Amongst Men

A new play by Eoghan Rua Finn

It is 1969 Seán Walsh, a primary school teacher, plans to commemorate the revolutionary period in Wexford with his sixth class pupils. His mother was a Cumann na mBan member and has first hand knowledge of life during the wars. Knowledge she prefers to remain secret. When tragedy strikes Seán’s attention turns to uncovering his mother’s secrets, a mission that puts him in conflict with local political and religious leaders, and puts his job, identity and life in jeopardy.

Director and Set Design: Deirdre Dwyer
Costume: Frances White
Lighting: Colin Doran
Dramaturg: Louise Stephens

The Genesis of Amongst Men

Eoghan Rua Finn was one of nine playwrights mentored by the Wexford Playwright Studio hosted and funded by Wexford Arts Centre and Wexford County Council in conjunction with Four Rivers and with initial input from authors, Billy Roche and Deirdre Kinahan and dramaturg, Thomas Conway.

Subsequently all these plays received rehearsed reading in March 2021 directed by Ben Barnes. Out of this collaboration the Wexford County Council in partnership with Wexford Arts Centre announced a Playwright Commission Award and a €10,000 bursary to research and develop- a new theatre work focusing on commemorating the period between 1916-1923 as part of WCC’s Decade of Centenaries Programme (2012-2023).

This resulted in a number of very strong submissions out of which, Amongst Men was selected. The Wexford County Council award of €10,000 to the writer and a further, €15,000 towards production costs is a significant investment in the theatre art form on behalf of the local authority.

Four Rivers in conjunction with Wexford Arts Centre undertook to produce the work which has been through a number of mentored drafts with its dramaturg, Louise Stephens. Finally after careful curation Four Rivers will present the play to audiences this coming Easter at WAC in a production directed by Waterford director and designer, Deirdre Dwyer.

The collaboration between the Wexford County Council, Wexford Arts Centre and Four Rivers is an exemplary initiative pointing to the time, care and resources required to bring a new play to the stage. We hope you enjoy the fruits of that labour.

Upcoming Productions

A Handful of Stars by Billy Roche

2024 marks the 35th anniversary of the first professional production of A Handful of Stars, the first play in Billy Roche’s famous Wexford trilogy, which also includes Poor Beast in the Rain and Belfry, described at the time by The Guardian as ‘one of the year’s great theatre events.’

Directed by Conall Morrison and designed by Liam Doona, with lighting by Paul Keogan and costumes by Jeni Roddy, A Handful of Stars is coming home to Wexford in June with a fortnight run at Wexford Arts Centre.

As part of the Arts Centre’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2024, Four Rivers will simultaneously celebrate the career of Billy Roche – playwright, novelist, actor and singer -with public interviews, an exhibition of the playwright’s memorabilia, readings (Poor Beast in the Rain and Belfry, directed by Heather Hadrill) and a panel discussion including Billy Roche and Conall Morrison, moderated by Tom Mooney.

Wexford Arts Centre, June 8|9|11|12|13|14|15|16
Pavilion, Dun Laoghaire, June 18|19|20|21|22.

Castel Gandolfo by Jim Nolan

A reading was held at the National Opera House this week of Jim Nolan’s new play, Castel Gandolfo. The work has gone through several drafts and the reading was held to identify any areas that need further tweaking ahead of the production of the play in 2024. Ben Barnes will direct with designs by Dermot Quinn (set), John Comiskey (lighting), Jeni Roddy (costume) and Jamie Beamish (sound). Both Jim Nolan and Ben Barnes were in attendance at the reading and the reading cast were – Anna Healy, Brian Doherty, Anthony Brophy, Catherine Walker and Elishka Lane. Rehearsal will start on March 11th and the play will run at Garter Lane, Waterford from April 13-27.