A world of theatre coming to Offaly this week

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Birr’s festival calendar rounds off in fine fashion this week with the sixth edition of Scripts taking centre stage from 28-30 November.

2019 is the most creative festival to date with the picturesque Offaly town playing host to an ensemble of playwrights, actors, producers and directors for three fantastic days next month. 

This year, the programme is absolutely jam-packed with high-quality performances and workshops for all theatre lovers. Weekend Warrior, written and performed by Tony Doyle, will open the festival at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre on Thursday, November 28.

While two new site-specific pieces also catch the eye; Gone Full Havisham in the Bridal Suite in Dooly’s Hotel and Car Show, an immersive theatre experience that will drive you through six different stories where you can bear full witness to all the drama that unfolds from the privacy of the back seat and through the rearview mirror. 

For budding or established writers in the area, the three top class Workshops. Writing For You - Why Writing Is Good For Your Mental Health with Stella O’Malley and in association with MAM (Mothers, Artists, Makers) and I am not a Robot with Gina Moxley. 

On Friday, November 29, children’s theatre is the focus at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre with Susie and the Story Shredder by Bombinate Theatre. All stories are banned in the kingdom of Levitas. King Levi says that stories make your brain go fuzzy and your hands turn green. It’s Susie and Shredder’s job to enforce the King’s law, shredding stories from dawn ‘til dusk. But on this Susie will read a story for the very first time. Suitable for 6+ with a run time of 50 minutes.

The State of Play is a four-part radio documentary series interrogating the art of playwriting. Producer Siobhán Donnellan (Winner of Scripts 2013) and Ruth Smith (RTÉ Radio One Simply Folk) will document the playwriting process through interviews with the three selected playwrights, feedback from mentor Eugene O’Brien, insight into the festival from directors Angela Ryan-Whyte and Lisa Daly and commentary from professional actors as to what they look for in a strong play/script. The series will be recorded in Birr throughout the week of Scripts 2019. The series will be broadcast on Midlands 103 in 2020. 

The festival will culminate on Saturday, November 30 with Nurtured New Works, a special performance of the three brand new Irish plays, specially selected to be part of the festival by professional actors including Cathy Belton, Diarmuid Noyes and Tony Doyle. After a week of mentoring and editing with Offaly writer Eugene O’Brien and directing by Fishamble’s Jim Culleton, the winning play will be selected.

SCRIPTS co-Artistic Director is Angela Ryan Whyte said: "It's a joy to open this 2019 programme, which is certainly our most varied selection to date. There is something for everyone and we have pushed boundaries with productions appearing in every nook and cranny of beautiful Birr! We're delighted to have brought together some of Ireland's brightest and most sought-after artists to be part of Scripts 2019. It's a wonderful opportunity for audiences to connect with top-class theatre here in the heart of the Midlands."

For the full SCRIPTS 2019 programme & to book your tickets: www.scriptsireland.com