(formerly Donal O’Kelly Productions)

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Catalpa Spring Tide Tour 2015

Catalpa

A classic of modern Irish theatre, Catalpa is the story of the daring 1876 whaleship rescue of six Irish prisoners from Fremantle penal colony in Australia - all in the vibrant imagination of a screenwriter, the best movie never made! Catalpa is about heroes and visionaries, political intrigue and personal loyalty, with hot romance, mixed-up rebels and battles at sea.

Catalpa is a subversive epic, a celebration of the power of live theatre, “lyrical and passionate, satirical and very funny” (Irish Times)

Since its premiere 20 years ago, Catalpa has toured the world to high acclaim, including New York, Chicago, Paris, Geneva, Helsinki and Harare Zimbabwe.

Scotsman Fringe First Award Edinburgh; Best Event Melbourne

“A rip-roaring one-man adventure” Washington Post

“Brilliant unravelling of the heroic epic .. a masterpiece” Scotsman

“Marvellous feat” Herald Sun Melbourne

“Rollicking, absorbing epic” Washington Times

“Brilliant writing, bravura performance” Sunday Times

“An improbably beautiful show” Variety USA

Written and performed by Donal O’Kelly.

Live music by Trevor Knight.


Writer, actor and director Donal O’Kelly trained in Deirdre O’Connell’s Focus Theatre Dublin.

As well as Catalpa, his much-travelled solo plays include Edinburgh Fringe First winner Fionnuala (about the Shell Mayo gas project), Bat The Father Rabbit The Son, Jimmy Joyced! and Hairy Jaysus (about Frank Sheehy-Skeffington).

Other plays include The Dogs, Hughie On The Wires, Trickledown Town, Farawayan, Operation Easter, Judas Of The Gallarus, Asylum! Asylum!, Vive La, The Cambria, The Hand, Running Beast, The Adventures of the Wet Señor, Jimmy Gralton’s Dancehall and Fishamble’s Little Thing, Big Thing.

His radio music-theatre 3-part serial Francisco, which he also directed, won the Radio Fiction Prix Europa 2013 and the Gold Medal for Best Drama Special at the 2014 New York International Radio Festival.

Film roles include The Van, Kings and Spin The Bottle, and on television Paths To Freedom and Fair City. He was a member of Aosdána 2007-2010, and Theatre Artist in Residence at the Glens Centre Manorhamilton 2011.


Trevor Knight formed the experimental jazz-fusion band Naima in the 1970s and later Auto Da Fe with singer/songwriter Gay Woods. He has also recorded and performed with Paul Brady, Philip Lynott, Mary Coughlan, Camille O’Sullivan and Donovan.

He has composed music and created sound design for many theatre productions. He adapted and directed Just A Little One - A Dorothy Parker Cocktail. His collaborations with Butoh choreographer Gyohei Zaitsu and Butoh dancer Maki Watanabe have included Slat, Visitant and The Devil’s Spine Band (coming to the Project January 2015).

He has collaborated with visual artist Alice Maher many times including her films The Music of Things, Godchildren of Enantios and a double-film with quadraphonic sound, Cassandra’s Necklace (IMMA). He also collaborated with performance artist Aine Phillips on Spectral – My Lake of Eggs. In March 2007 he became a member of Aosdana. He acted in Samuel Beckett’s “Rough for Theatre 1” at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013 and Tokyo, Japan

Tour Dates

Fri 16 Jan Lyric Belfast

Sat 17 Jan Lyric Belfast

Thurs 22 Jan Wexford Arts Centre

Sun 25 Jan The Mill Dundrum

Mon 26 Jan The Mill Dundrum

Wed 28 Jan An Grianán Letterkenny

Thur 29 Jan Riverbank Newbridge

Fri 30  Jan Watergate Kilkenny

Sat 31 Jan Seamus Ennis Arts Centre Naul


Tue 3 Feb Dunamaise Portlaoise

Thur 5 Feb Birr Arts Centre

Fri 6 Feb 69 O’Connell  Limerick

Sat 7 Feb Town Hall Galway

Sun 8 Feb Hawk’s Well Sligo

Tues 10 Feb Everyman Cork

Wed 11 Feb Dock Carrick-on-Shannon

Thur 12 Feb Ballina  Arts Centre

Fri 13 Feb Garter Lane Waterford

Sat 14 Feb Garter Lane Waterford

Tue 17 Feb Roscommon Arts Centre

Wed 18 Feb Linenhall Castlebar

Thur 19 Feb Marketplace Armagh

Fri 20 Feb Siamsa Tralee


Wed 4 Mar Garage Monaghan

Fri 6 Mar Glor Ennis

December 20, 2014   No Comments

Website being updated

The website is currently being updated with upcoming info, stand by for a relaunch.

Benbo’s 3-part radio fiction serial Francisco won the 2013 Prix Europa for Best Radio Fiction Serial/Series in Berlin, the first time a local station (broadcast partners Sligo-based Ocean FM) has ever won the Prix Europa in that category.

In June 2014, Francisco won the Gold Medal for Best Drama Special in the New York International Radio Festival.

In October 2014

The Cambria, performed by Sorcha Fox and Donal O'Kelly, music by trevor Knight, written and directed by Donal O'Kelly, sound supervision Ray Duffy

The Cambria, performed by Sorcha Fox and Donal O'Kelly, music by trevor Knight, written and directed by Donal O'Kelly, sound supervision Ray Duffy

, Benbo’s three-part serial The Cambria, based on Obama hero Frederick Douglass’s journey to ireland in 1845, took fifth place in the Radio Fiction Serial/Series category in the Prix Europa, the only Irish nominated entry to be shortlisted in any category in the 2014 Prix Europa.

Best Radio Fiction Serial/Series

Best Radio Fiction Serial/Series

November 10, 2014   No Comments

Catalpa, 8pm in the Viking Clontarf until Sat 27th July 13

Until Sat 27th July 13, 8pm nightly in The Viking Clontarf, booking 087 1129970:

Donal O’Kelly’s Catalpa, written and performed by Donal O’Kelly, music composed and performed by Trevor Knight, has toured widely over the past decade, including New York, Chicago, Melbourne, Paris, Copenhagen, Geneva and Helsinki.
Catalpa is a story in the great epic tradition of Moby Dick and Gone With The Wind - with a passing glance at The Great Escape. From New Bedford, USA to Fremantle, Australia, across the high seas on the whaling ship Catalpa. Based on the true story of the daring rescue of six Irish prisoners in 1875, culminating in the first ever ticker-tape parade in New York City.
Catalpa is about heroes and visionaries, political intrigue and personal loyalty, with hot romance and battles at sea. An epic adventure story that challenges the nature of heroism. Lyrical and passionate, satirical and very funny.
“A masterpiece … searingly satirical, comic, tragic, profoundly sensitive”
 The Scotsman
“Exuberant, exhilarating, magical … it’s a triumph, a joy, a delight” Irish Times
“Marvellous feat … wonderfully varied and passionate” Herald Sun Melbourne
“Brilliant writing, bravura performance”
 Sunday Times
“A rip-roaring one-man adventure” 
Washington Post
“A brilliant unravelling of the heroic epic” 
Irish Times
“If ever there was a play you should see, this is it. A true event in Irish theatre” The Examiner

July 24, 2013   No Comments

Catalpa in The Viking @ Connollys The Sheds Clontarf

This week, Mon-Sat, 8.30pm in The Viking Clontarf, booking 087 1129970:

Donal O’Kelly’s Catalpa, written and performed by Donal O’Kelly, music composed and performed by Trevor Knight, has toured widely over the past decade, including New York, Chicago, Melbourne, Paris, Copenhagen, Geneva and Helsinki.
Catalpa is a story in the great epic tradition of Moby Dick and Gone With The Wind - with a passing glance at The Great Escape. From New Bedford, USA to Fremantle, Australia, across the high seas on the whaling ship Catalpa. Based on the true story of the daring rescue of six Irish prisoners in 1875, culminating in the first ever ticker-tape parade in New York City.
Catalpa is about heroes and visionaries, political intrigue and personal loyalty, with hot romance and battles at sea. An epic adventure story that challenges the nature of heroism. Lyrical and passionate, satirical and very funny.
“A masterpiece … searingly satirical, comic, tragic, profoundly sensitive”
 The Scotsman
“Exuberant, exhilarating, magical … it’s a triumph, a joy, a delight” Irish Times
“Marvellous feat … wonderfully varied and passionate” Herald Sun Melbourne
“Brilliant writing, bravura performance”
 Sunday Times
“A rip-roaring one-man adventure” 
Washington Post
“A brilliant unravelling of the heroic epic” 
Irish Times
“If ever there was a play you should see, this is it. A true event in Irish theatre” The Examiner

March 4, 2013   No Comments

Donal O’Kelly’s Fishy Fest at the Viking

Fishy Fest is a festival of four of Donal O’Kelly’s celebrated solo shows presented in a two-week festival in the Clontarf seafront venue over Connollys - The Sheds. Booking: 087 1129970

Bat The Father Rabbit The Son, Mon-Sat, 25 Feb – 2 March, 8.30pm €10

Rabbit, Thurs-Sat, 28 Feb – 2 March, 6.30pm €8

Catalpa, Mon-Sat, 4-9 March, 8.30pm €10

Ailliliú Fionnuala, Thurs-Fri, 7-8 March 6.30pm, (Sat 9 Mar 6pm) €8

Teatime and evening shows combined: Special ticket €15.

Mongo Saturday 9th March: All Four Shows, plus a reading. The Good Ship Schitzenzootz 11am; Rabbit 1pm; Bat The Father Rabbit The Son 3pm; Ailliliú Fionnuala 6pm; Catalpa 8.30pm. All-in ticket €35; two shows €15.

Bat The Father Rabbit The Son. The selfmade haulage magnate Rabbit is haunted by his deceased father Bat, a Citizen Army volunteer and pawnshop assistant. They go on a demented voyage out of Howth and into Dublin Bay. First produced by Rough Magic, directed by Declan Hughes, in 1988. It transferred to New York, and toured widely thereafter. “A prose poem of magical beauties and plunging vulgarities .. friends, it is purely brilliant” New York Post. “One of the strongest dramatic conclusions I’ve ever seen” The Guardian.

Rabbit enlists the aid of his minion Keogh to find what he’s lost – the happiness of his childhood and youth, first presented in 1986, directed by Maggie Byrne. “A marvelously sustained piece of Perrin meets Beckett .. I’ve never seen an audience laugh so much” Tom Matthews, In Dublin.

Catalpa, with live music by Trevor Knight, has toured widely since premiered by Red Kettle in 1995, directed by Bairbre Ní Chaoimh. Based on the whaleship rescue of six Fenians from the Fremantle penal colony in 1876, it’s an epic adventure story that challenges the nature of heroism. ”A masterpiece .. searingly satirical, comic, tragic, profoundly sensitive” The Scotsman “A brilliant unraveling of the heroic epic” Irish Times

Ailliliú Fionnuala. Ambrose Keogh, who made his name as Rabbit’s go-for, works for Shell. When the Tunnel Boring Machine he named Fionnuala sinks into the bog in Co. Mayo, he is magically confronted by Fionnuala of the Children of Lir. “Cuts a swathe through Shell/State propaganda” Hot Press

“O’Kelly performs superbly” Sunday Independent.

February 7, 2013   No Comments

Upcoming Shows, Sligo, Manorhamilton & Maynooth

Ailliliú Fionnuala - four shows in three venues in the next five days, Thursday to Monday.

Thurs 31st Jan: 8pm, The Model Sligo, and post-show discussion with John Monaghan, Rossport resident and spokesman for Pobal Cill Comain, chaired by Andy Storey of UCD, chairman of Afri. Launch of Ailliliú Fionnuala booklet.

Fri 1st Feb: 8.30pm, Glens Centre Manorhamilton, and post-show discussion with Mary Corduff and Goldman Environmental prize-winner and member of the Rossport Five Willie Corduff


Sat 2nd Feb: 8.30pm, Glens Centre Manorhamilton. post-show discussion with director Sorcha Fox and Eddie Mitchell of Love Leitrim, linking Shell-Corrib with the fracking industry; also the launch of a new song, The Erris Air, by Cathy Jordan of Dervish and The Unwanted, with musical friends.


Mon 4th Feb: 7.30pm, ClassHall F, Arts Bldg, NUI Maynooth, with post-show discussion with Prof. Laurence Cox and Theresa O’Keefe

January 30, 2013   No Comments

Aililliú Fionnuala

January 28, 2013   No Comments

Ailliliú Fionnuala, live theatre based on the Shell Corrib gas project

Benbo Productions presents Ailliliú Fionnuala,

written and performed by Donal O’Kelly,

directed by Sorcha Fox, designed by Robert Ballagh.

Ambrose Keogh works for Shell. When the Tunnel Boring Machine he named Fionnuala sinks into the bog in Erris Co. Mayo, he is magically confronted by Fionnuala of the Children of Lir. Fionnuala puts a geas on him – he’s bound to tell the truth about Shell’s operations, such as the attack on Willie Corduff in the Shell site at Glengad. During his ordeal, Ambrose meets his primary school classmate, Malachy Downes, an anti-pipeline activist, and echoes from the past resound.

Donal O’Kelly’s award-winning solo plays include Catalpa, Joyced! and Bat The Father Rabbit The Son. Other plays include The Cambria, Jimmy Gralton’s Dancehall, The Adventures Of The Wet Señor, Vive La, Operation Easter, Asylum! Asylum! and The Dogs.

“Cuts a swathe through Shell/State propaganda, allowing audiences to access the truth of what’s happening in North Mayo” Hot Press

“O’Kelly performs superbly” Sunday Independent

“Digs for truth beneath the controversies” Irish Times

“A stirring piece of theatre” Irish Theatre Magazine

“Highly entertaining while packing a punch” Exeunt Magazine

Info: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Benbo-Productions/150959184937388


January 28, 2013   No Comments

Ailliliú Fionnuala

Ailliliú Fionnuala upcoming shows:

Sat 26th Jan: 8pm, Pilot’s Row Community Centre, Derry, with post-show discussion including human rights lawyer Gareth Pierce.

Thurs 31st Jan: 8pm, The Model Sligo, post-show discussion with John Monaghan, Rossport resident and spokesman for Pobal Cill Comain, chaired by Andy Storey of UCD, chairman of Afri. Launch of Ailliliú Fionnuala booklet.

Fri 1st Feb: 8.30pm, Glens Centre Manorhamilton, post-show discussion with Mary Corduff and Goldman Environmental prize-winner and member of the Rossport Five Willie Corduff


Sat 2nd Feb: 8.30pm, Glens Centre Manorhamilton. post-show discussion with director Sorcha Fox, linking Shell-Corrib with the fracking industry, and the launch of a new song, The Erris Air, by Cathy Jordan of Dervish and The Unwanted, with musical friends.


Mon 4th Feb: 7.30pm, ClassHall F, Arts Bldg, NUI Maynooth, with post-show discussion with Prof. Laurence Cox and Theresa O’Keefe

January 28, 2013   No Comments

Joyced! Katie O’Kelly nominated for Stage Award for Acting Excellence!! Edinburgh Fringe 2012

http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/37073/nominations-revealed-for-the-stages

Donal and Katie O'Kelly - Joyced! nominated for Stage Award

Donal and Katie O'Kelly - Joyced! nominated for Stage Award

August 17, 2012   No Comments