Thursday 12 December 2019

Bloody 'Hamlet' and a boy's legacy

Madeleine Keane

Great news for lovers of Shakespeare's greatest oeuvre - a stunning "Hamlet" is slated for the autumn. To mark the 450th anniversary of the Bard of Avon's birth, this year's Dublin Theatre Festival will present his most famous play in a spectacular production from one of the world's great theatre houses, Berlin's Schaubühne. Directed by Thomas Ostermeier, whose last festival production of Hedda Gabler in 2006 was a sell-out hit, this remarkable show will transform the stage of the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre to resemble a huge graveyard, covered in earth, blood and water. Since its 2008 première this Hamlet has toured worldwide to enormous critical and audience acclaim, to cities including Buenos Aires, Taipei, Sydney, Seoul, Athens and London. Now it makes its Irish première, officially opening the next Dublin Theatre Festival on Thursday 25 September 2014.

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Typical of the small island that produced poetry giants like Yeats and Heaney, that we'd be responsible for one of the biggest prizes in the world for a single poem. Arts and literature magazine The Moth recently announced the fourth year of the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize, sponsored by the eponymous cookery school and its indefatigable founder Darina Allen. With a first prize of €10,000 and three runner-up prizes of €1,000 each, the competition will be judged by award-winning poet Michael Symmons Roberts. It's open to everyone with the provisos that the work must be original and previously unpublished. For more details, visit

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Staying in the same county, the highly anticipated West Cork Literary Festival starts today. Jonathan Miller, Ben Okri, Blake Morrison and Jennifer Johnston are among a starry line up appearing at various venues in Bantry till July 12th. The programme also features Anne Michaels, Paula Meehan, Philip Hoare and one of the most exciting new Irish voices, Eimear McBride. A keynote event will see Fionbar Walsh discuss 'Donal's Mountain: the son who inspired a nation' his account of his boy who died aged 16 but left a powerful legacy. For bookings and more info

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