posted on January 13th, 2020

The Northern Ireland playwrights taking a bite of the Big Apple at Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival

The 12th annual Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival in New York will welcome six playwrights and two directors from Northern Ireland to showcase newly commissioned work on an international stage.

The festival, which runs from January 7th to February 3rd 2020, is New York’s only all-Irish performing arts festival and is the world’s only festival dedicated to showcasing the work of contemporary Irish writers.

Five women playwrights based in Northern Ireland – Alice Malseed, Fionnuala Kennedy, Gina Donnelly, Emily DeDakis and Sarah Gordon, have each been commissioned to write short plays about Belfast to be performed at the festival, directed by former Arts Council ACES awardee, Rhiann Jeffrey.

Separately, Clare McMahon’s play, The Gap Year, which was developed in the Lyric Theatre’s New Playwrights Programme, has been programmed for a special rehearsed reading which will be directed by Northern Ireland director, Benjamin Gould.

Alice Malseed, Clare McMahon and Sarah Gordon have each honed their writing talent through the Lyric Theatre’s prestigious New Playwrights Programme, a six-month writing and mentoring development programme aimed at emerging playwrights to create and showcase new work.  This valuable programme has enabled these playwrights to take their ideas from page to stage through the expert guidance of the Lyric Theatre’s Literary Manager, Rebecca Mairs.

For more information on the festival visit

For more information on Arts Council travel awards visit