Who We Are
At AboutFACE, we believe that Great Stories = Memorable, Meaningful Nights Out
We promise you a warm welcome, because for us audience comes first. We find great plays: gripping stories – funny and moving, thrilling and thought-provoking, revealing and inspiring, and something you’ll want to talk about. We discover and develop exciting new plays from Ireland, the United States and beyond via our annual NEWvember Festival, now in its 8th year, while we test out classic plays to share with you in our monthly Great Plays Gang. We bring these to vivid life with electric acting from our passionate ensemble of professional actors … right on your doorstep in Dublin.
When we started off, we were just a bunch of innocent, eager young actors who wanted to put on a show. Our original members – Alan, Anna, Paul and Tara – met performing in a production of Hamlet, and decided we wanted to keep working together, do things our way and put on a play audiences would love. So AboutFACE was formed in the summer of 2002 and we produced a production of David Ives’ imaginative and playful All the in Timing in Dublin’s International Bar that beautiful hot summer. It went so well, we even made enough profit to buy a round of drinks!
But we now had a taste for it, for producing and performing in plays we were really proud of and were excited to share — and so decided to continue, and take it seriously. We wanted to put on great stories — so we searched for exciting modern plays, approachable with strong narrative, that any of our friends could come and see and enjoy, even if they’d never been to the theatre before. We discovered a wealth of new American plays yet to be shared with Irish audiences, and over the next three years, from 2002-2005, produced the Irish premieres of a further six plays: from the claustrophobically tense drama of Stephen Belber’s Tape to the insightful comedy of Featuring Loretta, from the terrifying study of stalking in Rebecca Gilman’s Boy Gets Girl to the monumental battle of writers in Collected Stories, from the powerful investigation of hate crime in The Laramie Project to the heartbreaking road-trip of The Glory of Living. We were also delighted to add two fab new company members, Charlie and Noni.
“An AboutFACE production is getting to be one of those sure-fire events; old-fashioned narrative, acting, and an interesting story to tell.”
“Since 2002, AboutFACE Theatre Company has premiered a diverse range of American plays on the Irish stage.”
We were doing good work, but we wanted to grow and learn more about putting on amazing plays at a world-class level, so in 2005 we took an educational hiatus. While other company members took time to study and work in Edinburgh and Dublin, our Co-Artistic Directors Anna and Paul moved to New York, where they worked and learned at theatres including Primary Stages, the Irish Rep, Culture Project and the Cell, learning about how those new plays we’d loved producing had been developed. In 2011, we decided to try and create our own format for developing new plays, and teaming up with the Tangent Theatre in upstate New York, created and co-produced the NEWvember Festival. Its first 5 years (2011-2015) took place at the Carpenter Shop Theatre in Tivoli, NY, and it was a huge hit — breaking box-office records at the theatre, drawing up to 500 submissions in a year and leading to plays going on to Off-Broadway productions.
But ultimately, as exciting and glamorous as New York is, the goal was always to build our theatre back home in Dublin. We returned to producing in Ireland with a staged reading of Almost, Maine by John Cariani at the Mill Theatre in 2010, and in 2012 celebrated the 10th anniversary of the company by producing our first World Premiere show, Orson Welles’ Christmas Carol.
“Another fine production from the AboutFACE Theatre Company… a dynamic young group whose work to date has had its own share of plaudits.”
-The Irish Times
“A deeply moving theatrical experience… this intense drama makes a welcome Irish debut thanks to the relatively fresh-faced AboutFACE Theatre Company.”
By 2017, we were ready to return full-time to producing in Ireland. We moved NEWvember to Dublin, where it continues to grow in developing new plays, now entering it’s 9th year. We produced our first developmental workshop of a new play-in-progess, Brutal Selfish Rattlesnake, at the Abbey’s rehearsal space, as well as a Winter Pub Reading Series showcasing new American plays. In 2018, we started our new monthly get-together for actors, The Great Plays Gang and in 2019, we were delighted to produce our first World Premiere of a play developed at NEWvember, with The Gods of the Ozarks in August and the return of Orson Welles’ Christmas Carol for a sold-out, acclaimed run.
In 2020, we were honoured to form a deeper relationship with the theatre where we produced many of our first shows, when we were invited to be the Theatre Company in Residence at The Civic theatre in Tallaght, South Dublin! And while the Covid pandemic closed the theatres for much of 2020 and 2021, we expanded our wings into producing online and digital plays, including our new Transatlantic Tales series, which each year gave 8 playwrights the platform to create new short pieces with 16 actors in both the US and Ireland – and won The Spirit of the Festival Award when shown at New York’s 1st Irish Festival!
As theatres reopen, we can’t wait to share a range of exciting projects in 2022, from workshops of new plays to world premieres to the return by popular demand of recent hit shows and of our beloved NEWvember Festival! Watch this space for more …
And the future?
Our Vision is to have a warm, welcoming theatre that is much-loved by audiences, providing Memorable, Meaningful Nights Out through Great Stories. We envisage providing this through outstanding writing and electric acting, in a 3-play summer season made up of a world premiere new play, a rediscovered great play and a world premiere adaptation — plus our annual NEWvember Festival and workshops developing new plays, special events including our family-friendly Christmas show, and inviting programming such as our Great Plays Gang.