GIAF Announces Major New Co-production Starring Cillian Murphy

30 November 2017

Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) is delighted to announce its involvement with a major new co-production, Grief is The Thing with Feathers starring Cillian Murphy.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter, adapted and directed by Enda Walsh, is produced by Complicité and Wayward Productions in association with Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival.

It will have its world premiere at the Black Box Theatre in Galway in March 2018, where it will run for eight days before transferring to the O’Reilly Theatre in Dublin.

The production, which is co-produced with the Barbican, London, Cork Opera House, Edinburgh International Festival, Oxford Playhouse, St Ann’s Warehouse and Warwick Arts Centre, and supported by Lindsay Badenoch and Brian Carmody, is a moving story of a widower and his young sons, which becomes a profound meditation on love, loss and living.

Once upon a time there was a crow who wanted nothing more than to care for a pair of motherless children...

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness. In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him.

The production will tour in 2019.

This production sees acclaimed writer/director Enda Walsh reunited with actor Cillian Murphy following the huge success of their past collaborations: Disco Pigs, Ballyturk and Misterman. The composer Teho Teardo provides the original music, set design is by Jamie Vartan, with costume by Christina Cunningham, lighting by Adam Silverman, sound by Helen Atkinson and video by Will Duke.

“It’s a real honour to be asked to bring Max Porter’s singular and wonderful book, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, to the stage by Complicité - a great company whose work always inspires. Myself and my collaborators will be reunited with our friend Cillian Murphy who worked with us on Misterman and Ballyturk. It’s thrilling to be premièring this new work in Ireland next spring,” said Enda Walsh.

“Couldn’t be any more excited about the prospect of making this piece of work…. Grief is the Thing with Feathers truly broke my heart when I first read it and it will be a privilege to bring it to life on stage in Ireland. Complicité’s work on stage has inspired me for many years, and it is always a joy to get in a room with my most trusted collaborator and friend Enda Walsh,” said Cillian Murphy.

“I cannot think of a company I would rather see adapting Grief is The Thing With Feathers for stage than Complicité. I am humbled and thrilled that this most influential, restless and dynamic company will transform my book into live theatre. Enda Walsh and Cillian Murphy are a phenomenal creative partnership. I have seen with my own eyes the magic of their collaborative practice. The way they think and speak about my text, about family and poetry, about humans and birds, gives me total faith in this production,” said Max Porter.

GIAF’s Artistic Director Paul Fahy commented, “We are delighted to be involved in this amazing production and especially to work once again with Enda Walsh and Cillian Murphy. Max Porter’s novel is both beautiful and profound and Enda’s adaptation for the stage is deeply moving and exquisite. It is a real thrill to work with Complicité, one of the world’s leading international theatre companies based in London, led by Artistic Director Simon McBurney. It is also wonderful to collaborate with Wayward Productions and our regular co-producer Landmark Productions.”

Grief is The Thing with Feathers runs from 16-24 March at Black Box Theatre, Galway and the O’Reilly Theatre, Dublin from 28 March – 5 April 2018. Tickets, priced €22.50 - €30 for Galway and €26 - €40 for Dublin, go on sale on Friday 8 December at 2pm. Concessions will be subject to availability.

Enda Walsh

Enda Walsh is a multi-award-winning Irish playwright and director. His work has been translated into over 20 languages and has been performed internationally since 1998.

His recent work includes - the opera The Second Violinist for Landmark Productions and Wide Open Opera (Galway International Arts Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival, 2017) written with Donnacha Dennehy; The Same, produced by Corcadorca at the Old Cork Prison; Arlington, produced by Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival (Dublin, New York 2017, Galway 2016); Lazarus with David Bowie, at the King’s Cross Theatre in London and New York Theatre Workshop; 4 installations - Room 303, A Girl’s Bedroom, Kitchen, Bathroom all shown at the Galway International Arts Festival (2014-2017); the opera The Last Hotel for Landmark Productions and Wide Open Opera (Edinburgh International Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival, Royal Opera House, London, St Ann’s Warehouse, New York, Les Théâtres de la Ville, Luxembourg, 2015-2017) written with Donnacha Dennehy, Ballyturk, produced by Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival (Galway, Dublin, Cork and London, 2014); Room 303, shown at the Galway International Arts Festival (2014); Misterman, produced by Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival in Ireland, London and New York (2011-2012); and several plays for Druid Theatre Company, including Penelope, which has been presented in Ireland, America and London, from 2010–2011, The New Electric Ballroom, which played Ireland, Australia, Edinburgh, London, New York and LA from 2008-2009, and The Walworth Farce, which played Ireland, Edinburgh, London and New York, as well as an American and Australian tour, from 2007-2010. He won a Tony Award for writing the book for the musical Once in 2012, which played for three years on Broadway and two years in the West End as well as the Olympia Theatre in 2015, 2016 & 2017.

His other plays include Delirium (Theatre O/Barbican, London), which played Dublin and a British tour in 2008; Chatroom (National Theatre), which played at the NT and on tour in Britain and Asia (2006-2007); and The Small Things (Paines Plough), which played London and Galway Arts Festival (2005). His early plays include Bedbound (Dublin Theatre Festival) and Disco Pigs (Corcadorca).

His film work includes Disco Pigs (Temple Films/Renaissance) and Hunger (Blast/FILM4).

In 2014 he received an honorary doctorate from NUI Galway.

Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy first made his mark on stage and established a longstanding relationship with writer Enda Walsh with an explosive performance in Disco Pigs. Following critically acclaimed, sold out runs in Ireland, their most recent collaboration, Ballyturk, ran at the National Theatre in London. Murphy also starred in Walsh’s stunning monologue Misterman (2012 Drama Desk Award, The Irish Times Theatre Award) and Kristen Sheridan’s filmed adaptation of Disco Pigs.

In 2006, Murphy made his West End debut at the New Ambassador Theatre in John Kolvenbach’s Love Song, directed by John Crowley. His stage collaborations with Tony Award-winning director Garry Hynes include The Country Boy, Juno and the Paycock, and The Playboy of the Western World at the Gaity Theatre in Dublin. Murphy also starred as Konstantin in the Edinburgh Fest production of The Seagull directed by Peter Stein, as Adam in Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things at the Gate Theatre in Dublin and as Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing at Kilkenny Castle.

On screen, Murphy most recently co-starred in Christopher Nolan’s groundbreaking World War II epic Dunkirk, Sally Potter’s The Party and Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire. His upcoming projects include Luc Besson’s Anna and Mark O’Rowe’s The Delinquent Season.

Murphy first garnered international attention for his performance in Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later. In 2005, he made an indelible impression as Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, for which he received a London Film Critics Circle Award nomination. He reprised the role in Nolan’s The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises and later reunited with the director for the critically acclaimed blockbuster Inception. In 2006, Murphy received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as the transgender outcast Patrick “Kitten” Brady in Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto. He also garnered consecutive BIFA Award nominations for his performances in Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or-winning The Wind That Shakes The Barley, Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and the BIFA-winning Broken, directed by Rufus Norris. Last year, he starred in Sean Ellis’ WWII thriller Anthropoid.

For television, Murphy most recently returned as protagonist Tommy Shelby in Steven Knight’s Peaky Blinders. The season four première on BBC Two scored its best overnight ratings since the series launched in September 2013.

Max Porter

Max Porter is the author of the bestselling Grief is the Thing with Feathers (Faber & Faber, 2015), which won the International Dylan Thomas Prize, the Sunday Times PFD Young Writer of the Year Award, the Europeese Literatuurprijs and the Books Are My Bag Reader’s Award, and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and The Goldsmiths Prize. It will be translated into 25 languages. Max works as an editorial director for Granta and Portobello books.