Friday, 19 May 2017

ONstage Tonight at Festival: Toronto Irish Players

The Toronto Irish Players return to Theatre Ontario Festival for the first time in thirty years, representing the Association of Community Theatres—Central Ontario (ACT-CO), presenting John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar.

Toronto Irish Players (TIP) was founded by a group of Irish immigrants in 1975 and is Toronto’s only Irish community theatre group. Over the last 42 years, they have produced more than 82 plays, connecting Toronto’s Irish community and sharing Irish heritage with audiences throughout the Greater Toronto Area. From their first performance of Kathleen Ni Houlihan by William Butler Yeats at Toronto’s Caravan in 1975, TIP have presented classic and modern works by Irish playwrights including Sean O’Casey, Hugh Leonard, Brien Friel, Bernard Farrell, Hugh Leonard, Brendan Behan, Conor McPherson, James Joyce,  and TIP member Jonathon Lynn. Their productions are presented at The Alumnae Theatre in the heart of downtown Toronto. Over forty-two years they have seen bonds created, friendships forged, immigration and emigration, and multiple generations become part of TIP. Their current membership of 80-strong welcome new members every year.

Toronto Irish Players' production of Outside Mullingar
Chris Irving and Elaine O’Neal
Outside Mullingar tells the story of Anthony and Rosemary, two introverted eccentric souls straddling 40. Anthony has spent his entire life on a farm in rural Ireland. Rosemary lives next door, determined to have him, but watching the years slip away. With Anthony's father threatening to disinherit him and a land feud simmering between their families, Rosemary has every reason to fear romantic catastrophe. The playwright, John Patrick Shanley, is best known as the winner of both the Pulitzer Prize for ‘Drama’ as well as the Tony Award for ‘Best Play’ for Doubt. He also received an Oscar for ‘Original Screenplay’ for Moonstruck.

At the ACT-CO Festival in the Comedy Category, Toronto Irish Players received awards for Best Production, Best Lighting Design (Mary Jane Boon), and an Adjuudicator’s Award for “Magic As It Only Happens in the Theatre” (The design team), with nominations for Best Director (Harvey Levkoe), Best Performance by a Male in a Leading Role (Chris Irving as Anthony), Best Set Design (Wayne Cardinalli), Best Sound Design (John McQueen).

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