1990 Theatre in Cork

Everyman Palace Theatre Opening Thumbnail‌‌In March 1990 the Everyman group moved to a new venue. Established in 1962, the group performed at the Little Theatre in Castle Street before finding a more permanent home in 1972 at the Everyman Playhouse in Father Matthew Street. Productions were performed at this venue for fifteen years until 1987, when a move to the Palace Theatre on MacCurtain Street was planned (Evening Echo, 19 (p. 1) & 31 (p. 5) March 1990). The first Everyman production at the new Everyman Palace Theatre took place in March 1990 with Eamon Morrissey's one-man show based on the works of Myles na gCopaleen, The Brother. The Lord Mayor was present at the opening night on 19 March and The Brother played at the Everyman Palace for one week until March 24 (Cork Examiner, 20 March 1990, p. 1 & 2).

April saw two major productions play in Cork. At the start of the month the Irish Operatic Repertory Company presented Sigmund Romberg's, The Desert Song. This production featured Des Manahan, Mon Murphy, Michael McCarthy and John O'Flynn and played for an extended run at Cork Opera House from 3 to 11 April (Evening Echo and Cork Examiner, April 1990). Blood Brothers Image‌Following this the Opera House also played host to Willy Russell's hugely successful musical, Blood Brothers. In the lead roles of the lost-lost siblings were David O'Meara and Nigel Richards. The cast also featured Karen Hamill as Mrs. Johnson, Jill Doyle as Linda and an extended cast including Paul Raynor and Risteard Cooper, laterly well-known for his roles in Après Match, I Keano and more recently, Irish Pictorial Weekly on RTÉ television. Blood Brothers ran in Cork from 16 to 28 April (Cork Examiner and Evening Echo, April 1990).

Theatre played a central role in the Cork Summer Festival in July 1990 with productions staged at venues across the city. Among the productions were: Gogol's The Diary of a Madman at the Triskel Arts Centre from 24 to 27 July, in which Tim McDowell portrayed a middle-aged clerk's descent into madness. The Everyman Palace opened a series of events with Brendan Dunlea's musical adaption of John B. Keane's Many Young Men of Twenty. The Cork Opera House transformed the scene dock area of the theatre on Half Moon Street to host the Meridian Theatre Company's adaption of Castle Rackrent from 26 July to 4 August. This production was based on Maria Edgeworth's novel from 1800 satirizing corrupt landlordism and the mismangement of Irish estates during the Age of Union. For this production, the Opera House adapted its staging to recreate the atmosphere of an 18th-century Big House and for close integration with the audience (Evening Echo, 21 July 1990, p. 9).

The Everyman Palace played host to a theatrical offering from Seamus Heaney in November 1990. The Cure at Troy was Heaney's adaption of the ancient Greek work Philoctetes by Sophocles. Presented by the Field Day Theatre Comapny, direction for this play came from Cork native Bob Crowley and actor Stephen Rea. An original score for the play was composed by former Planxty and Moving Hearts member Dónal Lunny. The Cure at Troy played in Cork from 27 November to 1 December (Cork Examiner, 26 November 1990, p. 5).

Royal National Theatre Advertisement ThumbnailThe most significant visting performance of the year came in December with the arrival of London's Royal National Theatre. The group arrived in Cork following the invitation of Cork Opera House general manger Gerry Barnes. The group performed two Shakespearean produtions: Richard III was adapted to a setting in 1930s Britain with a focus on Fascist influences of the decade and featured renowned stage actor Ian McKellan in the title role. Brian Cox lead the cast in the group's second production at the Opera House in King Lear. The Royal National Theatre performed in Cork from 4 to 8 December (Cork Examiner, 1 (p. 4), 5 (p. 22) & 11 (p. 7) December 1990).


Select links below for further information.


19 March The Brother Everyman Palace Theatre
28 August Summer Revels '90 Cork Opera House
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