An 18thC poem reimagined
with music, song and hilarity.
in association with
The Midnight Court
A Traditional Opera by Seán Tyrrell
Directed by Maelíosa Stafford
Translation by David Marcus
...where women find their voice
and men face the music...
Galway Town Hall
Banned and beloved in equal measure, Cúirt an Mheán Oíche or The Midnight Court, written by Brian Merriman in 1780, is widely considered to be one of the greatest ever Irish comic poems.
In 1992 Seán Tyrrell, legendary musician and songwriter, was inspired to bring this classic work to the stage. He approached Maeliosa Stafford at the Druid and working with David Marcus' fresh translation the production had its debut as part of the Galway Arts Festival. The Midnight Court became a cult hit, performed only at midnight with women on one side of the auditorium and men on the other. Since then it has played throughout Ireland and toured to Edinburgh and the USA.
Now, in 2020, Seán and Maeliosa are reviving the production with a new cast and global aspirations. The new production will premiere at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway in June.
When first translated into English in 1945, the poem was immediately banned by the Irish Censorship Board. The story is as true today as when it was first written centuries ago, taking swipes at gender inequality, celibacy and political corruption.
Seán Tyrrell's adaptation pulls no punches. His musical score draws on his abiding love of traditional instrumentation and the libretto reflects his acute social and historical sensibility. Together Seán and Maeliosa have created a hilarious satyrical romp where the battle of the sexes is played out with gusto.
The production will be a collaboration between Seán Tyrrell’s Aeval Productions and Maelíosa Stafford’s Australian production company, O’Punksky's theatre. Initially it is planned to stage the production in ten centres throughout Ireland during 2020 and then to take the production to Australia.
The acclaimed artist Pauline Bewick has very kindly given permission to use her visual translation of the Midnight Court as part of the design and for the promotion of the production.
For more information please contact
The Midnight Court Reviews