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                      BACK TO LYRIC THEATRE

Former Royal National Theatre Associate Director Mick Gordon directs stage and screen
star Gerard McSorley in Brian Friel’s classic Dancing at Lughnasa at the Lyric
Theatre. Belfast-born Mick is delighted to bring back Friel’s contemporary classic
Dancing at Lughnasa in a brand new production to the Lyric stage for a limited five-
week run from 1 June 2007.

Dancing at Lughnasa was first produced by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in 1990 and
opened in Broadway in 1991, where it won two Tony Awards, including Best Play, in
1992. It has been ten years since this quintessential Irish work by prominent playwright
Brian Friel, who also wrote Philadelphia, Here I Come, Translations and Making History,
was last produced at the Lyric Theatre. Gerard McSorley played the adult Michael in the
original Abbey Theatre, West End and Broadway productions, narrated the part of
Michael in the feature length film adaptation, and in an interesting career twist, now will
play Jack, the missionary priest in this brand new production. The award-winning prolific
actor (Omagh, Braveheart, Veronica Guerin, The Constant Gardener), whose professional
acting career began at the Lyric in Sam Thompson’s “Over The Bridge”, has just finished
filming in Bucharest, Romania with Joel Schumacher. Friel, now in his late 70s, persuaded
fellow Omagh man McSorley, to return to the stage in this new role. Gerard McSorley
says: “I’m delighted to be back on stage at the Lyric; this theatre means a lot to me.”

Dancing at Lughnasa is one of the greatest Irish plays: an internationally acclaimed
masterpiece from our greatest living playwright. Set in the nostalgic Thirties, it centres
on the five unmarried Mundy sisters living in their modest Donegal cottage. The lives of
the five sisters, imperious teacher Kate (Geraldine Fitzgerald), keeper of the hearth
Maggie (Patricia Gannon), serene Agnes (Aislín McGuckin), simple-minded Rose
(Mairead McKinley), and lonely romantic Christina (Laura Donnelly), revolve around
Christina’s 7-year old love child, Michael (Sean Sloan) with traveling salesman Gerry
(Rhydian Jones). And the play is told from Michael’s memories as he casts his mind back
to the summer of 1936, on the eve of harvest celebrations. The true celebration of the play,
however, lives within the sisters: a family marked by the unfailing courage they possess
for each other. As the play unfolds we move from summer to the threshold of autumn,
where events will conspire to irretrievably change this gold-tinted world.

Mick Gordon, who directed the UK premiere of Friel’s Volunteers in 2000 at the Gate
Theatre to critical acclaim, is strongly drawn to the variety of Irishness in Friel’s work.
Playwright Mick’s last work On Religion, the most recent in a series to be produced in
London’s Soho Theatre in 2006, (On Love, On Death and On Ego) is a considered
exploration of the complex issues of faith and religion, which Mick attributes to his
Protestant Northern Irish heritage. After directing in many exotic locations (South
America, Uganda, Lithuania and Uzbekistan) and in London’s West End, Mick brings his
talent home saying “I owe a lot to Brian Friel and have wanted to direct this play in my
hometown for a long time.”

Dancing at Lughnasa runs at the Lyric Theatre from Friday 1 June to Saturday 7 July
2007. To book tickets, phone the Box Office on 028 9038 1081 or book online at

The Lyric Theatre acknowledges the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland &
Belfast City Council.


Press Contact: Glynis Watt
Tel 028 9038 5673
Email: Glynis@lyrictheatre.co.uk

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