Irish Comedy Gets New England Premiere at Chester Theatre

Halcyon Days(CHESTER, Mass.) – “Halcyon Days,” an award-winning comedy by acclaimed Irish playwright Deirdre Kinahan, will be given its New England premiere at Chester Theatre Company from Thursday, July 9, through Sunday, July 19, 2015.

Halcyon Days opens with Patricia, a retired school teacher, storming into the nursing-home conservatory where Sean sits alone, submerged in his memories. Her feisty zest for life prompts an intriguing relationship — by turns charming and combative, tender and funny. This play from one of Ireland’s most celebrated contemporary playwrights was the winner of a prestigious Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award. The Irish Times hailed the play as “Touching Drama” while the Irish Voice added it praise: “A lovely, understated marvel about life and loss and finding the courage to keep going.”

CTC artistic director Byam Stevens first saw Halcyon Days at the Dublin Theatre Festival on a 2012 CTC Theatre Tour. “I was immediately taken with the warmth of Deirdre’s vision, her gift for lively dialogue, and the great opportunity the play presents for actors. I knew right off that I wanted James Warwick to direct and Jill Tanner and Andy Matthews to star. It took a while to get the American rights, but now we can share this lovely play with our audience.”

Deirdre Kinahan is one of Ireland’s most celebrated contemporary playwrights. Her plays have been produced by the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theatre company, New York’s famed Irish Rep, and London’s Royal Court and Bush Theatres, where Stevens saw Kinahan’s most widely produced play, Moment.

Deirdre Kinahan (Playwright) is a Dublin-based playwright who wrote her first play in 1999 when women at Ruhama Women’s Project asked her to write a play (BE CARNA) about their lives as prostitutes. BOG BOY, her breakthrough play, was a New York Times Critics Pick when it transferred to New York’s Irish Arts Center. MOMENT played at London’s Bush Theatre to critical acclaim and sell out audiences in 2011 before a host of international productions. Her latest play, SPINNING, opened at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2014.

James Warwick (Director) played leading roles in London’s West End and starred in many series for BBC Television and PBS Masterpiece Theatre. In 1995, Mr. Warwick toured America as Arthur in Camelot and played Sir Arthur Chiltern in Peter Hall’s Broadway production of Oscar Wilde’s  AN IDEAL HUSBAND. As a director, he has over 40 productions in US regional theatres to his credit. He has served as associate artistic director at both CTC and the Berkshire Theatre Festival.

Jill Tanner (Patricia) starred in one of CTC’s most acclaimed productions: The Retreat from Moscow, which transferred to a run at the Pittsfield Public Theatre.  Ms. Tanner has appeared often on Broadway in: Dividing the Estate, Enchanted April, Rose, My Fat Friend, and No Sex Please, We’re British. In addition to the National Tour of Lettice and Lovage, she has worked at theatres across the United States including:  Hartford Stage, the Guthrie Theatre, Denver Theatre Center and Princeton’s McCarter Theatre. She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Anderson Matthews (Sean) has previously appeared at CTC in The Betrothed, The Drawer Boy, The Interrogation of Nathan Hale, and The Plains of Ilion. His Broadway credits include: The Robber Bridegroom, Peter Ustinov’s Beethoven’s 10th, and Arcadia at Lincoln Center. His Off Broadway work includes the original production of Driving Miss Daisy and Ten by Tennessee for John Houseman’s Acting Company. He also performed at London’s Old Vic in The Cradle Will Rock, again directed by John Houseman.

Scenic Design by Matthew Iacozza, Costume Design by Arthur Oliver, Lighting Design by Lara Dubin, Sound Design by Tom Shread.

Tickets are available on CTC’s website or by phone at 1-­800-­595-­4TIX. To receive a brochure, contact the CTC office at 413-­354-­7770. CTC performances take place at Chester’s Historic Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8:00pm, with matinees Thursdays and Sundays at 2:00pm. There will be no performance on July 4th. Tickets are $37.50. Student, Chester Resident, and group rates for 10 or more are also available. For further information visit Chester Theatre Company.

Chester Theatre Company, a professional theatre company located in the foothills of the Berkshires, produces 4 plays each summer, performed by topflight actors, directors and designers from across the country. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Byam Stevens, CTC has earned a reputation for producing the best in contemporary theatre —  17 CTC productions have gone on to Off Broadway, regional, national, and international engagements in the last 18 years.

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