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News, current affairs & arts from Ireland

Peter Sheridan’s 47 Roses

“If there’s a Mr Sheridan on board, could he please make himself known?” The bus had just arrived in Derry from Dublin, and Peter Sheridan was sitting down the back. He assumed they were looking for somebody else. But nobody else responded and so, as he got off the bus, Sheridan asked were they looking… read more +

The nervousness of Tennessee Williams

Who was the cat on the hot tin roof? Elizabeth Taylor was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of the skittish Southern belle, Maggie, in Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. But the real cat was Tennessee Williams himself.   Williams took the title from the phrase “nervous as a cat on… read more +

Shakespeare’s anti-Semitic rom-com

The hero is a man who spits on Jews in the street. One of the romantic leads wins praise for winning, and converting, a young Jewish woman. The rousing climax involves the entire cast exulting in the humiliation of a Jew being forced to convert to Christianity. And this is the story of one of… read more +

As Chekhov said, ‘Fuck this’

When actor Conor Madden took a rapier thrust just under his eye during the final scene in Hamlet recently, he joined a long list of actors to whom tragedy on stage has come a little too close for comfort.   The day he was injured, in a production by Second Age, company director Alan Stanford… read more +

Review: Raoul at the Abbey Theatre

This might be the most beautiful thing you will ever see on the Abbey stage. Some philanthropist should block-book the Abbey for the week and give the tickets to teenagers and people who’ve never been to the theatre. And then they should persuade James Thiérrée to stay on for a few nights, and straight after… read more +

Gary Mitchell, loyal playwright

“I’ve spent my life being jealous of Catholics.” It’s not something you expect to hear from a working-class, loyalist, Ulster protestant. But then, Gary Mitchell is no ordinary working-class protestant. “I used to think that if I walked down the Falls Road, I’d get shot. “But the last time I walked down the Falls Road,… read more +

New radio series on theatre & protest

2010: A good year in Irish theatre

As the media and political system obsessed with the question of Irish sovereignty, late last year, in one area at least we were still in control of affairs, and running them well. Irish theatre had a good year, one of the best in my time covering it. Theatre companies responded to more difficult circumstances with… read more +

Review: Scrooge, at the Grand Canal Theatre

It was a Dickensian night in Dublin as we hustled towards the Grand Canal Theatre, skating under the shadows of empty buildings, and reeling from the austerity of the budget and the winter. Rarely can the story of A Christmas Carol have been told in more auspicious a context. As poor Bob Cratchit (Morgan Crowley)… read more +

Angola After the War

A new documentary film by Colin Murphy, with stills photography by Guy Tillim (as below), screening on Thursday September 23 on RTE One, at 10.50pm, and on the RTE Player at