Abbey theatre tour part of North/South arts initiative

The Abbey Theatre’s production of John B. Keane’s most celebrated play, Sive is touring to the Lyric this autumn as part of a new North/South touring initiative agreed by the Culture Ministers on both sides of the border.

Sivedirected byaward-winning director Conall Morrison,was a huge success at the Abbey in Dublin earlier this year, attracting 30,000 people during its two-month run.

Tickets for Sive went on sale today (Wed) at seven venues on the tour which opens in John B. Keane’s heartland of Kerry in mid-October. It runs at the Lyric in Belfast from 4 to 9 November and includes venues in Donegal, Limerick, Cork, Galway and Wexford, returning midway to the Abbey Theatre for a two-week run.

Speaking at the Abbey Theatre’s photocall to announce the tour, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said: “Sive is one of John B. Keane’s, and indeed Ireland’s, greatest plays.  I had the pleasure of attending a performance of Sive at the Abbey Theatre earlier this year and I am not surprised that it enjoyed a sell-out run.  I am delighted that the Abbey is going to be taking this production on tour and I am especially pleased that this tour will include Belfast.”

The Minister added: “This is the start of a new North/South touring initiative agreed by myself and Minister Ní Chuilín, and I would like to commend the Abbey Theatre and the two Arts Councils for bringing it to fruition.”

The Lyric’s new Executive Producer, Jimmy Fay, said he looked forward to welcoming the Abbey’s production of Sive to Belfast.

“I am very pleased to welcome the Abbey Theatre’s highly praised production of Sive, excellentlydirected by Conall Morrison,to the Lyric this autumn,” he said. “It was a huge success at the Abbey and we believe audiences will enjoy the play immensely here in Belfast.”

Fiach Mac Conghail, Director, Abbey Theatre said: “I am delighted to be touring one of the great plays in the Irish literary canon. In partnership with our seven regional venues, this joint funding from both Arts Councils enables the Abbey Theatre to reach new audiences across the whole of Ireland. Rooted in the social fabric of rural Ireland, Siveis one of John B. Keane’s most celebrated plays and speaks universally to us all about human cruelty and greed.”

Set in North Kerry in the 1950s, Sive centres on the beautiful eighteen-year- old Sive who lives with her uncle Mike and his wife Mena. Local matchmaker Thomasheen Seán Rua convinces Mike and Mena that Sive should marry the rich but old and haggard Seán Dóta. They agree to the arranged marriage in return for two hundred pounds but the deal proves disastrous for all.

The full cast for the Sive tour will be announced shortly.

The Abbey Theatre is currently on tour in Germany, at the RUHRFESTSPIELE in Recklinghausen, with its award winning production of Quietly by Belfast playwright Owen McCafferty.  The tour opened in mid-March and travelled to venues including the Lyric before returning to the Abbey Theatre’s Peacock stage for a two week run.  After Germany, the final leg of the tour is a four week run at London’s Soho Theatre from 27 May to 22 June.

The Abbey Theatre and Lyric Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.