DkIT theatre dedicated to Tomás Mac Anna as Dancing at Lughnasa opens


A performance space on the Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) campus is being named Mac Anna Theatre in recognition of the work in Irish theatre of Dundalk man Tomás Mac Anna who died earlier this year, aged 87.

A Tony Award winner, Mr Mac Anna was artistic director of the Abbey Theatre and worked in various roles at Ireland’s national theatre in six different decades having joined in 1947. To mark the dedication of the DkIT theatre to the Dundalk man, a production of Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel will be staged by BA in Humanities - Performing Arts (Acting) students from November 23-26.

The numerous 20th Century classic Irish dramas directed by Tomás Mac Anna during his tenure at the Abbey Theatre included Tarry Flynn; The Loves of Cass McGuire; Borstal Boy; The Shadow of A Gunman; The Playboy of the Western World; The Plough and the Stars and The Quare Fellow. He also directed 12 Irish language plays that he himself wrote and was set designer for several acclaimed productions. He also spent two years as a visiting professor in Minnesota.

Dr Fiona Fearon, lecturer in theatre studies, DkIT said: “We are delighted to dedicate the theatre to Mr Mac Anna who maintained a great interest in Dundalk wherever his career brought him. Indeed, I was lucky enough to interview him in 1998 and he challenged me at that stage that it was ‘high time Dundalk had a modern playhouse’.

“The contribution that this gentleman made to Irish theatre from the 1940s to 1990s is immeasurable and his career brought him deserved recognition that he always batted away with his trademark modesty. His was one of the key inputs to keeping the Abbey Theatre centre stage in Irish cultural life through the second half of the last century.

“For the first production at the Mac Anna Theatre, we have chosen Brian Friel’s classic Dancing at Lughnasa which will run at 7.30pm night for four nights from Wednesday-Saturday, November 23-26. This will be the inaugural production by the final year students of new BA in Performing Arts (Acting), a three-year fulltime programme and which aims to to equip graduates with a range of skills that will serve them well in their careers as professional actors.

“Opened as the provisionally-named Black Box Theatre four years ago, the Mac Anna Theatre is a great campus resource and is increasingly important to Dundalk more widely.”

Priced at just €8 (concessions €4), tickets for Dancing at Lughnasa in the Mac Anna Theatre at Dundalk Institute of Technology are available by calling (042) 9370200 – extension 2811 or  by emailing