Irish queer icons take to the digital stage as part of Abbey Theatre's Dear Ireland finale

24 people will read postcards addressed to the nation about their experiences of being underrepresented in Irish society as part of Dear Ireland III.


Abbey Theatre’s captivating digital trilogy Dear Ireland will come to a close with one final show amplifying the voices of those who have gone underrepresented on stage and in Irish society.

Directors of the Abbey Theatre Graham McLaren and Neil Murray created Dear Ireland in April as a way for people to share their experiences with living through a time of crisis. The digital theatre trilogy sparked a national conversation and fostered a great sense of community. 

Audience members were invited to write their own letters about their experiences, 20 of which were read by Ireland’s leading actors. It has also been a wonderful way for artists to channel their creativity in lockdown, the dynamic MASER created a stunning look seen throughout Dear Ireland and composer Ray Harman provided an inspiring music piece for the project with vocals from singer Lisa Lambe. 

Directors of the Abbey Theatre Graham McLaren and Neil Murray looked back on the digital theatre project in a released statement, “We could never have imagined that Dear Ireland – which began, primarily, as a mechanism to get money to artists quickly, at the beginning of the pandemic – would capture the hearts of the nation. Thank you to the captivating 128 artists, 370 letter writers and 24 community groups for participating and to the 222,999 people who heard their calls.”

“Our hope for the Dear Ireland trilogy is that it will become a time-capsule, of sorts, for future generations, documenting the experiences of Ireland’s artists, audiences and a diverse range of communities during this momentous period in history,” the directors further wrote.

On December 17, Dear Ireland III will conclude by showcasing 24 three minute postcards from underrepresented communities in Irish society. Among the many voices being shared in this finale, trans activist Sara R. Phillips offers inspirational words. 

Alongside queer support services such as Aerach. Aiteach. Gaelach, BeLonG To and TENI, Dear Ireland III will feature the following organisations and community groups:

In a prepared statement, directors of the Abbey Theatre Graham McLaren and Neil Murray expressed, “We believe that to be a truly ‘national’ theatre, we need to create platforms for those who haven’t always been given the space to speak. The Abbey regularly works with groups that are underrepresented, disenfranchised and marginalised, giving them opportunities to develop work that needs a national stage.”

“We are delighted to welcome back a number of our 5×5 partners, alongside other collaborators that the Abbey has been forging relationships with, and we are proud to present their voices as part of Dear Ireland III. Some of the participants have been classed as the most ‘vulnerable’ during the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 has been tough on all of Irish society and, indeed, the entire world. This evening of spoken word, statement and song will try to make sense of the year that was and the impact it has had on the people of Ireland,” the directors continued. 

Dear Ireland  III  will premiere online at 7.30 pm on December 17 2020 over on the Abbey’s YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter channels. Closed captions are available as well as an Irish Sign Language interpreted stream.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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