Elsewhere – A New Opera by Michael Gallen (National Tour)

Elsewhere – A New Opera by Michael Gallen (National Tour)

Wednesday, 24 April 2024, 8.00pm


Elsewhere – Tour
8–24 April 2024
A new opera by Michael Gallen
Directed by Tom Creed & Conducted by Fiona Monbet

Tour dates
O’Reilly Theatre, Dublin – 8 – 9 April – Booking
Íontas Arts Centre, Castleblayney – 12 April – Booking
Cork Opera House, Cork – 17 April – Booking
Town Hall Theatre, Galway – 24 April – Booking

“Elsewhere is an extraordinary, shocking, funny, and, ultimately, moving piece of contemporary theatre” – The Irish Times

Following its hugely successful run on the Abbey Theatre stage in 2021, this bold new opera by Michael Gallen, based on the true story of the radical “Monaghan Asylum Soviet” of 1919”, goes on tour.  Highlighted as one of the Irish Times’s Best of 2021, Elsewhere was also nominated for two Irish Times Theatre Awards, including Best Opera. We’re very excited to bring this “extraordinary, shocking, funny, and, ultimately, moving piece of contemporary theatre” to audiences in Dublin, Monaghan, Galway and Cork this spring.

In 1919, the staff of the Monaghan Asylum barricaded the hospital gates and declared themselves an independent Soviet commune. Their strike brought asylum workers and patients together in collective action, presenting a revolutionary vision of what a care-centred society could look like.

The moment of the Soviet is in constellation with our own, occurring during the 1918 Flu pandemic, and at a time when social and geographical borders were being redrawn. Marked by death and hardship, the strikers overcame sectarian divides to demand humane conditions and equal pay for women and men.

In Elsewhere, these events unfold through the visions of Celine, a patient who decades later remains ‘locked in’ to the moment of the Soviet, believing herself to be its leader. Through her interactions with the charismatic ‘Inspector of Lunatics’ we tread the borders between fantasy and incarceration.

Drawing upon the hum of murmured rosaries, the eccentric lilt of the border dialect and the glitched ornamentation of Oriel sean nós song, Elsewhere’s score melds a delicate, introspective complexity with the raucous energy of revolt. 

The libretto is co-written by Michael Gallen with poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin and playwright Carys D Coburn, and the production brings together a team of renowned Irish artists and rising international stars led by director Tom Creed and conductor Fiona Monbet. Singers and instrumentalists play a range of characters from patients and strikers to Marx and Jehovah, shape-shifting between work routines, football matches, negotiations, dances – in a dynamic that is both playful and uncanny. Over time we discover how Celine’s fate and that of the Soviet are entwined.

Dealing with themes of freedom, care and mental illness, Elsewhere explores the imagined future of a forgotten past. 

Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, Creative Monaghan, L’Institut Français Paris and La Région Hauts-de-France and supported by Monaghan Arts Office, Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris.

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Added by Journal of Music on 7 April 2024

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