Origin’s 1st Irish Launch Party


by Marilyn Lester


When the Irish get together for a ceili, you can be certain that a grand time will be had by all. In this case the celebration is the ninth annual 1st Irish Theatre Festival under the artistic direction of George C. Heslin, which runs from September 1st to October 3rd. 1st Irish is an annual event of shows, as well as special events and parties out-of-competition, hosted by diverse arts organizations across the city. This year, on the performance side, 1st Irish showcases eight original theatrical productions from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Dublin, New York and Toronto, playing at various venues in New York.


Several free out-of-competition events include a reading of “Here Comes the Night,” by Rosemary Jenkinson, at The American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue. “A Novel Event,” presented by the W.B. Yeats Society, is a reading and conversation with Irish writers Tony Macaulay and Daniel Mallen, scheduled for Friday, September 9 at the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South. On Thursday, September 22, “Friel’s Music” will be presented at the NYU Glucksman Ireland House at 1 Washington Mews. The program is a literary, dramatic and musical fusion in celebration of the late Irish playwright, Brian Friel.


Theatrical presentations include "Wilde at Home,” an immersive evening featuring scenes from Wilde’s work, reinvented by the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, directed by David Grant (September 24 and 25, and October 1 and 2, at 5pm and at 8pm at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, 120 Madison Avenue. How the Nuns of New York Tamed the Gangs Of New York by Turlough McConnell, directed by George C. Heslin, tells it tale through music, dance and stories. The work relates how the Sisters of Charity helped refugees from the famine deal with poverty and prejudice as they rebuilt their lives in America (Sunday, September 25 at 3pm, Sheen Center, 18 Bleecker Street).


Film is also part of the 1st Irish Festival; Gabriel Byrne is the subject of a documentary by Pat Collins in Stories from Home, screening at The NY Irish Center, 1040 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City. The Irish American Home Society in Glastonbury, CT is also host to several Irish-made films. Lastly, for those who enjoy good craic, the Festival’s Mid-Festival party takes place at Ryan’s Daughter, 350 East 85th Street, on Saturday, September 24th, starting at 10pm.


For details on the 1st Irish Festival and to learn more about Origin Theatre Company, a year-round New York company devoted to presenting the American premieres of new works by Europe’s contemporary playwrights, please visit. www.1stirish.org
and www.origintheatre.org


Photos: JK Clarke