How It’s New York: 1st Irish, The Festival of Irish Theatre was expressly started by George C. Heslin in 2008 to present a wider range of Irish dramatic voices in New York (and by extension, America!)
How It’s Irish: The playwrights are Irish or Irish-American, several of the companies hail from Ireland, and the Festival has become THE way to launch a playwriting career in America!
There’s SO darned much to say about 1st Irish and I’m SO behind on this I hardly know where to start! So you’ll forgive me I hope if in subsequent posts I repeat tje New York/Irish thing a little! As the Festival goes on I’ll be uploading some reviews and interviews here as well.
I wrote about the Festival before it debuted in 2008, for the New York Times:
Theater Festival Presents New Voices From a New IrelandBy GWEN ORELPublished: August 31, 2008He heard, “Doesn’t that already exist?” He heard, “That’s brilliant!” One thing he rarely heard was, “No.”…
George C. Heslin, artistic director of Origin Theater Company, recalls with a laugh that when he was putting together New York’s first Irish theater festival, called 1st Irish 2008, “the process was shockingly organic.”
For Mr. Heslin, the idea for the festival was born in frustration. The Origin Theater Company’s mission is to bring European theater to New York, and he wanted to show New York a cross-section of the best of contemporary Irish work, much of which is unknown here. He did include a new adaptation of an Oscar Wilde children’s story, and one Conor McPherson piece (unseen here for six years), but most of the productions are New York premieres. Mr. Heslin, who came to New York from Limerick in 1994, said he hopes that eventually presenters at the festival will begin taking their work to the Dublin Theater Festival, which takes place in late September and early October.
Read the rest here!
Now four years later, where are we? Here’s my take on how the Festival has grown. Coming up: Vinny Murphy’s interview with George for the Irish Examiner (USA); 1st Irish Line-up, and my review of Temporal Powers at the Mint Theatre! For the full list of shows go to the 1st Irish page. I missed getting a brochure at the Launch, but, like Paul Keating’s amazing blue grid for Catskills Irish Arts Week, it’s a must. How else will I schedule myself for 7 plays and 2 panels?
|George C. Heslin|