In the Olivier Theatre, London's National Theatre opens its revival of Brian Friel's Olivier-winning play Dancing at Lughnasa April 18. Previews began April 6 for the engagement which will play through May 27.
It's 1936, and harvest time has come in Ballybeg, a village in the Ireland's northwestern county, Donegal. Five sisters living in poverty are struggling to raise seven-year-old Michael while also caring for their Uncle Jack. As they fight and love, yearn and survive, the family's world arrives on the brink of change during the Festival of Lughnasa where pagan and Christian traditions convene.
Siobhán McSweeney (Derry Girls), Alison Oliver (Conversations with Friends), Louisa Harland (Derry Girls) Bláithín Mac Gabhann, and Justine Mitchell star as the play's leading five sisters. Joining them in the cast are Ardal O’Hanlon (Father Ted), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, and Tom Riley. Sean Donegan, Lauren Farrell, George Turner, Amy Brown, and Caitríona Williams serve as understudies.
Directed by Josie Rourke, the production features set and costume design by Robert Jones, lighting design by Mark Henderson, choreography by Wayne McGregor, compositions by Hannah Peel, sound design by Emma Laxton, and video design by Douglas O’Connell. Casting is by Alastair Coomer.
Dancing at Lughnasa made its Broadway premiere in 1991 at the Plymouth Theatre where it began previews October 11 and opened October 24. It closed a year later on October 25 and was recognized with eight Tony nominations. Of those, it won the awards for Best Play, Best Direction of a Play, and Best Featured Actress in a Play for Bríd Brennan's performance.
Go inside the rehearsal room with the gallery below.