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Observe The Sons Of Ulster


A co-production between Citizens Theatre, Abbey Theatre, Headlong and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse of Frank McGuinness’ iconic play about WWI

Those I belonged to, those I have not forgotten, the irreplaceable ones, they kept their nerve, and they died.

On 1 July 1916, the 36th (Ulster) Division took part in one of the bloodiest battles in human history. The Battle of the Somme.

One hundred years on, a major new co-production of Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme directed by Headlong’s Artistic Director, Jeremy Herrin.

In the extraordinary circumstances of WWI, eight ordinary men are changed, changed utterly…

This iconic war play by Frank McGuinness is a powerful portrayal of mortality, love and loss.

What more have we to tell each other?

Citizens Theatre, Abbey Theatre Headlong and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse

Main Theatre

View seating plan

Recommended for 12+
Please be aware strobe lighting effects will be used during this performance

Previews 20, 21, 23 & 24 May
Audio Described: 2 Jun, 7.30pm
Signed: 3 Jun, 7.30pm
Captioned: 4 Jun, 2.30pm
Post Show Discussion: 31 May

Wheelchair Access
Guide Dogs welcome
Induction Loop


Writer - Frank McGuinness 
Director - Jeremy Herrin 
Set Designer - Ciaran Bagnall 
Costume Designer - Niamh Lunny  
Assistant Director - Bryony Shanahan 
Lighting Design - Paul Keogan 
Sound Design - Emma Laxton 
Composer - Stephen Warbeck 

CAST (in order of appearance)
Seán McGinley - Old Kenneth Pyper
Donal Gallery - Kenneth Pyper
Ryan Donaldson - David Craig
Iarla McGowan - John Millen
Chris McCurry - William Moore
Marcus Lamb - Christopher Roulston
Jonny Holden - Martin Crawford
Andy Kellegher - George Anderson
Paul Kennedy - Nat McIlwaine


“a deeply affecting production”The Telegraph★★★★★

“so powerful, so moving and so important.” The Reviews Hub★★★★★

“Herrin’s production has taken a genuinely brave piece of writing and made something that is both elegiac and heroic in every way.”
The Herald ★★★★

“rich, beautiful and compelling” The Scotsman  ★★★★

“it measures up entirely to the epic historical scale and the immense poetic stature of McGuinness’s magnificent script.”The Sunday Herald

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Observe The Sons of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme playtext for only £5!

Interview with Jeremy Herrin
Watch the trailer for Observe The Sons
Deaf Theatre Club Night: Fri 3 Jun

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, we want to make sure you can enjoy the best night out at the Citizens Theatre. Find out more about the Deaf Theatre Club.