Three of Ireland’s most respected and exciting actresses share the Lyric stage together for the first time, playing three of the most recognisable and controversial Queens from history

In a thrilling live music theatre event, the Lyric, Belfast will host five performances of Conor Mitchell’s The Habsburg Tragedies’ starring the iconic Stella McCusker (Game of Thrones), Abigail McGibbon (Irish Times Theatre Award Winner) and Jo Donnelly (Chronicles of Long Kesh).

’The Habsburg Tragedies’, a double bill, takes two of Europe’s most scandalous women – and sisters – and draws parallels between then and now: Catherine of Aragon, Henry the eighth’s first wife, who would not buckle as Europe split in two, and her sister, Juana the Mad – Spain’s first female monarch and defier of the Inquisition her mother commanded.

Blending the worlds of melodrama and song-cycle, this is an experiment in live music performance and immersive theatre.

An audience will be lead into a re-imagined Lyric Theatre space and treated to performance up close. Bold, modern stage design and innovative lighting work in tandem with a new, baroque-influenced score.

With live chamber orchestra and an award-winning team, this sensual show is a must as we reconsider two of history’s most misremembered sisters; who they were and how they were forgotten.

The Belfast Ensemble is a fresh, bold collective of internationally acclaimed local artists who have come together to make work here. Their ultimate aim is to tour that work as ‘brand Belfast’ and encourage other world-class artists to come to the city to perform.

After nearly a year in development, the city’s newest arts organisation The Belfast Ensemble launches with this female led powerhouse of a theatrical event

“This is the beginning of something very exciting for the city. We are Belfast artists who want to make work for the city, then take that work to the world. We want Belfast to have a footprint on the stages of the globe – a presence. We see performance as a calling card for our country. By reaching out, we’ll say ‘Berlin, we are Belfast. Come make work with us. Moscow, bring a show. Cape Town, send a script!’ We go there, they come here. Simple. Belfast has always been a city with a loud voice. It’s time to make it heard abroad. That, I believe, is how we improve the fare for audiences here: participation with excellence.” 

Conor Mitchell, inaugural artist director of The Belfast Ensemble

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The Habsburg Tragedies appears at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast 12-15 of April at 8pm. (Matinee performance Saturday 15th at 3pm.)

Tickets are available at or call box office on 028-9038-1081


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