Dancing at Lughnasa

Dates: 6 – 16 July 2022

Playwright: Brian Friel

Director: Ewen Coleman


Set in the Irish village of Ballybeg in the county of Donegal, in the late summer of 1936, around the festival of Lughnasadh, a Celtic harvest festival, five unmarried sisters (Kate, Maggie, Agnes, Rose, and Chris) struggle to survive and make a living. They are also bringing up 7-year-old Michael, the fatherless child of the youngest sister Chris.

Then, into their lives comes their frail elder brother, Jack, from a life as a missionary in Africa, and Michael’s father, Gerry Evans. Told through the memories of Michael, now a grown man, it portrays the family being faced with no meaningful work, no likelihood of husbands and only themselves to depend on yet they nevertheless still manage to find joy and humour in their lives.

However, as the summer ends, something happens that threatens to disrupt the dynamics of this closely knit family causing irreparable suffering and damage to their lives. A tender study of the women’s lives the weaves a magical journey of memory, illusion and dancing.


Alister WilliamsFather Jack
Sue MortimerKate
Teresa SullivanMaggie
Sara SchroderAgnes
Lisa AaltonenRose
Loren WhithairChris
Blair McLeanMichael
James BoagGerry


DirectorEwen Coleman
Stage ManagerSally Ratchford
LightingRoss Miller, Adam Harrison
Sound designTommy Joass
SoundBruce Cannell
WardrobeSue Miller, Kythie Morris
HairKythie Morris, Janet Meyler
ArtworkTim Gruar
PropsDebbie Williams
PromptDebbie Williams
Front of HouseVictoria Wilks, Natalie Plowman
Set designEwen Coleman
Set buildRoss Miller, Bill Robinson
Set paintSue Mortimer
PhotographyRoss Miller
BookingsColin Clemens


Maggie tries to get back in sister Kate’s good books after an argument on the suitability of the girls attending the pagan festival of Lughnasa.
L to R: Teresa Sullivan as Maggie, Sue Mortimer as Kate.
Gerry tries to rekindle an old romance with Chris in the garden.
L to R: Loren Whithair as Chris, James Boag as Gerry.
Father Jack reminiscing about the neighbourhood he left behind for 20 years as a missionary in Africa.
Alister Williams as Father Jack.
To the dismay of elder sister Kate, the sisters hold a spontaneous rehearsal in the kitchen for dancing at the autumn festival of Lughnasa.
L to R: Sue Mortimer as Kate, Loren Whithair as Chris, Sara Schroder as Agnes (in back), Teresa Sullivan as Maggie, Lisa Aaltonen as Rose.
Try this for size: Gerry and Father Jack exchange their trademark headgear.
L to R: James Boag as Gerry, Alister Williams as Father Jack.
No, no!… it goes over, then… A ‘patient’ Agnes laboriously tries to teach her sister Rose how to knit.
L to R: Sara Schroder as Agnes, Lisa Aaltonen as Rose.
Our narrator explains to the audience the background to the family’s situation.
Blair McLean as The Narrator.
Chris tries in vain to make the radio, nicknamed Marconi, work.
Loren Whithair as Chris.
Maggie tries to talk sense into her nephew’s head about the odds of his father actually producing a black bicycle for him for Christmas.
L to R: Teresa Sullivan as Maggie, Blair McLean as Michael.
Rose spontaneously bursts into dance at the thought of going to the pagan autumn festival Lughnasa, much to the mixture of surprise and delight of her sisters.
L to R: Teresa Sullivan as Maggie, Loren Whithair as Chris, Sue Mortimer as Kate (seated), Sara Schroder as Agnes, Lisa Aaltonen as Rose.
Maggie and Agnes stoke the oven with peat blocks. In their Donegal County home there is no electricity; just peat, candles and kerosene lamps.
L to R: Teresa Sullivan as Maggie, Sara Schroder as Agnes.
Rose is distraught at the death of her pet rooster to a local fox.
Lisa Aaltonen as Rose.