Friday Five: Alternative Valentine’s Day outings

5ofHeartsAs a single lady I’m probably supposed to be angry and bitter about Valentine’s Day but who has time for that? I think a day dedicated to the people you love is a nice idea – nobody says it has to be all about romantic love! Plus, I’m a big fan of flowers and chocolate so I look forward to the post-Valentine’s bargains!

For those in pursuit of an alternative Valentine’s here are five non-romantic outings that can be enjoyed by couples and non-couples alike!

1. Young Hearts Run Free are taking over the Freemasons Hall for Tinsmith’s Scoop, an evening of readings by Kevin Barry, Professor Declan Kiberd, and Paula Meehan, and music by I Am The Cosmos, Brigid Power-Ryce, Scotland’s Withered Hand, and Young Hearts DJ’s. It’s supposed to be a beautiful venue and I’m sure it will be a very special night. Tickets are €14 and all proceeds will go to the Simon Community.

2. The National Campaign For the Arts and the O’Reilly Theatre are hosting a Cabaret evening on Saturday night. I’ve no idea who will be performing but I’m sure the line-up will be excellent and there will be craft beer and wine deals. Tickets are available on the door for a suggested donation of €10.

3. Lifelogging, the new exhibition at the Science Gallery launched this week. It’s all about data and the information that we share or give away. It looks really interesting, they are open 12-6pm at the weekend and it’s free!

4. If you’re looking for something a little bit lovey-dovey, Pan Pan’s Gavin Quinn has directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Abbey. It’s a contemporary interpretation set in a nursing home, but still uses Shakespeare’s original text. It has a great cast and original music and I suspect it will be a very interesting interpretation of a classic play.

5. And if Shakespeare’s not your thing, the IFI are currently showing the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup, “probably their greatest film” and guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face this Valentine’s Day. It’s on Saturday and Sunday at 6.50pm and also Wednesday and Thursday next week.

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Friday Five: New writing

Last week was all about returning favourites and this week it’s about new work that will be staged over the next few weeks and months.

  1. Leper + Chip isn’t brand new, it had a very successful run at Theatre Upstairs last year but it has now transferred to the Project Arts Centre. The run finishes tomorrow and is sold out, which is brilliant for a new play from a young writer and frustrating for the last minute theatre booker. However it’s always worth looking for returns, particularly for the matinee on Saturday afternoon which will be followed by a discussion on New Writing in Contemporary Dublin. Leper + Chip was first performed in Theatre Upstairs where you can see world premiers of brand new writing almost every week, for a very reasonable price. Their next show The Swing, opens on Tuesday.
  2. Fishamble: The New Play Company are also one of the go to places for new writing and they are currently on tour with Underneath, written and performed by Pat Kinevane. This was first performed at the end of last year as part of the Limerick City of Culture programme. Any one who has seen Silent or Forgotten will know that a new Pat Kinevane play is an exciting prospect and it is on tour all over the country, from now until the beginning of July. All the dates are here.
  3. Rough Magic’s Everything Between Us may be more “new to me” than brand new because it has already won the Meyer-Whitworth Award and the Stewart Parker Trust BBC Radio Drama Award. I’m not familiar with the playwright David Ireland; he is making his Dublin debut with this play. It opens in Project next Wednesday and runs until the end of February. Rough Magic are running a series of panel discussions along side the play, as well as offering a limited number of €10 to those under 30. The panel discussions are free but ticketed.
  4. The Abbey seem to have a lot more planned for the Peacock stage this year, including a new play by Owen McCaffery who wrote the award winning Quietly. Death of a Comedian is on in March. It’s about a stand-up comedian played by Brian Doherty, who I remember fondly as a bitter and twisted comedy writer in Anthony Neilson’s God in Ruins. I saw that bleak Christmas show seven years ago and still remember his fantastic performance, amongst a wonderful ensemble cast.
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  6. If you want to give it a try yourself, the Irish Writers Centre is running a course called Playwriting: Writing Towards First Production with Michelle Read who wrote one of the 24 Hour Plays last weekend. It’s for writers with some experience of theatre writing, rather than complete beginners. It starts on Tuesday 10 February, so if you want to sign up, do it now! Fishamble will be running courses in the spring for complete beginners; more details here.

Friday Five: Festival favourites and sold-out shows.

1. I hope you got your ticket for the 24 Hour Plays on Sunday because, as predicted it has sold out, though it’s might be worth trying for returns on the night. You can also make a donation to Dublin Youth Theatre here. I am the Props Manager for the show – who knows what I’ll be sent out to find on Sunday morning!

2. A few festival favourites have returned for another run. Riverrun is on in Project until Sunday, Lippy is on in the Peacock until February 14th and A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing opens in Project next Wednesday, February 4th. It’s great to get a second chance to see shows that you missed during the busy festival season.

3. But if brand new work is more your thing, there’s lots of that at Collaborations which runs from February 18th to March 7th. There are over 60 shows in this year’s festival so it’s worth having a look at the programme – there will be something there that will tickle your fancy. Early Bird tickets are available until February 11th.

4. And for those who want to make new work, the Tiger Dublin Fringe are accepting applications for their 2015 festival now. The information sessions are on February 10th at 6pm and the closing date for applications is March 13th.

5. Last week I went along to the Abbey’s Theatre of War Symposium. It was a mind-blowing few days with speakers from all over the world, talking about the beginnings of wars, the day-to-day experiences in a war zone and the aftermaths of conflict. They also talked about art and artists responses to war. As far as I know, the Abbey will be uploading all the talks in the next couple of weeks so I’ll let you know when that goes live. In the meantime, ANU launched their new show PALS – The Irish at Gallipoli this week. It’s about the 7th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers during World War 1. It’s starts next week and will run Wednesday – Sunday until the end of April. Book now because it will sell out!