In a little more than a week, I am leaving Ireland for a six week trip through eastern Europe and Scandinavia. While traveling, I’ll be looking for theatre. From Budapest to Belgrade to Sarajevo to Zagreb, Ljubljana, Vienna, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Oslo, it will be interesting to see what’s on stage.

But before setting off, I’m packing in a few more shows in that easily understood (aside from the accents) language of English. Make that Irish and British English.

First stop is Belfast, where I’ll see three shows in about 24 hours (and take the fascinating Coiste Falls Road murals tour – again). Belfast is a two hour train ride away – and taking your bike onboard is free. So a theatre blitz up North couldn’t be easier.

Marie Jones, the prolific Belfast writer best known for STONES IN HIS POCKETS, has a new play on at the Grand Opera House called FLY ME TO THE MOON. The initial dates sold out, so they added a few more, mostly at off times like the 5 PM show I am seeing today. For theatre fans such as myself, an off standard time like that is great because it means you can see two shows in an evening. Reviews: Irish Theatre Magazine, Irish Times

Once that show finishes, I have about 30 minutes to hop on the bike, find some dinner, and dash 1 1/2 miles over to the beautifully restored new Lyric Theatre on the river Lagan. Here’s a Guardian article on the Lyric’s building.

From the Grand Opera House to the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. Mere minutes on a bike.

At the Lyric tonight is Brian Friel’s adaptation of Chekhov’s UNCLE VANYA. Reviews: Irish Theatre Magazine, Irish Times

Finally, on Saturday afternoon, is a new play by Sam Millar at the Belfast Waterfront, BROTHERS IN ARMS. The show looks at the post peace process era in Northern Ireland. Review: Irish Theatre Magazine

Former IRA prisoner Sam Millar takes up the pen.

Then it’s time to bike down to the station and catch the train back to Dublin.

Next week the theatre blitz moves to Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and London.

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