Off-Broadway's Irish Repertory Theatre and Ireland's Fishamble: The New Play Company have announced casting for the internationally-mounted readings of their inaugural 2022-23 Transatlantic Commissions Program.
Together, Fishamble and Irish Rep commissioned Felispeaks, Kwaku Fortune, Jade Jordan, and CN Smith, four Black Irish artists and writers of color, for its inaugural group. Read about how the four began their journey in the program in this interview with Playbill.
Readings will take place in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Dublin. The New York City reading, scheduled for March 20-21 at 7 PM at Irish Repertory Theatre, will star Alana Raquel Bowers (What to Send Up When It Goes Down), Roger Casey (CasablancaBOX), Felispeaks (Wake), and Aida Leventaki (Belfast Girls). Following each free reading will be a discussion with the writers and actors joined by Nicola Murphy Dubey, Jim Culleton, and Dael Orlandersmith. Carl Hancock Rux will lead the talk.
At Dublin's The Project Arts Center, the March 15 reading stars Siobhán Callaghan (Vikings: Valhalla), Felispeaks, Kwaku Fortune (Normal People), Clinton Liberty (Normal People), Esther Ayo James (Wallpaper), and Jade Jordan (The Catch).
Oscar, Tony, Olivier, and Emmy nominee Ruth Negga (Macbeth, Loving) will star alongside Katy Davis (Motherless Brooklyn), Felispeaks, and Freddy Ramsey Jr. (Family Reunion) in a Los Angeles reading March 26 at The Los Angeles Public Library.
The cast for the San Francisco reading, set for March 23 at The San Francisco Public Library, will star Jamella Cross (Night Fairy), Felispeaks, Maggie Mason (The Half Light), and James WD Mercer ii (In Love and Warcraft).
Obie winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith (Yellowman, Until the Flood) served as the writers' mentor throughout the program. The Transatlantic Commission Program seeks to address historic marginalization and inequalities within the canon, particularly in Irish theatre. It is the first collaboration between Irish Rep and Fishamble
When the program was first announced, Ireland Arts Council Director Maureen Kennelly said that it is an effort towards creating an arts industry "more reflective of Ireland in all its diversity."
This commission was supported in part by Colleen Murphy and Culture Ireland.