Futures is a programme created to support the future of contemporary Irish theatre artists, through commissioning, developing and co-producing new work.

The COVID-19 crisis continues to have a far a reaching personal, political and environmental impact and has made precarious the encounter between artists and the public that is fundamental to liveness. It has also amplified existing inequalities and revealed the fragility of many of our systems, including the performing arts ecology.

At the same time, we believe that there is an urgent need for artistic responses to the situation we find ourselves in; to ask critical questions, to foster solidarity and to dare to be joyful and hopeful. Futures gives artists and their collaborators the resources to access to time, space and materials to develop ideas.

In 2020 we invited theatre-makers based in Ireland to apply for awards to fund the development of new ideas for performance that responded to our contemporary moment and that navigate the challenges to presenting live work during a pandemic.

What we can achieve together.

Co-productions premiering as part of Dublin Theatre Festival in recent years have toured Ireland and prestigious international venues and festivals, including Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Sadler’s Wells London, St. Anne’s Warehouse New York City, and Schaubühne Berlin.

Bringing together the virtuoso, Irish traditional concertina player Cormac Begley, the European classical, contemporary collective, s t a r g a z e and twelve international dancers from the Teaċ Daṁsa company, MÁM was a meeting place between soloist and ensemble, classical and traditional, the local and universal.

Following the success of his acclaimed re-imagining of the world-famous ballet, Swan Lake/Loch na hEala (2016), Michael Keegan-Dolan and Teaċ Daṁsa, returned to the festival in 2019 with a new mythic yet timely production that acknowledged how life's polarities can on occasion come together and find resolution.

Co-produced by Teaċ Daṁsa, Dublin Theatre Festival, Sadler's Wells London and New Zealand Festival.

Swan Lake / Loch na hEala is the first production made by Teaċ Daṁsa, a company founded by Michael Keegan-Dolan in 2016  as a means to forge deeper connections with the traditions, language and the music of Ireland and to continue the tradition of ground-breaking productions for which Michael is reputed.

Premiered at the 2016 Dublin Theatre Festival, Swan Lake / Loch na hEala has toured the world including to Sadler’s Wells London, Stuttgart, Wellington, Sydney, Seoul, Toronto and Moscow.

It won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best production in 2017 and the 2018 UK National Dance Award for Best Modern Choreography.

During the turmoil of the Russian Revolution in 1917, Maria Chekhov, Anton’s sister, placed many of her late brother’s manuscripts and papers in a safety deposit box in Moscow. In 1921 Soviet scholars opened the box, and discovered a play.

The title page was missing. The play they found has too many characters, too many themes, too much action. All in all, it’s generally dismissed as unstageable. Like life.

Chekhov's First Play premiered in September 2015 at Samuel Beckett Centre, as part of Dublin Theatre Festival. It then went on to tour internationally including performances as part of Brisbane Festival, Australia, Alexandrinsky Theatre, St Petersburg and BAC, London.

In 2015, Dublin Theatre Festival supported Landmark Productions and Wide Open Opera with their production of The Last Hotel. This contemporary opera united two of Ireland’s most fascinating artists, one of the most thrilling writers of our generation Enda Walsh (Once, The Walworth Farce, Ballyturk), and internationally acclaimed composer Donnacha Dennehy, in a new opera about life, death, duty and guilt.

This hotly anticipated production came to Dublin following rave reviews from its premiere at the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival and then went on to thrill audiences at The Royal Opera House, London, St. Ann’s Warehouse, New York and Les Théâtres de la Ville, Luxemburg.

Waiting for Godot was named ‘the most important play of the 20th century’ by The New York Times. Beckett’s first and funniest play, it brought the writer fame and introduced his work to a worldwide audience.

In 2013, Dublin Theatre Festival co-produced a new production of Waiting for Godot with Gare St Lazare Players Ireland, the foremost interpreters of Beckett’s work.

After premiering at The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin in October 2013, the show toured to The Lyric Theatre for Belfast Festival at Queens, to Boston to perform at Arts Emerson The World On Stage Series in November 2013. In 2014 the show toured to Shanghai as part of the ACT International Festival of Contemporary Theatre at Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre (SDAC) and Skirball Center in New York.