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School of the Arts Forges Partnership with Bristol (UK) Old Vic Theatre

Posted on 6 February 2014 | 11:43 am

The College of Charleston School of the Arts has sparked an exciting connection with The Bristol Old Vic Theatre, the UK’s longest continuously running theatre. The publicly funded company is known for its production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for the 2013 Spoleto Festival USA, and multiple Tony Award-winning production of “War Horse.”

[Related: Learn more about The Bristol Old Vic Theatre.]

On February 19, 2014, the Charleston community will have the opportunity to see firsthand the early impact of the Old Vic’s international partnership with the College’s Department of Theatre and Dance at a special preview event of the 1991 Tony Award-winning “Dancing at Lughnasa” by Brian Friel. The play will be directed by the Old Vic’s own Miranda Cromwell a Bristol-based director, choreographer and performer, specializing in devised physical performance, and a rising star on the British theatre scene.

[Related: Learn more about Director Miranda Cromwell.]

Set in County Donegal, Ireland, in 1936, the play is steeped in Irish culture. Widely regarded as Friel’s masterpiece, “Dancing at Lughnasa” tells a semi-autobiographical story of the playwright’s childhood. The story of the five Mundy sisters is told through the memories of Michael, the love child of one of the sisters. The play tells of a bitter harvest, and a time of reaping what has been sown, as well as the introduction of the sisters’ first radio, which provides relief from their spare existence with brief, colorful bursts of music and gives free reign to the women’s love of dancing.

The Special Preview will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 at 6:45 p.m. and will include a pre-reception, followed by the performance and a dessert reception with the director, cast and crew. Tickets are $75 ($60 for current College of Charleston theatre season subscribers) and are available online at blogs.cofc.edu/sota/2014/01/13/lughnasa/ or by calling (843) 953-6527.

The show also is part of the College’s regular theatre season and will run Feb. 20-25 at 7:30 p.m., with the Sunday show at 3 p.m. only. Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for senior citizens and College of Charleston students and employees, with I.D. Tickets may be purchasd online at theatre.cofc.edu or by calling (843) 953-5604.

For the College’s production, theatre students Avery Cole, Caroline Connell, Julia Hooks, Gregory Mangieri, Sadia Matthews, Margaret Nyland, Peter Spearman and Cameron Tubbs comprise the cast. Christian Crum is the technical director, and Corinne Williams is the stage manager. Cierra Tinnell is the costume designer, and Professor Charlie Calvert is the scenic designer. The lighting designer is Alexia Sosa.

[Related: See the current School of the Arts theatre productions.]

“Dancing at Lughnasa” was originally presented at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 1990. It showed at London’s National Theatre in 1991, winning the  Olivier Award for Best Play, followed by its Broadway premiere in October 1991, where it won the Tony Award for Best Play as well as a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Play.

The Irish Repertory Theatre, Manhattan, staged a new 20th anniversary production of the play in 2011, directed by artistic director Charlotte Moore.

“Dancing at Lughnasa” was adapted for film in 1998 starring Meryl Streep as Kate Mundy and directed by Pat O’Connor. The film won an Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor in a Female Role by Brid Brennan.

For more information, contact Nandini McCauley at mccauleyn@cofc.edu or 843.953.8228.

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