Dunamaise Arts Centre part of a virtual theatrical world premiere with the Gate Theatre

Partnership in first streamed production of The Visiting Hour by Frank McGuinness

Leinster Express Reporter


Leinster Express Reporter



dunamaise arts center

Stephen Rea and Judith Roddy Photo: Rich Gilligan

The Dunamaise Arts Centre Portlaoise is delighted to be one of the partner venues in the first online Gate At Home production of the new play by Frank McGuinness which will have its world premiere streamed from the Gate auditorium from 22nd to 24th April.

Brought to you in a collaboration between The Gate Theatre and the NASC venues across Ireland,  the Dunamaise team is looking foward to presenting what they say is a much-anticipated play starring two highly renowned Irish actors, Stephen Rea and Judith Roddy.

This moving new play about an Irish father (Stephen Rea) and daughter (Judith Roddy) at visiting hour in a nursing home during the pandemic,

Frank McGuinness, whose extraordinary plays have been produced around the world to critical acclaim, wrote the play during lockdown for the two renowned Irish actors Stephen Rea and Judith Roddy. Caitríona McLaughlin, the newly appointed Artistic Director- designate of the Abbey Theatre, will direct the production.

The play quietly observes a daughter visiting her elderly father in his nursing home. His mind is beginning to wander, but conversations about the past can be dangerous, and family memories can look very different, depending on who is telling the story.

Gate At Home is a new artistic initiative of bespoke productions streamed from the Gate Creative Studio re-creating a unique and distinctive performance experience viewable from home. 

“I am thrilled to bring this dynamic creative team together for our first Gate At Home production,” said Selina Cartmell, Gate Director. “The Gate team have worked so hard to make this production happen, despite the ongoing financial challenges of the pandemic. With the welcome government investment of our vital Arts Council funding, last month we were able to announce the Gate Creative Studio, the Gate Masterclasses, and a series of commissions for Irish writers and theatre companies. Now we are especially grateful to bring theatre production back to the Gate in 2021.”

The Visiting Hour Cast and Creative Team: Cast: Stephen Rea and Judith Roddy; directed by Caitríona McLaughlin; set and costume design by Katie Davenport; lighting design by Paul Keogan; sound and composition by Tom Lane.

The play will be performed and recorded in the Gate auditorium and streamed to audiences each day at 7.30pm. Running time 60 minutes. A captioned version of the production will be streamed on 23rd April.

Tickets are on sale from www.dunamaise.ie or directly from The Gate Theatre at www.gatetheatre.ie .

Early bird ticket prices are €20 until 2nd April . Concession tickets €15, Standard tickets €25, Household ticket €40, Support the Gate ticket €50.

The Digital Tour is presented in partnership with venues around Ireland in the NASC Theatre group including Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise; An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny; Backstage Theatre, Longford; glór, Ennis;  Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick; Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire;  Siamsa Tíre, Tralee; Town Hall Theatre, Galway and Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

About the playwright 

Frank McGuinness’s extraordinary plays have been produced around the world to critical acclaim, including The Factory Girls, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me and Dolly West’s Kitchen. His adaptations for theatre form an exceptional body of work with translations of the plays of Racine, Sophocles, Ibsen, Lorca and Strindberg.  Productions of his plays at the Gate include Innocence (1986) and The Bread Man (1990).  Adaptions include Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen (1988), Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov (1990) and The Threepenny Opera by Bertold Brecht (1991).

His play Gates of Gold (2002), commissioned by the Gate, was a work of fiction inspired by the lives of Gate founders Hilton Edwards and Michael MacLiammoir. It offered a fascinating glimpse into a unique partnership, two lives devoted to each other, and to the theatre they founded.