Exciting times ahead for new Lime Tree Theatre

The Lime Tree Theatre launched its first autumn/winter programme today (August 30) which is sufficiently impressive to throw down the gauntlet to all of Limerick’s other performing arts venues.

The biggest coup for the 510 seat auditorium at Mary Immaculate College on the South Circular Road (only a short walk from the city centre) is the fact it will host the first Abbey Theatre main stage production to come to Limerick in over two decades. The national theatre’s take on the Sean O’Casey classic, The Plough and the Stars, is only visiting a handful of places in Ireland and the UK. The tour concludes in Limerick for seven performances from October 30 to November 3.

But there’s more…

Hollywood actress, Mischa Barton, and Neighbours favourite, Anne Charleston will grace the stage with Steel Magnolias on October 5 and 6. AND never mind the Abbey and yer wan off The OC, there will be a show featuring the hero of many an Irish childhood, BOSCO!! Now that’s what I call exciting. Chalk it down: the Lambert Puppet Theatre will bring Snow White & Bosco on November 17.

The successful production of Tom Barry’s, Guerilla Days in Ireland, will kick off the season on September 19. As part of the Limerick Jazz Festival, the Locke Keezer Group will perform on September 29. Shannon Gospel Choir with special guest, Paddy Casey, will perform on October 13. Brendan Grace brings his comedy stylings on October 18. Trad music’s finest, the Kifenora Céilí Band, will perform on November 18. Another noteworthy event is Ballet Ireland’s production of The Nutcracker on December 13.

In all this, there is a strong local flavour too. The nearby Laurel Hill Secondary School FCJ present their musical, Back to the 80s, from November 8 to 11. The Cecilian Musical Society transport audiences to New York for West Side Story from November 28 to December 1. Bottom Dog Theatre Company are doing the timeless Dickens adaptation, A Christmas Carol, from December 10 to 12. Limerick Panto Society will round off the year with Beauty and the Beast from December 27 to January 5.

In the tour, we got to stand on the stage and see the dressing rooms etc. It’s a super facility in terms of design and technical spec. The size of the stage itself gives a massive amount of scope for sets, choreography and so on, which is surely an advantage. I’ve been there for several literary readings but not a theatrical or musical performance, so I’ll look forward to that.

The theatre manager is Louise Donlon, who has extensive experience with companies such as Limerick’s own, Island TC, and Galway’s Druid TC as well as with venues such as the Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise. She praised the vision of the Board of Management and her hardworking team.

She also expressed her hope that the Lime Tree “will be a significant addition to the national cultural infrastructure and most especially to the cultural, social and economic life of Limerick and the mid-west”.

It’s great to see a venue of this quality in Limerick to complement the likes of the Belltable Arts Centre; the University Concert Hall; the LIT Millennium Theatre; CentreSPACE; the Loft; Daghdha Space; Friar’s Gate Theatre et al. We really are blessed with so many performance sites as well as a vibrant arts scene.

Now, that’s all the enthusiasm and optimism I can muster for today! Outbursts swinging from disbelief to fury accompanied by vigorous fist-shaking and face-palming will resume forthwith…

If you want more information on The Lime Tree Theatre, call 061-774774 or see the website.

SCRATCH at the Belltable December 2 and 9

If you want to get a sneak peak at exciting performance projectscoming down the pipeline in Limerick and beyond, SCRATCH, willreturn to the Belltable tonight (Friday December 2) and next Friday, Dec 9. Theevent, curated by Duncan Molloy, is for new work and works in progress. Therewill several new pieces of theatre/dance etc on each of the two nights and you can have coffee/meet themakers after—all for an outrageously low sum of €5.
I think we can allagree what good value that is, especially given that two pieces from theinaugural SCRATCH event last May went to show at the ABSOLUT Dublin FringeFestival in September and got seven award nominations between. Follow, won the coveted ‘Spirit of theFringe’ award. This is an ideal opportunity to boast that you saw it first. Everyone likes an exclusive…but it needn’t get you into trouble like one national broadcaster who shall remain nameless.  
The line-ups are:
December 2:
undergroundby Stefan Barry, which will be directed by Simon Thompson and presented byOrchard Theatre Company.
Peter & theBody (Guards), choreographed by Angie Smalis with music by Peter Delaneyand it will be performed by Katarína Mojžišová.
The Death of aCharacter by Dermott Petty, which will be directed by Myles Breen.
December 9:
My First Friend was a Cat, written and performed by Crissy O’Donovan.

Getting to know You, choreographedby Mary Hartney. It will be performed by Lisa Cahill and Sultan Ahmad Kakar andpresented by Spoken Dance.

No Particular Night or Morning, written and directed by Jamie Walters.

Pop by KarlWatson and presented by Comeassoonasyouhear.

More info at www.belltable.ie.

BTW Karen Underwood and her band present SINGING NINA -The Life andMusic of Nina Simone, also at the Belltable, on December 3 at 8pm. Tickets from €15.