association between Druid and Tom Murphy who was Writer-in-Association with the company and premiered four of his major works there. Widely regarded as Tom Murphy’s masterpiece, The Gigli Concert will undertake a tour of Ireland later in the year.
Commenting on Druid’s plans for 2009, artistic director Garry Hynes commented “I am truly delighted to be re-opening our newly refurbished theatre with this brilliant play by Tom Murphy and to be working with Tom again. This building holds the memories of 30 years of magical moments out of our 34 year history and I look forward to welcoming audiences, actors, writers and funders to be a part of creating many more.”
The Enda Walsh success story continues in 2009 with the Druid production of his play The New Electric Ballroom taking home two awards at the Irish Times Theatre Awards earlier this month; Best New Play and Best Supporting Actor (Mikel Murfi). This Druid production also received its Australian and London premieres at Perth International Arts Festival and the Riverside Studios, London where it is currently running until March 29th before it returns to Ireland in April for an Irish tour. It will receive its American premiere later in the year when it plays New York and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Walsh’s companion piece The Walworth Farce will embark on an autumn tour of the UK, USA and Canada. An Australian and New Zealand tour is scheduled for 2010.
Eugene Downes, CEO of Culture Ireland commented: "Druid is now recognised by leading international festivals, venues and critics as a company of world stature. Culture Ireland is proud to partner the company in bringing outstanding Irish theatre to new audiences in key global centres. They have become one of Ireland's great success stories, which is a testament not only to their artistic achievement but also their management skills in mounting several complex international tours at once."
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of J.M. Synge’s death (March 24th, 1909), Druid is presenting their acclaimed production of DruidSynge: The Playboy of the Western World in Galway and in the UK (six venues) during May and June. Druid and Garry Hynes are credited with reinventing Synge for Irish audiences and staging the definitive production of Synge’s savagely funny and best-known work. In 2005 Druid staged the epic DruidSynge where all six of Synge’s plays were staged on the same day. In addition, Druid will celebrate the life and work of one of Ireland’s dramatic giants with a series of readings from Synge’s prose, poetry and plays on Sunday, July 24th, also as part of Galway Arts Festival.
Druid will continue to create electrifying theatre experiences and bring groundbreaking theatre to a local and global audience in 2009, often staging multiple productions in different locations. On Friday March 6th for example, Druid performed in Cavan (My Brilliant Divorce), London (The New Electric Ballroom) and New York (The Cripple of Inishmaan) demonstrating their commitment to reaching audiences as far and as wide as possible.
On March 14th, The Cripple of Inishmaan by Oscar and BAFTA winning writer/director Martin McDonagh completed a hugely successful six-month run. Following an extensive tour of Ireland and the UK it opened to glowing reviews in the Atlantic Theater New York last December and its run was extended twice due to popular demand. The Cripple of Inishmaan is the best-selling production with the highest attendance ever for an Atlantic Theater Company production. This production also won an Irish Times Theatre Award; Best Supporting Actor (Dearbhla Molloy) earlier this month.
Druid acknowledges and is grateful for the financial support of the Arts Council and the partnership and funding support of Culture Ireland in delivering their international touring programme.
Druid would also like to acknowledge funding received from the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and Galway City Council towards the refurbishment of their theatre, and would like to express its continuing gratitude to Thomas McDonogh & Company Ltd.