Blog : Theatre

THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET WILDE AT THE MAC

THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET WILDE AT THE MAC

The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde’s most famous farce, is set to take to the MAC stage in Belfast this month. Regarded as one of his finest works, this humorous take on Victorian high society is arguably one of the Irish playwright’s most enduring comedies, with some of the funniest and well-known lines of any of Wilde’s plays.

A new co-production by Bruiser Theatre Company and the MAC, showing exclusively at the MAC this spring, The Importance of Being Earnest will open for a three-week run from 24 March until 15 April 2017.

The recurring themes of marriage, courtship and mundane social obligations ring as true today in this punchy retelling of the classic as when Wilde first put pen to paper.

Boasting some of the funniest lines in the English language, this is Earnest for a 2017 audience interpreted by an all-male cast.

Starring Joseph Derrington as protagonist Algernon Moncrieff and Joseph O’Malley as Jack Worthing, who become entangled in a hilarious plot, forcing each to maintain their fictitious personae ‘Earnest’ to win the hearts of two endearing ‘women’.

Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC, said: “The MAC is an organisation that champions new, innovative artistic experiences for audiences and artists alike. We’re delighted to present Wilde’s classic in Bruiser Theatre Company’s vibrant theatrical style.  The Importance of Being Earnest will be a guaranteed night of entertaining fun for those familiar with and new to Oscar Wilde.”

Lisa May, Director, Bruiser Theatre Company said: “Our adaption of The Importance of Being Earnest is a real treat for lovers of classic Wilde, but also for theatre-goers looking for an all-out comedy night at theatre. In our version, we stay true to Wilde’s original words and characters, but deliver in the unique Bruiser style.

“We’ve been working hard to tackle Wilde’s comic masterpiece – bringing to the fore timeless themes of relationships and identity, still as relevant to audiences today as ever.”

For theatre-goers seeking to embrace an added taste of the Victorian era before the show, the MAC’s in-house café and restaurant NATIVE will be offering a delightful afternoon tea spread from just £13 per person before the 25 March matinee.

Tickets for The Importance of Being Earnest and the one-off afternoon tea at NATIVE are now on-sale at themaclive.com.

 

ENDS//

PINOCCHIO COMES ALIVE AT THE MAC THIS CHRISTMAS

PINOCCHIO COMES ALIVE AT THE MAC THIS CHRISTMAS

pinocchio-comes-alive-this-christmas-at-the-mac-pic-2This Christmas the MAC, Belfast’s multi award-winning arts venue, is thrilled to introduce a new generation of theatre-goers to the magic of Pinocchio. The modern retelling of the classic tale by the hugely successful children’s theatre company Cahoots NI, is proudly sponsored by Phoenix Natural Gas and will take to the stage over the festive period from Tuesday 29 November until Sunday 1st January 2017.

This is the simple story of a puppet who longed to be a real boy. Searching for a family to call his own, Pinocchio’s adventures take him to school, to The Land of Grand Illusions and ultimately back to his father Gepetto in his quest to become a real boy.

This family musical is perfect for six years plus, but younger audiences will enjoy the live music and the dazzling magic that local company Cahoots NI is renowned for. Directed by Paul Bosco McEneaney, expect thrilling acts of illusion that will leave you bewildered.

Paul explains: “The story starts with us meeting Gepetto, who like every parent, doesn’t always get it right. In his wood cabin one magical day, he begins to work on his latest carving and can’t believe it when that piece of wood begins to talk back. Young audiences will love seeing Pinocchio come to life, literally, on stage.

He then gets into all sorts of mis-adventures and antics but you’ll be willing him to do the right thing along the way. In the end, it’s not about Pinocchio being naughty or telling the odd white lie, but about the age-old truth that children need to discover the world for themselves. We’ve worked hard to create a magical, but realistic world for Pinocchio on stage – we recommend that you keep your eyes peeled as there will be things going on that you just won’t quite believe.”

Speaking about this year’s family show, Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC said:

“I’m so pleased that we’re working with Cahoots NI again in this all-new coproduction. We have promised to bring the magic of Pinocchio to local audiences this Christmas at the MAC. It’s a classic tale that many of us are familiar with, but Cahoots NI have done an incredible job in making it their own; this is sure to unlike anything you’ll have seen before.

“As a creative hub for everyone, the MAC works hard to ignite the imaginations of all our visitors from young to old. That’s why we have put lots in place to surround the Christmas show so that from the moment you step into the building, the whole experience is magical. From Gepetto’s log cabin, recreated in our front window to the amazing Phoenix Wishing Wood created by artists on the ground floor where families can place their Christmas wish, there’s lots happening for all ages – much of it free.

So, if you’ve never been before, I’d highly recommend a visit to the MAC over the Christmas period – even just to pop in to check out our free family room and huge Christmas tree, everyone is welcome.”

Cathy Magovern, Marketing Manager at Phoenix Natural Gas, said:

“After 20 years in Northern Ireland, Phoenix Natural Gas is at the heart of many homes and we are delighted to continue to support growing families through sponsoring the MAC’s Christmas production of Pinocchio. It’s an exciting production and a world-class creative venue which we are proud to sponsor this holiday season.

We’re particularly looking forward to opening the very special Phoenix Wishing Wood in the heart of the MAC, as a free experience for families when they visit. Simply make a wish at the Phoenix Wishing Well and Phoenix will be making that wish come true for one lucky child this festive season. Soak up the magic of the MAC as it sparks the imagination to inspire your wishes, and it could be your family having a dream come true this Christmas.”

Tickets for Pinocchio at the MAC are now available, priced at £10 for children and £16-25 for adults. For more information about the show or to book a ticket, visit themaclive.com or call the MAC on (028) 9023 5053.

 

ENDS

MICHAEL COLLINS BROUGHT TO LIFE AT THE MAC

MICHAEL COLLINS BROUGHT TO LIFE AT THE MAC

actor-dominic-mchale-as-michael-collins-on-stage-in-the-great-arrangement-pic-2From the 22-24 September, the MAC will transport audiences to pre-treaty Ireland as the forging of a nation is retold from the perspective of Michael Collins, as his romance blossoms with the woman who became his fiancé, Kitty Kiernan.

In a post-Brexit Northern Ireland, where the question of borders is ever-more prevalent, this is certainly a play for today.  The action takes place in a country in turmoil, as Collins and the Irish delegation negotiate what would become the Anglo Ireland Treaty of 1921, a treaty that would shape the future of 20th century Ireland.

Patrick Talbot’s play, A Great Arrangement, which he also directs, opened this week in Dublin, and comes to the MAC in Belfast for just three nights.  The show has been celebrated for its historical accuracy, while drawing on the illuminating love letters between Collins and Kiernan, alongside Collins’ inspirational speeches, and newspaper reports from the time. It is packed full of drama and judging by the audience response so far, Belfast audiences will not be disappointed.

Actor Dominic McHale rises to the challenge of reprising the formidable Michael Collins, bringing to the stage an impassioned performance with intensity, vigour and power. While Irene Kelleher portrays the love of his life, Kitty, in a show full of drama, rich history and emotion.

Writer and Director Patrick Talbot says: “I was interested in presenting a fresh perspective on Collins. Traditionally he is presented as the soldier and the man of action but in this play I focus on Collins the political leader and budding statesman, but also the young man falling very much in love and imagining what it might be like to have a somewhat normal settled existence, something that eluded him for all of his short adult life.’   

In preparation for bringing these characters to life on the stage, the cast visited Béal na Bláth, the site of the ambush where Michael Collins was killed by anti-Treaty forces.

“That was an incredibly powerful and poignant visit. It really helped us both to establish a connection with the lives of both Michael (Collins) and Kitty (Kiernan),” explained Dominic McHale who plays the lead role.

“What I find particularly moving about the Kiernan-Collins relationship is that amid incredible pressure, essentially carrying the weight of a nation, both found the time to write these endearing and revealing letters to one another providing comfort and support to the other.

“While obviously it was a very testing time, there are moments of humour and light too, like Kitty reminding Collins to go to Mass.  They could perhaps be described as Ireland’s first power couple,” added Kelleher.

Witness Collins as you’ve never seen him portrayed before – with words of uncertainty, fear for the future and talk of daily life and love.

A Great Arrangement is playing the MAC in Belfast from 22-24 September, the only dates in Northern Ireland. For more information or to book your tickets, visit themaclive.com or call the MAC on (028) 9023 5053.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  • Writer/Director – Patrick Talbot: Patrick Talbot is the adaptor / director of the critically acclaimed ‘God Bless the Child”, based on stories by Frank O’Connor, which toured Ireland in 2015 and 2016, including visits to the Gaiety Theatre Dublin, the Cork Opera House and the Lyric Theatre Belfast. He was Artistic Director/CEO of The Everyman Cork between 2001 and 2011.
MAC BELFAST AND PHOENIX NATURAL GAS LAUNCH NEW ARTS AND BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP

MAC BELFAST AND PHOENIX NATURAL GAS LAUNCH NEW ARTS AND BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP

The MAC, Belfast’s award-winning arts venue, and Phoenix Natural Gas, are delighted to announce the details of the MAC’s s comprehensive Christmas programme; the first events programme to be supported by the new title sponsor. The programme this year proves to be even more popular than ever and has already got off to a flying start with a number of dates for the MAC’s family show, Pinocchio, already sold out.

Each year the MAC presents a host of family events for the festive season, that has been one of the key drivers in its increased visitor figures which rose to an impressive 311,000 last year alone, more than 60% of what was forecast for the venue*.

Likewise, Phoenix is marking a milestone year as the company celebrates its 20th anniversary, so the partnership between two of Northern Ireland’s leading brands seemed fitting.

Visitors to the MAC travel from across Northern Ireland and beyond, either as part of the MAC’s learning and outreach programme or as independent gallery visitors and theatre goers.

It seems mad to think about Christmas in June but that’s exactly what the MAC and Phoenix are planning towards.  Now celebrating its fifth Christmas, the MAC has become a place where new family traditions are created.  Many visitors have and will come to see the light switch-on, the unveiling of the magical Phoenix Natural Gas Christmas window and to watch the MAC’s anchor show, Pinocchio co-produced with award-winning theatre company Cahoots NI.

This year is anticipated to be the venue’s biggest year to date regards visitor numbers with the MAC set to welcome over 3,500 school children through its doors and over 10,000 families. Having already achieved 30% of its Christmas ticket sales in May, including seven sell-out school performances, the MAC has developed exceedingly strong relationships with local schools – some of whom are returning for their fifth Christmas visit in the MAC’s short, yet thriving, history.

Anne McReynolds, Chief Executive at the MAC, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to be working with our partners, Phoenix Natural Gas, who are supporting our Christmas programme. A MAC Christmas is something very special and has quickly become a firm tradition for many schools and families across Northern Ireland. 

Just like Phoenix, we share a commitment to providing exceptional service to our customers from Northern Ireland and we look forward to announcing some very exciting plans together very soon.”

 

Michael McKinstry, Chief Executive for Phoenix Natural Gas, said:

“We are very excited about this partnership with the MAC, and as we approach our 20th anniversary this Christmas it gives us a real opportunity to celebrate our commitment to the community that we serve.

“We are very proud of our strong corporate social responsibility programme and we believe that the MAC’s additional programmes of support for communities and schools during the festive period are reflective of our vision and ideals. We look forward to a strong and creative partnership together.”

As part of that partnership, thanks to support from Phoenix, visitors to the MAC can expect to find the enchanting ‘Wishing Wood’ where families will be encouraged to make a wish. Just in time for Christmas, Phoenix Natural Gas will help to make one extra-special wish come true for at least one lucky family.  More details coming soon.

For more information on the MAC or to enquire about the Christmas programme, including the upcoming production of Pinocchio, please visit themaclive.com.

 

*From targets set in the Benefits Realisation Plan in 2011.

BELFAST VENUE SET TO RESTAGE LE TOUR DE FRANCE BATTLE

BELFAST VENUE SET TO RESTAGE LE TOUR DE FRANCE BATTLE

Recreating the dramatic scenes of the 2000 Tour de France, the MAC Belfast is set to welcome 2Magpies Theatre, for a uniquely dramatic show Ventoux that recreates the gruelling contest between Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani during the punishing Mont Ventoux stage of the historical race.  The timing is fitting as the second edition of the Gran Fondo Giro D’Italia takes places on the city this Sunday.

Starring two actors, two bikes, and a battle that captured the world, Ventoux charts the illustrious sporting and personal lives of both Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong who’s highly publicised doping allegations ultimately led to the end of both former champions’ sporting careers; Armstrong having his Tour de France championship victories revoked and Pantani losing his life to substance abuse in 2004.

Utilising stationary road bicycles, stunning visuals of the taxing Mont Ventoux and in-race audio from the actual 2000 Tour de France, the unmissable Ventoux restages the momentous race unlike you have ever seen before.

Speaking of the physical challenges in the production, Tom Barnes, one of the actors starring in Ventoux, said:

“The Tour de France is physically and mentally demanding, and we’ve translated that mentality into Ventoux. The show is the same length as it took Pantani and Armstrong to ascend Mont Ventoux in 2000, and is testing of us as the performers. The show includes the tough training regimes it takes to become a professional cyclist, so the front rows might see or smell the sweat. It’s physically demanding beyond most productions you will have seen before.”

“The tour for us has been brilliant so far. It started the same day as the Tour de Yorkshire finished in Scarborough and ends on the last day of the Tour de France. In a way this is like our very own Tour de France. It’s great seeing new audiences coming for the love of cycling.”

“But that is also an important aspect of what our production is about. Yes, both men fell victim to doping scandals, one even losing his life to substance abuse, but both were incredibly focused and determined to succeed – pushing their bodies to their limits.”

The Mont Ventoux stage of the 2000 Tour de France was once regarded as one of the greatest races the cycling community had ever witnessed. Pantani, winner of the 1998 Tour de France, and Armstrong, winner in 1999, were neck-and-neck against each other as nail-biting spectators the world over watched on, unaware that both athletes were leading a drug-fuelled charge toward the finish line.

The MAC will host two showings of Ventoux on June 9th and 10th.  Online tickets are sold out but a limited number of restricted view seats will be available on the door each night.

To complement the show, the MAC’s Book Club on June 9th will be cycling inspired. The latest read, over a glass of wine, is Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by David Walsh, the Sunday Times journalist who was one of a small group during Lance Armstrong’s so-called ‘Tour of Renewal’, prepared to raise awkward questions about his seemingly superhuman feats.

For more information on Ventoux or the MAC Book Club, visit themaclive.com or contact the box office on 028 9023 5053.