Playwright: 
Brian Friel

Director: 
Brendan Coyle

Venue: 
Mountview Academy Theatre

Additional Cast:
Andy Watkins

Status:
Completed play. Performed from 2 February 2000 to 5 February 2000.

Dancing  at Lughnasa is the tale of 5 unmarried sisters who share a house in fictional town of Ballybeg, Donegal in rural Ireland. They are all very different individuals. Eldest sister Kate is the most conservative and leads the rest of the sisters in a hierarchic fashion, which creates a lot of tension especially between Christina and Kate, as Christina has an illegitimate child, Michael.

Rose the youngest sister is mentally handicapped and Kate serves as her guardian and parent thus leaving her own life on the shelf.  The family lives within the strains of economic breakdown brought about as the result Ballybeg’s narrow mindedness.  Dancing at Lughnasa is a simple tale of family life, displaying injustice, loyalty, and love.

The play draws similarities between pagan rituals in rural Ireland and life in Africa exhibited through the use of symbolism.

Set in an overly Roman Catholic Ireland, the sisters’ unwillingness to live according to the norms of the village is apparent.

This a memory play, set in August, 1936, and is told from the point of view of the adult Michael Evans, the narrator.  He recounts the summer in his aunts' cottage when he was seven years old.


  • 1990 Laurence Olivier Award and Broadway Award for Best New Play.