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2024 on stage: 20 plays, operas and dance works to see over the next 12 months

Stephen Rea brings Krapp back home, Hamilton comes to Dublin and Irish National Opera stages Salome

With reports that box office receipts increased several times over in 2023, we feel it safe to speculate that Covid-era hesitancy is no longer a big concern. For audiences filing into venues, The Irish Times has put together a bustling itinerary for 2024 – a year that includes Hugo Weaving and Olwen Fouéré as the president and first lady of a country in uproar, that finally brings the adrift New Englanders of Annie Baker’s drama to these shores, and that sees the first Irish dates for an obscure, little-known revue called Hamilton.

Krapp’s Last Tape

Project Arts Centre, Dublin, January 11th-February 3rd,

When Samuel Beckett wrote this play for the actor Patrick Magee, because of his “distinctly Irish voice”, it’s possible that the elderly Krapp, spending his birthday grudgingly listening to taped reflections by his thirtysomething self, was originally imagined to speak with a northern accent. After star turns by Michael Gambon and John Hurt, the Belfast-born actor Stephen Rea is set to bring Krapp back home, to wrestle with an unbearably long stretch of life and that “stupid bastard I took myself for 30 years ago”.

The President

Gate Theatre, Dublin, February 2nd-March 24th,

Hugo Weaving stars in this intriguing revival of an Austrian play from 1975 that is practically unheard of in English-speaking countries. The Gate might be attracted to the familiarly Beckettian tones of this darkly comic play about the rambling, besieged president of an unknown country who is holed up in a refuge while hearing reports from outside about a lost regime and fortune. Olwen Fouéré costars.

Little Women

Lyric Theatre, Belfast, February 3rd-March 2nd,

Jo March, the economically minded young writer at the centre of Louisa May Alcott’s coming-of-age novel, might appreciate the logic of the playwright Anne-Marie Casey, who cleaves her 2011 adaptation from a cast of 12 to a more budget-friendly eight. Director Emily Foran makes her large-scale debut with this saga of female ambition set during the American Civil War.



Ionad na Dromoda, Co Kerry, February 9th-14th,

A community centre nestled in the valleys of the Iveragh Peninsula is the venue for this triptych of plays about Celtic-language speakers and the challenges they face. The Irish third is written by Eva O’Connor; the rest are performed in Welsh and Scottish Gaelic. Produced by Fishamble.

The Juniper Tree

Grand Opera House Studio, Belfast, February 21st-24th,

Philip Glass and Robert Moran’s striking opera adaptation of the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale careens from the frenzied, jealous ravings of a paranoid stepmother to the lyrical birdsong of innocent children. Directed by Northern Irish Opera’s artistic director, Cameron Menzies.

Audrey or Sorrow

Abbey Theatre, Dublin, February 23rd-March 23,

Marie Mullen and Anna Healy Dow star in Marina Carr’s new supernatural drama about hidden family secrets and troublemaking ghosts. Directed by Caitríona McLaughlin, the Abbey’s artistic director.

The Making of Mollie

Ark, Dublin, February 23rd-March 16th,

In the Ark’s adaptation of Anna Carey’s charming novel for young adults, it’s Dublin in 1912, during the run-up to a decision on the Home Rule Bill, and a teenage girl’s life is changed when she discovers the suffragist movement.


Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin, March 12th-16th,

Irish National Opera stages the Richard Strauss work translated from Oscar Wilde’s play about the execution of John the Baptist. It says it will be presenting this bloodthirsty tale of rejection and revenge as a Succession-style power struggle.


Project Arts Centre, Dublin, March 20th-23rd,

In their previous play Talk Real Fine, Just Like a Lady, a version of the deaf playwright Teresa Deevy’s startling one-act The King of Spain’s Daughter, the performance artist Amanda Coogan and Dublin Theatre of the Deaf developed a sophisticated approach that allows both deaf and nondeaf audiences to follow them. Now they turn to Deevy’s unproduced ballet Possession, a telling of Táin Bó Cúailnge from Queen Maeve’s perspective.

Jilly Morgan’s birthday party

Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick, May 2nd-11th,

A lonely, self-conscious man (Pat Ryan) can’t help retreating back through time, to when a woman kissed him at a party, and picturing how his life could be different. Written by Liam McCarthy and directed by Joan Sheehy.

13 Tongues

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, May 14th-15th,

In this Dublin Dance Festival spectacle, artistic director Cheng Tsung-lung puts his stamp on Taiwan’s Cloud Gate company with this dance about a magician-like street performer from his childhood.

Circle Mirror Transformation

Gate Theatre, Dublin, May 24th-June 30th,

Róisín McBrinn, who directed the Gate’s outstanding production of Fun Home, turns to this early work by Annie Baker, the much-decorated American playwright whose plays have recently found audiences in London. Dublin’s first taste will be this subtly revelatory drama set in New England, revolving around a community drama class in which the theatre games seem better fitted to therapy than rehearsal. “Are we going to be doing any real acting?” a teenager complains, unaware she might be putting in the performance of her life.


Backstage Theatre, Longford, June 15th, and Project Arts Centre, Dublin, June 20th-23rd,

The choreographer Catherine Young’s new dance digs into the despondency of the internet era and weaves a journey back to the natural world via wisdom and ritual.


Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin, September 17th-November 16th,

No other play that premiered this century has extended so influentially across popular culture. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s magnificent musical follows the American statesman Alexander Hamilton as he and others race to win a revolution and forge an independent nation. “Dying is easy, young man. Living is harder,” the upstart Hamilton is told before the musical moves past insurrection and into cabinet infighting among the Founding Fathers, political scandal and the sad disintegration of a family, all told via a slick hip-hop-inflected songbook.


Project Arts Centre, Dublin, and An Grianan, Letterkenny, dates to be announced, and

The buzz is good around the young creatives who gave us the zippy, ambiguous play Piglet. The new offering, written by Ultan Pringle, revolves around two gay men slipping into a situationship and agonising over commitment.


Everyman, Cork, dates to be announced,

This new solo play by the surrealist comedian Tadhg Hickey is told via two narratives, one following a man’s struggle with alcoholism so he can be with his son, the other featuring a superhero who gains extraordinary abilities by drinking. The Everyman’s artistic director, Sophie Motley, directs.

La Maschere

Wexford Festival Opera, October,

A throwback to the delightful grifters of Italy’s commedia dell’arte era. Pietro Mascagni’s opera is set among a troupe of actors who stage a play about a loving couple enlisting the help of harlequins to thwart an arranged marriage.

Mother and Child

Glass Mask Theatre @Bestseller, Dublin, dates to be announced,

The Glass Mask company’s take on dinner theatre is no light entertainment. This past season, audiences gazed past their charcuterie boards and wine glasses to take in the cold-war drama Act, by the Swedish playwright Lars Norén, and elegiac American plays such as Samuel D Hunter’s The Few and Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night. Mother and Child is by Jon Fosse, the Norwegian writer who won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Mother Courage

Factory, Sligo, dates to be announced,

Sligo’s Blue Raincoat theatre company, breathlessly continental in its references – Jacques Lecoq, Eugène Ionesco, Tadeusz Kantor – next settles on Bertolt Brecht’s antiwar epic.

Youth’s the Season?

Abbey Theatre, Dublin, dates to be announced,

“My deah fellow! After all I am effeminate ... I was born that way,” says a young artist, proudly out as gay, in Mary Manning’s long-neglected play from 1931. Some might read this story of startlingly literate young things partying and languishing in the new Free State as a veiled portrait of a Bohemian set that included Micheál MacLiammóir, Hilton Edwards and Samuel Beckett. A funny, shocking tale about the generation “raised in gunfire”.