Major new production takes a fresh look at The Playboy of the Western World

One of the most iconic Irish plays The Playboy of the Western World, written by JM Synge, a Lyric Theatre and Dublin Theatre Festival co-production in association with the Belfast International Arts Festival, has been reimagined for 2019 to make it a play of our times. One of the highlights of this year’s festival programme and directed by Oonagh Murphy, this new production will take a fresh look at this Irish classic, while also introducing it to a whole new generation.  The play will run at Lyric Theatre 8 Oct-2 Nov.

John Millington Synge is one of Ireland’s greatest writers and a key figure in the Irish Literary Revival. Met with controversy when it was first staged at the Abbey Theatre in 1907, his brutally hilarious masterpiece, The Playboy of the Western World, is about life on the margins and the lengths we go to, to create a reality more exciting than the place we find ourselves.

Pegeen (Eloïse Stevenson) is fed up. She’s not getting younger and is desperate to escape the confines of a life stuck in the middle of nowhere. When the stranger Christy Mahon (Michael Shea) arrives at her father’s shebeen, with a story that sets the village talking, he is welcomed with admiration by the locals, even Pegeen. But all is not as it seems, and soon the playboy’s past threatens to catch up with him.

Looking forward to the co-production Executive Producer of Lyric Theatre, Jimmy Fay said;
“ This is a very exciting co-production of The Playboy of the Western World. Not only is it directed by the amazingly talented Oonagh Murphy but has an insanely talented cast and production team. We are delighted to be working with Dublin Theatre Festival in association with Belfast International Arts Festival in a production, which we feel, will help audiences to not only take a fresh look at the play but to bring it to a whole new generation.”

The Playboy of the western world

Willie White, Dublin Theatre Festival Artistic Director, commented;

“I’m delighted to be collaborating with the Lyric Theatre, on The Playboy of the Western World, a play that we think we know well but that I’m sure Oonagh Murphy’s production will reveal exciting new dimensions to. As a festival, we rely on the people and the resources of companies and producing houses to create work and the Lyric is a brilliant partner in this.”

Richard Wakely, Artistic Director, Belfast International Arts Festival added;

“A daring fellow is the jewel of the world… says Michael Flaherty in Synge’s masterpiece The Playboy of the Western World and all of us at Belfast International Arts Festival are delighted to be partnering with the Lyric Theatre to feature the reimagining of this dramatic gem in our 57th festival edition.”

The Playboy of the Western World runs at Lyric Theatre from 8 Oct-2 Nov (Tues – Sat: 7.30pm Sat & Sun Matinee: 2.30pm).  Ticket prices start from £12. Schools performance on 17th Oct at 11.30am. For further information on booking, ticket availability and performance times visit

The Playboy of the Western World is supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funding.


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