2024 will be a big year for An Táin Arts Centre. The venue will celebrate its 10th Birthday and will mark this milestone with a major in-house production, the Irish Premiere of Jaki McCarrick’s renowned play Belfast Girls.
Set in 1850, Belfast Girls tells the story of five fierce young women who face their dark pasts on a ship bound for Australia, as they leave Belfast in search of a better life. Confined in close quarters in the belly of the ship, they embark on a tumultuous sea journey as they sail away from their homeland. Secrets are revealed, enemies made, and it becomes clear that no matter where they go, there is no escaping the past.
Presented by An Táin Arts Centre and Quintessence Theatre, who just finished a 17-venue national tour of their original play The Curious Case of Albert Cashier. In this performance, the former An Táin Arts Centre Theatre Company in Residence will bring their unique physical ensemble style to McCarrick’s gripping story, exploring urgent, current questions around classism, patriarchy, and the ripple effects of colonialism through a powerful historical play based on true stories.
Belfast Girls is written by Jaki McCarrick, an award-winning writer from Dundalk. The play was developed at the National Theatre London and was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the 2014 BBC Tony Doyle Award. It premiered in Chicago in May 2015 to much critical acclaim and has since been staged widely internationally, with recent premieres in Australia, Sweden and New York. Jaki has recently completed the screen adaptation of the play.
Paul Hayes Director of An Táin Arts Centre says ‘I came across the play some 6 years ago and couldn’t believe that despite its success internationally Belfast Girls has never had an Irish premiere. This is by far the biggest production An Táin Arts Centre has ever produced and it’s a fitting way to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. New theatre of this import rarely gets made outside of our cities, it will be a great honor to finally bring this play home to Dundalk.’
The play will be directed by Anna Simpson of Quintessence Theatre and stars Donna Anita Nikolaisen as Judith, Leah Rossiter as Hanna, Carla Foley as Sarah, Siobhan Kelly as Molly and Fiona Keenan O’ Brien as Ellen. Set and Costume is by Sinéad O’ Donnell-Carey with lighting design by Sophie Cassidy.
Belfast Girls will run from the 25th January until the 27th January at An Táin Arts Centre before transferring to the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, the Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda and Solstice Arts Centre in Navan.
Belfast Girls is presented in Association with The Lyric Theatre, Belfast and The North East Network (An Táin Arts Centre, Droichead Arts Centre, and Solstice Arts Centre, Navan).
Tickets are available from www.antain.ie or from An Táin Arts Centre’s Box Office on Crowe Street or by telephone 042-9332332. Box Office opening hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm.