As plans for the new Irish Arts Center facility in Manhattan are rapidly taking shape, the center has announced its most ambitious ever theatrical production lineup including a first of its kind collaboration with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (arguably the most important theater space in the country) and also with public radio favorite WNYC.
The forthcoming collaborations represent a promising new direction for the scope and scale of the center’s work, which will excite supporters and add to the anticipation regarding artistic programming when the new facility opens in 2016.
The newly announced collaboration, which is part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival, features four productions from September through December which will include the incomparable Irish actor Olwen Fouere’s performance of riverrun, inspired by the voice of the river in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. The show will run from September 17-20.
Then three one-woman plays by Samuel Beckett, Not I, Footfalls, and Rockaby will be presented from October 7-12 directed by the playwright’s longtime friend Walter Asmus.
Beckett’s early radio play Embers will be staged by the groundbreaking Pan Pan Theatre Company from September 17-20. And finally playwright Mark O’Rowe’s critically acclaimed Howie the Rookie will perform from December 10-14, this time re-imagined as a one-man tour-de-force starring RTE Love/Hate star Tom Vaughan-Lawlor.
BAM Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo and Irish Arts Center Executive Director Aidan Connolly announced the collaboration. In a statement Melillo said, “I am thrilled to be partnering with Irish Arts Center and showcasing the brilliant work of great Irish writers like James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Mark O'Rowe in thoroughly contemporary re-tellings, as part of our 2014 Next Wave Festival.”
Connolly added, “BAM embodies everything we love – a contemporary sensibility, a global outlook, a civic engagement and most of all an unrelenting commitment to excellence and originality. What an honor for us to work in partnership with BAM to present these dynamic works in the 2014 Next Wave Festival, as we begin an exciting new phase in our organization’s history.”
Nest week James Joyce’s Dubliners will celebrate its 100th year in print with a performance at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space where WNYC in association with Irish Arts Center will present theatrical readings on Saturday, June 28 at 7 p.m. and Sunday June 29 at 4:30 p.m.
Conceived as a totally immersive theatrical experience, the performance will include an extended intermission featuring an Irish supper and of course drinks. For Joyceans, and for those who simply love Joyce’s most accessible book, it may well be the highlight of the year.
The BAM-IAC collaboration promises to be the first of several new programming partnerships to be announced in the coming weeks, and it arrives as the center is in the process of acquiring two pieces of city-owned land on which to build its new facility.
The new Irish Arts Center is being designed by the Irish government’s Office of Public Works in partnership with the New York firm Davis Brody Bond, which received acclaim this week for its outstanding work on the National September 11 Museum in Lower Manhattan. Construction is scheduled to begin next year.
Meanwhile, next week at the arts center the fourth annual Irish Gay and Lesbian Film Festival hosted by the Craic Fest will unspool on Friday, June 27. Screenings run from 7-8:30 p.m.; a two hour open bar reception follows.
Special guests are scheduled to attend include City Council members Corey Johnson, Jimmy Van Bramer and Daniel Dromm. Tickets are $15 in advance on Ovationtix.com or $20 donation at the door. Ticket includes films and after party.
Tickets for Dubliners are on sale now at www.thegreenespace.org/dubliners.