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Blue Raincoat Theatre Company First Cosmonaut at The Factory Performance Space

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Directed by Niall Henry

22 October – 2 November 2013

The Factory Performance Space, Sligo

Blue Raincoat Theatre Company are currently in rehearsal for their brand new play, First Cosmonaut, penned by long-time collaborator, Jocelyn Clarke.

The production, which is the flagship show and culmination of Blue Raincoat’s 2013 programme, sees the company once again joining forces with the playwright and dramaturge Jocelyn Clarke, who adapted for stage the award-winning Flann O’Brien trilogy, The Third Policeman, At Swim-Two-Birds and The Poor Mouth.

Yuri Gagarin was the First Cosmonaut, the first human to journey into outer space when his Vostok 1 spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12th April, 1961.
Gagarin was the first human to see what no other human had ever seen before, to see the earth from outer space, and to experience the reality of our planet as a tiny, fragile blue ball of life, hanging in the darkness of the void.

Yuri’s tale is told through the eyes of a Russian fit-up theatre company, travelling to venues in the West and performing the story of one of Russia’s great heroes. Hilarious, playful and movingly brought to life by Blue Raincoat Theatre and in a broad range of the company’s signature styles, this promises to be an exciting theatrical event.

Currently Ireland’s only professional theatre ensemble, Blue Raincoat Theatre Company have won the reputation as one of Ireland’s most respected and creative theatre teams. With company members from a varied background, Blue Raincoat has become synonymous with a range of theatre styles, from the classical Shakespeare and Beckett to the absurd and expressionistic worlds of Ionesco and Flann O’Brien.

Speaking about the production, Niall said, “Most of the ensemble have worked together for over twenty years and in that time the five productions that we have collaborated on with Jocelyn as writer have produced some of our most exciting work. We are very happy to be back working with Jocelyn again on First Cosmonaut, for our main production this season.”

2013 has been a busy year for the company, with the production of their first foray into the world of Samuel Beckett with Endgame, which premiered at The Factory in Sligo in February before transferring to the prestigious Happy Days International Beckett Festival in Enniskillen in August. In June, they toured the final installment of their Flann O’Brien trilogy, The Poor Mouth, to Edinburgh and Glasgow, where the company has built up a cult following. In July, 300 people made the journey to the summit of Knocknarea mountain to see the company perform WB Yeats’ play, Purgatory, on Queen Maeve’s grave. Blue Raincoat continued the Yeats theme with nine readings of WB’s plays at Tread Softly in Sligo, a festival which the company were instrumental in setting up.

Early plans for 2014 include a national tour of The Poor Mouth, a tour of The Chairs to Switzerland and Germany, Pirandello’s classic Six Characters in Search of an Author and the premiere of The Girl in the Sky a new play based on the life of Amelia Earhart.

In 2013 alone, Blue Raincoat Theatre Company have engaged twenty thousand people through their productions and through their arts projects which have formed the key stone to Sligo’s cultural life. The company have founded and co-founded an arts festival, a youth theatre, a children’s theatre festival, a theatre academy, along with their venue, the Factory Performance Space. To infinity, and beyond…

First Cosmonaut will be at the Factory Performance Space from 22 October – 2 November.

John Carty, Sandra O’Malley, Ciaran McCauley, Frances Healy, Bob Kelly

Venue: The Factory Performance Space, Sligo
Ticket prices: €18 (€14 concession)

Booking information: / +353 71 917 0431

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