Roscommon-based Enchanted Croí Theatre has recently announced that its production of the new contemporary folk musical ‘In the Midst of Plenty’ will embark on a 13-venue nationwide tour through spring and summer 2023. The show is the work of California-based law professor and writer/composer-lyricist Amy Day, who was inspired to write the show in 2019 after visiting the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park while on a day off from teaching a course in international children’s rights at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the University of Galway. The cast includes Galway native Martin Gilligan and Galway-based singer-songwriter Tracy Bruen.
“I am so thrilled to be returning to Galway and to have the opportunity to perform the show at the Town Hall Theatre,” says writer Amy Day. “My time spent teaching at the Irish Centre for Human Rights was transformative for me in thinking about how we can use art and theatre in particular to amplify important stories of human migration and suffering. There is simply no other place like Galway, and I can’t wait to be on stage there with our show.”
The tour will begin with performances in the Mullingar Arts Centre on May 25 and 26, and will include performances at the Town Hall Theatre Galway on June 7 and 8. After debuting last year to sold-out performances and rave reviews in the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park and the Roscommon Arts Centre, the show will tour to Mullingar, Cavan, Longford, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Derry, Roscommon, Carlow, Waterford, Tipperary, and Dublin.
Written by Amy Day and directed by Anne-Marie O’Sullivan, ‘In the Midst of Plenty’ tells the story of tenants struggling to survive on the Strokestown estate at the height of the Great Famine in 1847. It is set against the backdrop of the plot to assassinate Denis Mahon, the Strokestown landlord, and traces the story of the so-called “missing 1490” who left Strokestown along the Royal Canal and sailed for Canada as part of Mahon’s forced emigration scheme. The piece is an empowering story of strength, loss, resilience, and family connection that has resonated deeply with audiences.
The show features a large cast of professional actors and a live four-piece folk band. The company includes Julie Sharkey (No Magic Pill ), Martin Gilligan (Ros na Rún ), Mary Claire Ryan (Banshees of Inisherin ), Bláthnaid Daly (An Triail ), Cian Hoyne (Vikings Valhalla ), Áine O’Brien (Nationwide ), Eoghan Burke (Playboy of the Western World ), Niall Brewster (Birds of Feather ), Anne-Marie O’Sullivan (Enchanted Croí Theatre ), and Ruairí Nicholl (Spring Awakening ), and the band includes renowned trad fiddler Neil FitzGibbon, acclaimed folk artist Gráinne Hunt (recently supporting Glen Hansard and Declan O’Rourke ), Tracy Bruen, Jules Stewart, and Amy Day.
Enchanted Croí Theatre was founded in 2019 by Anne-Marie O’Sullivan.
“We are honored to be able to take this show to communities across Ireland in 2023,” says Anne-Marie, the show’s Artistic Director. “It is particularly meaningful to us that many performances will take place along the National Famine Way, the route that so many emigrants walked in search of survival during the time of an Gorta Mór.”
‘In the Midst of Plenty’ was developed with funding from the Roscommon County Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. Its 2023 tour is made possible by support from the National Famine Way and the Irish Heritage Trust. Tickets are available now by visiting www.inthemidstofplenty.com