Off-Broadway's Irish Rep is mostly known for its revivals of classic works by Irish writers or plays with Irish or Irish-American content. Its current mainstage show is Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession, a well-reviewed, extended production starring Dana Ivey.
The first of the monthly readings in the series is From These Green Heights by Dermot Bolger, at 3 PM Jan. 27 at Irish Rep's home on West 22nd Street.
As part of its mission statement, The Irish Repertory Theatre "encourages the development of new works focusing on the Irish and Irish American experience, as well as a range of other cultures."
From These Green Heights "is a darkly poetic play tracing 40 years in the life of a family living — and barely surviving — in north Dublin's notorious Ballymun council estates. The seven towers of Ballymun, long a ravaged symbol of urban despair in Dublin, have been demolished since the summer of 2004 as part of Ballymun's regeneration project." Bolger's timely play was produced at the Axis Art Centre, Ballymun and received The Irish Times/ESB Award for Best New Irish Play of 2004.
Playwright Dermot Bolger was born in Dublin in 1959 and has worked as a factory hand, a library assistant and a publisher. His nine novels include "The Family on Paradise Pier," "The Journey Home" and "Night Shift," which received the AE Memorial Prize. His debut play, The Lament of Arthur Cleary (1989) won the Samuel Beckett Award.
Bolger's other plays have been produced by The Gate Theatre (later filmed by RTÉ Television) and The Abbey Theatre (where he was playwright-in-association). A former Writer Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin, and a published poet, Bolger also ran Raven Arts Press until 1992, co-founded, and is currently executive editor of New Island Books.
Kara Manning, Irish Rep literary manager, hopes that the reading series will "give playwrights, both emerging and more established, the invaluable opportunity to develop their new work in a supportive, safe environment and will also introduce some Irish playwrights, especially those who might not yet have the New York recognition they merit, to an American audience."
Irish Rep is run by Charlotte Moore, artistic director; Ciarán O'Reilly, producing director; and Patrick A. Kelsey, managing director.
Additional readings are scheduled for Friday, February 24; Friday, March 24; Friday, April 28; Friday, May 26; Tuesday, June 27; Tuesday, July 25; Tuesday, August 22; Friday, September 29; Friday, October 27; Friday, November 17; and, Friday, December 15.
All readings are at 3 PM and are located at The Irish Repertory Theatre (132 West 22nd Street).
Tickets are free and the reading is open to the public. Seating is limited. RSVP by calling the Irish Repertory Theatre box office at (212) 727-2737 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit www.irishrep.org.