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Irish Theatre in Germany

17 May 2024

There are many exciting productions taking place as part of Zeitgeist Irland 24 in May and June

Mary Kelly in Samuel Beckett's 'Happy Days'. Photo: Stefania Migliorati

Irish theatre has a long-established international reputation for its quality, richness and depth, from the engaging personal dramas and social commentary from playwrights like Seán O’ Casey to the ground-breaking formal experimentations of modernists like Samuel Beckett. Zeitgeist Irland 24, as part of its year-long season of Irish contemporary arts in Germany, showcases a new generation of Irish theatre for German audiences. There are many exciting productions taking place across Germany from a variety of acclaimed Irish artists and theatrical companies who build upon our theatrical traditions while also continuing to both innovate and entertain. Below is an overview of some of the productions taking place over the following weeks.

9-12 MayIrish focus at PLUG&PLAY Festival for Young Directors in Mainz

Fishamble: The New Play Company presented a multi award-winning one-woman show – Mustard – a work about heartbreak, madness and how condiments can be the ultimate coping mechanism. Mustard is by award-winning playwright & performer Eva O’Connor, and directed by Hildegard Ryan.

Fishamble is an Irish theatre company that discovers, develops and produces new plays of national importance with a global reach. It has toured its productions to audiences throughout Ireland, and to 20 other countries. It champions the role of the playwright, typically supporting over 50% of the writers of all new plays produced on the island of Ireland each year. Fishamble has received many awards in Ireland and internationally, including an Olivier Award. Current and recent productions include: King and Silent by Pat Kinevane, internationally toured and winner of many major international awards; Heaven by Eugene O’Brien in New York and Edinburgh where it won a Scotsman Fringe First Award; and On Blueberry Hill by Sebastian Barry which toured in Europe, Off-Broadway, transferred to the West End, and was recorded by Audible. It produced four major productions as part of Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries, which were Embargo and Outrage by Deirdre Kinahan, and Inside the GPO and The Treaty by Colin Murphy.

More information here

Other Elements of the Irish focus at Plug&Play Festival were:

Pan Pan’ presented Cascando on the 10 + 11 May: see below for more info

Aisling O’Mara at Die Lust am Text 12 May: Irish theatre maker Aisling O`Mara joined 5 European artists to present their work as part of Die Lust am Text programme.

More info here

25 – 29 MayPan Pan bring Samuel Beckett’s Cascando to Berlin and Marburg

With this interactive theatre piece, Pan Pan asks the audience to accompany Samuel Beckett’s curious figures into an uncertain future. Attired in dark cloaks and given headphones, audiences are guided through a rhythmic, immersive, group choreographical experience.

First broadcast in 1963, Cascando begins by setting the scene: the month of May, a time of “reawakening”. Director Gavin Quinn, dramaturg Nicholas Johnson and designer Aedín Cosgrove rework this broadcast play as a journey. The audience are sent walking in an outdoor landscape, wearing cloaks and listening to the play on headphones. The unhurried pace of Bennett’s deep and riveting voice provides a rhythm for our steps, as we listen to Voice’s struggle to tell a story. With this interactive theatre piece, Pan Pan asks the audience to accompany Samuel Beckett’s curious figures into an uncertain future. Attired in dark cloaks and given headphones, audiences are guided through a rhythmic, immersive, group choreographical experience.

16 + 17 MayParty Scene by THISISPOPBABY in Munster

Journey into the underbelly of queer culture and experience a sweaty pulsing dance theatre show exploring the complexities of desire, intimacy, isolation and addiction. With an international company of incredible performers, Party Scene celebrates the heady high of the session but poses tough questions around drug use, sex, consent and mental health in the queer community. A bold and wild ride, the show sparks conversation around identity, self-worth, isolation, homophobia, family and care. Part urgent gathering, part explosive event, Party Scene asks: when does an underground scene become a community crisis, and when is it time for the party to end?

For fifteen years, THISISPOPBABY has been ripping up the space between popular culture, counter culture and high art, providing vehicles for our associate artists’ dreams and exhilarating and diverse access points to the arts. Their shows have played to over 280,000 winning major theatre awards and thrilling audiences around Ireland, the UK, Australia and beyond.

More info here

17 May – 15 JuneFestival of Irish Theatre in Giessen

The Keller Theatre will hold a festival of new Irish plays during the month of May and the first two weeks in June. Two prominent theatre companies from Ireland will visit Giessen each presenting two plays, alongside the world premiere of a production by The Keller Theatre itself.


17th, 18th, 31st of May, 14th and 15th of June: THE KELLER THEATRE presents Fingers Crossed by Colette Cullen

28 May:  FISHAMBLE THEATRE COMPANY presents Mustard by Eva O’ Connor

1 June:  FISHAMBLE THEATRE COMPANY presents King by Pat Kinevane

6, 7, 8 June: DUBLIN TOURING THEATRE presents Bullied by Michael J. Hartnett

8 June (Matinee) DUBLIN TOURING THEATRE presents Vinnie McCabe reading The Noble Call by Michael J. Hartnett

Founded in 1958, the Keller Theatre is the oldest English-language theatre in Germany, initially run by the American forces as part of their entertainment branch. The name originates from the first space used – the basement of the Miller Hall in Giessen. It was always open to anyone who wanted to be a part of the ‘Keller family’, regardless of their nationality or language background. When the Giessen base was closed in 2007, the theatre passed into the hands of the friends of the Keller Theatre e.V. It has continued without a break, using facilities in various parts of the town, though its home is the Kleine Bühne, where most of the shows are staged. On top of its 65-year history of producing plays, Keller Theatre is also known for selecting the best touring companies to bring English-language theatre to German audiences.

More information here

23 May – 8 JuneIrish Theatre Berlin

A showcase of contemporary Irish theatre and performance with eleven performances at English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center in order to celebrate and continue ETB | IPAC’s three-decade collaboration with the Irish theatre community. The festival will include Brokentalkers with The Examination, Pat Kinevane with Silent and KING, and Dee Mulrooney with Where Ye from? The festival will also include two performances of ETB | IPAC’s production of Beckett’s classic Happy Days, directed by Beckett’s former assistant Walter D. Asmus and featuring Berlin-based Irish actress Mary Kelly, as well as Beckett’s Cascando by innovative company Pan Pan (see above).

English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center is the German capital’s only producing and presenting organization expressly dedicated to the English language, the 21st century lingua franca, a bridge between cultures, countries and traditions. The collaboration is realised by both English native speakers and non-native speakers to achieve a continuous exchange between artists of different backgrounds who inspire and influence each other to create something new together. The English Theatre Berlin International Performing Arts Centre consciously use theatre and performance as living, discursive forms to bring artists and audiences into conversation with each other about the shared city and the greater world we live in.

More information here

There’s more Irish theatre in Germany coming up later in the year as part of Zeitgeist Irland 24, so keep an eye on the programme!