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And the winners are...

Origin Theatre Company's 1st Irish Festival

Past Work

Monday October 3rd 2016



Honor Molloy’s “Crackskull Row” (produced in New York by the cell) picked up the awards for Best Direction and Best Production, and Eoghan Quinn’s “Bears in Space” (produced by Dublin’s Collapsing Horse, and presented at 59E59 Theaters) captured three awards at the 9th annual Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival awards ceremony tonight.  Hosted by the actress Carey Van Driest at The American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue, the Awards also recognized Sonya Kelly as Best Actress in “How to Keep an Alien,” and Dermot Crowley for his performance in Brian Friel’s “Afterplay,” which is currently scheduled to run through November 6 at the Irish Repertory Theatre.

Picking up her third Best Directing honor at the festival for her work on the 
world premiere of the shattering “Crackskull Row” (which was nominated in five categories, and was a NY Times Critics’ Pick) was Kira Simring. “Crackskull Row,” which earned the jury’s Best Production honor, was nonetheless muscled out by “Bears in Space,” whose writer Eoghan Quinn won for Best Playwright, and whose production design team docked with the Best Design prize.

“Bears in Space” also captured the hearts of the jury, which bestowed its Special Jury Prize on its ensemble cast, which included Quinn, Aaron Heffernan, Cameron Macauley, and Jack Gleeson

The jury consisted of Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch cultural observer Quentin Fottrell
; Irish America Magazine editor and co-founder Patricia Harty; editor-in-chief Andy Lefkowitz; prominent fashion executive Laurianne Listo, and Doug Reside, curator of the Theater Division at the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

The list of nominees was as follows: Best actress – Sonya Kelly (“How to Keep an Alien”); Antoinette LaVecchia (“The Birds”); Helen McMillan (“Dorothy of Nowhere”), and Dearbhla Molloy (“Afterplay”). Best actor – Dermot Crowley (“Afterplay”); Colin Lane (“Crackskull Row”); Patrick O’Kane (“Quietly”); Tim Ruddy (“Appendage”).  Best Director – Dan Colley (“Bears in Space”); Stefan Dzeparoski (“The Birds”); Jimmy Fay (“Quietly”), and Kira Simring (“Crackskull Row”).  Best Playwright – Sonya Kelly(“How to Keep an Alien”); Honor Molloy (“Crackskull Row”); Owen McCafferty(“Quietly”), and Eoghan Quinn (“Bears in Space”).  Best Design -- “Bears in Space;” “The Birds,” and “Crackskull Row.”  Best Production -- “Bears in Space,” “Crackskull Row,” “How to Keep an Alien,” and “Quietly.”

The eight mainstage productions seen in-competition were as follows: “How to Keep an Alien” (Irish Arts Center); “The Birds” and “Bears in Space” (59E59 Theaters); “Quietly” and “Afterplay” (Irish Rep); “Appendage” and “Dorothy of Nowhere” (the cell), and “Crackskull Row” (Workshop Theater). The other presenting venues were the New York Irish Center (in Queens); The Sheen Center; the American Irish Historical Society; Pier A; The National Arts Club; NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House, and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Also handed out was a new award from the Festival, the Festival Fringe Award, which went to the cast and crew of “Wilde at Home,” the highly praised immersive staging of scenes from Oscar Wilde, which was brought in from Northern Ireland by Queens University Belfast and the Happy Days Festival of Enniskillen.  David Grant of Queens University restaged the production in the landmark home of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, with a cast consisting recent graduates from the Academy’s premier acting ensembles.

This year the Festival’s Origin Award, for noteworthy and often unsung contributions to the Festival, was renamed in honor of Bairbre Dowling.  The Bairbre Dowling Spirit of the Festival Award went to Jane McCarter, the director of arts and culture at the New York Irish Center in Long Island City, which staged multiple film and theatre events.

The Audience Choice Award, based on online voting by the audience went to Thomas Burns Scully, author of “Dorothy of Nowhere.”

The Awards Ceremony was a free event and open to the public. For Festival details visit

Funding support for Origin’s 1st Irish 2016 is generously provided by the Festival Sponsors Mutual of America; McVicker & Higginbotham; the Northern Ireland Bureau; Tourism Ireland; the American Ireland Fund; the Irish Consulate, New York, the NY State Council for the Arts, NYC Dept of Cultural Affairs, and NYC Council.  The newest sponsors are The Arts Council of Northern Ireland; the British Council -- Northern Ireland, Goldman Sachs and Lash Star Beauty.

Curated and coordinated by Festival founder George C. Heslin, Origin’s 1st Irish is the only festival of its kind to focus exclusively on the work of contemporary Irish playwrights, and is the city’s only all-Irish theatre festival. Origin Theatre Company is a year-round theatre company based in New York devoted to presenting the American premieres of new works by Europe’s brightest contemporary playwrights. Over the past 14 years, Origin has introduced works by 162 playwrights to US audiences, from such countries as Sweden, Romania, Macedonia, Norway, Ireland and the United Kingdom.