PROMOTING Irish talent abroad, leading contemporary playwright Conor McPherson is shining a light on a host of native stars on the London stage with back-to-back productions of his works.
Featuring largely homegrown casts, McPherson (41) has enlisted several well-known Irish faces for both a revival of his masterpiece, 'The Weir', and the world premiere of his new dramatic offering, 'The Night Alive'.
Risteard Cooper, Ardal O'Hanlon, Dervla Kirwan and Peter McDonald star in the current version of his 1997 hit, which opened at Covent Garden's famous Donmar Warehouse Theatre last week.
Scheduled to run until June 8, 'The Weir' is set in a pub in rural Ireland, where the locals gather for the daily pint and begin to compete with one another after a female newcomer joins the community.
Winner of several awards, including the Laurence Olivier prize for Best New Play, it first opened at London's Royal Court before going on to the West End and Broadway.
It will run as part of back-to-back productions by McPherson and will be followed by the world premiere of his new project, 'The Night Alive', running from June 13 until July 27.
No doubt hoping his latest venture will prove equally as successful, McPherson has cast 'Love/Hate' actress Caoilfhionn Dunne in the lead female role. Joining her on the cast list are Brian Gleeson, the son of actor Brendan, Ciaran Hinds, Michael McElhatton and Jim Norton.
Dunne (28) joined RTE drama 'Love/Hate' in its third season as Lizzie, the sister of two IRA thugs, who eventually guns down Darren (Robert Sheehan) in the series finale last December.
The small-screen gangland assassin had already become a theatre veteran prior to her turn in Stuart Carolan's TV show, and has been treading the boards over the past six years, claiming parts in numerous high-profile productions, most recently 'King Lear' at the Abbey.
Meanwhile, Hinds has become the latest Irish actor to appear in 'Game of Thrones', and Gleeson has been shooting forthcoming films 'The Stag' and 'Standby', with 'Mad Men' actress Jessica Pare.