A scene from Changing Room, which will be staged at Michelle’s Boutique on the Main Street

Tenth Scripts Festival for Birr next month

Scripts: Ireland’s Playwriting Festival will return for its tenth outing in Birr, from July 11 - 14.

The four-day festival is back with a thrilling programme of live theatre and workshops, celebrating the best of contemporary Irish theatre.

Dedicated to nurturing and showcasing the finest new plays from emerging and established playwrights, the vibrant event transforms the historic Birr Theatre & Arts Centre into a buzzing hub of creativity and innovation. This year, audiences will be treated to a diverse lineup of staged readings, full productions and engaging workshops, all helmed by talented Irish artists.

Some of the theatre highlights include The Dead House, written and performed by Martin Warde, which will be performed at Boyd’s Funeral Home on Thursday 11 July. The innovative pop-up play, Changing Room - first developed at Scripts in 2022 - will be staged at Michelle’s Boutique on the Main Street while comedy drama Truth, Love or Promise by Nuala McKeever and Sugar, a comedy with a big heart set in the Mallow sugar factory prior to its closure will both be performed at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre.

For those interested in developing their writing skills, there’s an impressive lineup of workshops across the festival with special guests Rían Smith from The Abbey Theatre, David Horan, Artistic Director at Bewley’s Café Theatre as well as others on topics like Promoting Female Writers, The Role of AI in the Creative Process and Where The Stage Meets the Digital Age.

This year also sees the expansion of programming for children and families, with Family Yoga, Lights Up Children’s Theatre Workshop and a performance of the family-friendly, The Monster Making Machine on Saturday 13 July at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre.

This year's selected writers are Dee Roycroft, Conor Montague and Áine Ryan. They will work with mentor, Eugene O’Brien, for a week to further develop their final plays, which will be performed as rehearsed readings with professional actors and directed by Fishamble’s Jim Culleton at Nurtured New Works on Sunday 14 July, when the overall winner will be announced.

The theme of this year’s festival is TIME, an exploration profoundly resonant with the era we inhabit. In a period marked by rapid change, uncertainty, and reflection, TIME serves as both a lens and a canvas, inviting playwrights to examine the past, present, and future. Whether grappling with historical events, envisioning dystopian futures, or capturing fleeting human experiences, the plays presented this year promise to offer insightful and poignant reflections on how TIME shapes and is shaped by the world around us.

Speaking ahead of the return of Scripts, co Artistic Director, Angela Ryan Whyte said: “With our commitment to fostering fresh voices and bold storytelling, Scripts not only enriches Ireland’s cultural landscape but also offers a unique platform for playwrights to develop their craft and connect with enthusiastic theatregoers. We hope you will join us for an unforgettable journey through the power and passion of live theatre at Scripts: Ireland's Playwriting Festival.”

Emma Nee Haslam of Birr Theatre & Arts Centre spoke to the exciting restructuring the festival has come through. “Birr Theatre & Arts Centre is delighted to be deepening our commitment for this 10th edition. Thanks to Arts Council support, we have been able to be part of the sustenance of the festival via a new theatre residency which will extend the level of artist support the festival offers. This shift has allowed for the evolution of the festival and we are excited for the opportunities this will create for theatremakers.”

Tickets are on sale now: www.scriptsireland.com