Dublin Theatre Festival

Dublin Theatre Festival
Photo: dublintheatrefestival.com
The Dublin Theatre Festival is the longest-running specialized theatre festival in Europe. It was founded by theatre impresario Brendan Smith. The festival takes place each fall, presenting the best of international and Irish theatre to a wide audience. Over the years, it has become one of Ireland’s most important cultural events.

In the 1950s, the Irish Tourist Board was interested in promoting and supporting events held during the so-called “shoulder months” of the tourist season – May, June, September and October. Brendan Smith, the founder of the Brendan Smith Academy of Acting and the director of the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, successfully sought a grant and founded the Dublin Theatre Festival. The inaugural festival was held in 1957.

The Dublin Theatre Festival aims to bring the best available international productions to Dublin and to balance the program with Irish productions, focusing on new plays. Despite some initial problems with programming (for example, in 1958 the Archbishop of Dublin refused to give his blessing to Sean O’Casey’s play The Drums of Father Ned, and the production was dropped), the festival has thrived since the very first years of its existence. Unlike the Edinburgh International Festival that features theatre, opera, music and dance, the Dublin Theatre Festival focuses solely on theatre.

The Dublin Theatre Festival lasts for more than two weeks, beginning on the last Thursday of September and ending on the second Saturday of October. The festival uses about a dozen venues throughout Dublin, offering its attendees a rich and diverse program of contemporary productions, including new works by Ireland’s leading playwrights.

Along with productions, the program of the Dublin Theatre Festival includes meetings with actors and directors, discussions, workshops, and other events for both theater-goers and industry professionals. Besides, the festivals hosts various cultural events throughout the year, such as public play readings, educational events in schools, etc.

Dublin Theatre Festival

Photo: Andy Phillipson




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