The Lir Announces Four New Productions for Gradfest 2020

The Lir makes special allowance for adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, or The Cult of the Clitoris. Here’s why.
Image source:, The Lir announces four upcoming shows for Gradfest 2020

Four new productions as part of Gradfest 2020, designed and directed by MFA Stage Design and MFA Theatre Directing students will be available for booking from September 24, 2020

The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art announced four upcoming productions between September 28 – October 17, 2020, as part of Gradfest 2020. The four shows are designed and directed by MFA Stage Design and MFA Theatre Directing students. 

The annual Gradfest productions, which would usually be held in July, had been postponed this year in light of COVID-19 restrictions and the closing of all of Trinity College Dublin’s campus. 

Commenting on this year’s Gradfest, The Lir said:

We are very excited to present four incredible live productions as part of Gradfest 2020 after this 5-month lockdown. The directors and designers whose work is being showcased this year have worked extremely hard, under challenging circumstances and are eager to share their work with the world.

Image source: Upcoming shows for The Lir are as follows

The four shows featured this year for Gradfest 2020 are:

  • Image of an Unknown Young Woman: Mon 28th Sep — Thu 1st Oct
  • Constellations: Tue 29th Sep — Fri 2nd Oct
  • Salomé, or the Cult of the Clitoris: A historical Phallusy: Tue 13th Oct — Fri 16th Oct
  • Wish List:  Wed 14th Oct — Thu 17th Sep

Image of an Unknown Young Woman

By Elinor Cook. Directed by Katie O’Halloran

A revolutionary act that poses the question: “How can a symbol help, hinder, and hurt in times of great change?” Image of an Unknown Young Woman by Elinor Cook ‘blends the personal with the political’.

“Yes, but she’s visible. She matters.”

Elinor Cook, Image of an Unknown Young Woman


By Nick Payne. Directed by Elizabeth Kate Lovelady.

Constellations, by Nick Payne, is an invigorating, philosophical romantic play that revolves around Marianne and Roland, a beekeeper and a cosmologist, their destiny, love and uncertainty. “Pushed and pulled along by the competing forces of destiny and chance, Marianne and Roland navigate through some of life’s most mundane and most significant experiences.

“Love prevails, or it doesn’t. Life goes on, or it doesn’t. Time dances on as the two orbit in and out of one another’s universes, making impressions that will last a lifetime.”

Nick Payne, Constellations

Salomé, or the Cult of the Clitoris: A Historical Phallusy

By Mitchell Polonsky. Directed by Mitchell Polonsky.

Salomé, or the Cult of the Clitoris: A Historical Phallusy by Mitchell Polonsky is adapted from Oscar Wilde’s Salomé and the verbatim trial reports of Noel Pemberton Billing. The Lir would typically never encourage its theatre directing students to direct their own writing, but this year, The Lir is allowing Mitchell Polonsky to do just that.

Commenting on the special allowance made for the adaptation of Salomé, The Lir said, “Ordinarily it isn’t possible for Theatre Directing students to direct their own work because the designers need to have an existent [known text to start working on in advance.] Because Mitchell is adapting two existent texts: Salomé by Oscar Wilde and Noel Pemberton Billing’s verbatim trial reports, our designers could work from those texts and his choice could be accommodated.”

Salome or the Cult of the Clitoris is a verbatim staging of the infamous libel trial that ensued following the Independent Theatre’s censored 1918 production of Oscar Wilde’s SaloméThe Cult of the Clitoris, is a fine work of passion where the “thin line between the courtroom and the theatre, between fact and fiction, collapses,” and “female body becomes a battlefield as sexual politics turn state politics.

The climactic conclusion of Wilde’s scandalous tragedy is performed live in the courtroom. At the end of the trial, what will remain sexually deviant and what—or who—will be acceptable to desire?

Mitchell Polonsky, Salome or the Cult of the Clitoris

Wish List 

By Katherine Soper. Directed by Gerard McCabe.

Wish List by Katherine Soper is an analysis of the government’s social security machine. The play questions the very system where an individual is nothing more than a machine that confines to the norms of the government. Tamsin, the protagonist of the play, works as a packer who packs boxes to support herself and her brother. Unique to its style the functions as a reminder of the individuality of a person that is lost in everyday life.

Posing ever-so-relevant questions Wish List asks:  “how do we value the weaker members of society or evaluate their worth? Is the system broken if the system works perfectly for the majority?” 

Katherine Soper

Covid-19 and Government restrictions

New government measures under the ‘Living with COVID-19 plan’ went into effect at midnight last night. The new Framework for Restrictive Measures consists of five levels, wherein, Ireland is currently at Level 2. However, if it is required to move to level 3, all museums, galleries and other cultural attractions will be closed. More information on the impact of the same on Arts can be found here.

Responding to Covid-19 restrictions, The Lir stated, “We want to make sure everyone has the safest possible experience, so we have taken all the necessary precautions and have COVID-19 protocols in place to make Gradfest enjoyable and safe for our audience members.”

Bookings for all shows open on September 24, 2020; more information on Gradfest 2020 can be found here.

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