Watch Dear Ireland: The Abbey Theatre’s Historic Digital Theatre Project

I think we can all agree this Covid-19 thing sucks. It’s a cliche, but every cloud does have a silver lining. As much of a tech advocate as I’ve been over the years, seeing people of all ages appearing in video call screenshots has been heartwarming. While I’m not for one second suggesting this is better than the way things were, never before has being isolated also seen everyone so connected. I’ve heard many say they’ve never been so connected to some friends and family.

Let’s go further. I know many of you are always busy. Maybe you work late shifts or have sports training. And maybe that means you can’t enjoy some things like the theatre. Tonight, thanks to the Abbey Theatre, that changes as they stream a new composition on YouTube called Dear Ireland.

What Is Dear Ireland?

Over four nights (28 April – 1 May), 50 brand new monologues will be streamed on YouTube, commissioned by the Abbey Theatre as a rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis. Each piece of work was written and created in self-isolation by 100 participating artists.

It’s an experimental first for both the Abbey Theatre and many of the artists involved, in the producing and presenting of theatre through digital channels whilst the ongoing pandemic keeps theatre-makers and audiences from the stage. As I said at the outset, many have turned to technology during these trying times and the theatre is no different.

Who Is In Dear Ireland?

Some of the best-known names involved in Dear Ireland include Blindboy from The Rubber Bandits, Emmet Kirwan from RIOT! and Dublin Old School and the very well known Brendan Gleeson from everything that’s ever been excellent.

Here’s a full list of everyone involved.

1. Blindboy / Cathy Belton
2. Dermot Bolger / Dawn Bradfield
3. Pom Boyd / Brendan Gleeson
4. Sinéad Burke / Eleanor Walsh
5. TKB (Thommas Kane Byrne) / Ericka Roe
6. Dylan Coburn Gray / Leah Minto
7. Karen Cogan / Siobhán McSweeney
8. John Connors / Graham Earley
9. Kit de Waal / Peter Gowen
10. Shaun Dunne / Eva-Jane Gaffney
11. Iseult Golden / Marion O’Dwyer
12. Stacey Gregg / Conor MacNeill
13. Sarah Hanly / Denise Gough
14. Nancy Harris / Marty Rea
15. David Ireland / Abigail McGibbon
16. Colm Keegan / Owen Roe
17. Sonya Kelly / Deirdre Donnelly
18. Deirdre Kinahan / Bríd Ní Neachtain
19. Emmet Kirwan / Emmet Kirwan featuring Mike Donnelly
20. Darach Mac Con Iomaire / Eoin O Dubhghaill
21. Manchán Magan / Bríd Criomhthain
22. Aoife Martyn / Norma Sheahan
23. Owen McCafferty / Patrick O’Kane
24. Rosaleen McDonagh / Sorcha Fox
25. Frank McGuinness / Joan Sheehy
26. Meadhbh McHugh (New York) / Clare O’Malley
27. Una McKevitt / Katherine Lynch
28. Phillip McMahon / Caoilfhionn Dunne
29. Andrea Molino (Italy) / David Moss
30. Gina Moxley / Timmy Creed
31. Jimmy Murphy / Clare Dunne
32. Zoe Ní Riordáin / Seána Kerslake
33. Edna O’Brien / Stanley Townsend
34. Eva O’Connor / Amy McAllister
35. Joseph O’Connor / Kathy Rose O’Brien
36. John O’Donovan / Nicola Coughlan
37. Mark O’Halloran / Andrew Bennett
38. Jody O’Neill / Marie Mullen
39. Shane O’Reilly / Amanda Coogan
40. Felicia ‘Felispeaks’ Olusanya / Deirdre Molloy
41. Margaret Perry / Breffni Holahan
42. Ursula Rani Sarma / Owen McDonnell
43. Arthur Riordan / Rory Nolan
44. Ciara Elizabeth Smyth / Camille Lucy Ross
45. Abbie Spallen / Jolene O’Hara
46. Keith James Walker / Ashleigh Dorrell
47. Enda Walsh / Zara Devlin
48. Michael West / Mark Doherty
49. Carmel Winters / Lucianne McEvoy
50. Zhu Yi (China) / Julia Gu

The running order is also something unique. In between each monologue, there’s a three-minute break where the audience and creators can chat and discuss what they’ve seen.

Watch Dear Ireland From The Abbey Theatre

You’ll be able to watch the event here, at the top of our page, or over on the Abbey’s YouTube page. Here are the running times.

● 28 April – 7.30pm IST: Dear Ireland (Part 1) – 11 monologues – Live and then available for 24 hours

● 29 April – 7.30pm IST: Dear Ireland (Part 2) – 12 monologues – Live and then available for 24 hours

● 30 April – 7.30pm IST: Dear Ireland (Part 4) – 13 monologues – Live and then available for 24 hours

● 1 May – 7.30pm IST: Dear Ireland (Part 5) – 14 monologues – Live and then available for 24 hours

● 2 May – 12pm IST: Dear Ireland (Part 1 to 4) – 50 Monologues – Available for six months