In the news: WIT connection to inaugural Eugene O’Neill Festival

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The Eugene O'Neill International Festival of Theatre comes to New Ross this October, and WIT's Dr Richard Hayes explains the local connection on WLRFM

Dr Richard Hayes, a Eugene O'Neill scholar discusses the inaugural Eugene O'Neill International Festival of Theatre with On the Fringe on WLRFM.

On the opening night of the festival, Eugene O’Neill’s father James O’Neill will be honoured in an evening entitled James O’Neill A Dramatic Night. The story of James O’Neill will be presented in an illustrated talk by O’Neill scholar Dr Richard Hayes of Waterford Institute of Technology, with support from American Shakespearean actor Patrick Midgeley.

The talk will be followed by a screening of the Count of Monte Cristo, the 1913 film starring James O’Neill. One of the earlies silent feature films , the Count of Monte Cristo was directed by Edwin S Porter, a pioneer of the American cinema, and captures the vivid dramatic acting of James. The screening represents James’s debut as an actor in the town from which he departed over one hundred and fifty years ago. An original live score will be provided by pianist Phillip Collins.

The Eugene O’Neill International Festival of Theatre in New Ross will be both a cultural and a civic celebration of the strong ties between Ireland and the United States exemplified by O’Neill’s Irish heritage. Eugene O’Neill’s father James, along with his parents and siblings, lived in nearby Tinneranny and emigrated from New Ross. Eugene O’Neill famously said, “The one thing that explains more than anything about me is the fact that I’m Irish.”

The cultural tie between the two countries will be reinforced by the partnership of the O’Neill Ancestral Trust of New Ross and the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House, of Danville, California, to produce the international O’Neill festival we are calling “One Festival, Two Countries.” The first half of the festival, the 19th Annual Eugene O’Neill Festival in Danville, will be held throughout September 2018, and the second half, the First Annual Eugene O’Neill International Festival of Theatre, will be held in New Ross October 11-14, 2018.

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