A Citizens Theatre, Abbey Theatre, Headlong and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse co-production

Fri 20 May – Sat 4 Jun 2016, Citizens Theatre

PRESS NIGHT: Wednesday 25 May

Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme
By Frank McGuinness
Directed by Jeremy Herrin
Designed by Ciaran Bagnall  with costumes by Niamh Lunny  - Lighting by Paul Keogan  - Sound by Emma Laxton  - Composer Stephen Warbeck 

Full casting is announced for a major co-production between the Citizens Theatre, The Abbey Theatre, Headlong, and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse of Frank McGuinness’s iconic war play Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, which plays at the Citizens Theatre from 20 May – 4 June 2016.
The full cast is Ryan Donaldson  (Craig), Donal Gallery  (Young Pyper), Jonny Holden  (Crawford), Andy Kelleher (Anderson), Paul Kennedy  (McIlwaine), Marcus Lamb  (Roulston), Chris McCurry  (Moore), Seán McGinley  (Old Pyper) and Iarla McGowan  (Millen).

On 1 July 1916, the 36th (Ulster) Division took part in one of the bloodiest battles in human history, The Battle of the Somme, on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne of 1690.

Acknowledged as a modern masterpiece, this significant revival marks the centenary of The Battle of The Somme and will embark on a major tour of the UK and Ireland. The production premieres in Glasgow before travelling to Liverpool and venues throughout Northern Ireland, before an 8-week run at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, where the show had its world premiere in 1985, and finishing the tour in England.

Frank McGuinness’ deeply humane play is a poetic and complex response to the futility of war.  We follow the fate of eight young Ulster volunteers as cultural ties interact with individual friendships and the realisation that ultimately their true allegiance lies with one another. Elegantly and movingly drawn, McGuinness captures the deep love of men and shows with lyrical grace how war unites and extinguishes them.

McGuinness is an internationally renowned novelist, short story writer, poet and opera librettist, as well as playwright. His many plays include The Factory Girls, There Came A Gypsy Riding, The Match Box, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me and The Hanging Gardens. He is equally acclaimed for his adaptations of classic texts which include A Doll’s House, Hedda Gabler, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Peer Gynt, Oedipus and Phaedra to name but a few.

Headlong are regular visitors to the Citizens Theatre, with audiences packing out the theatre to see the company’s 1984, which shortly returns to London’s West End and has been seen by over a quarter of a million people. The company have also brought recent productions The Absence of War, The Seagull and Angels in America to the Gorbals theatre, and previously collaborated with the Citizens Theatre on an adaptation of Medea.

Director Jeremy Herrin is the Artistic Director of Headlong. His production of Duncan Macmillan’s People Places and Things enjoyed a sell-out run at the National Theatre and is currently playing in the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre. Other Headlong credits include The Nether (Duke of Yorks/ Royal Court) and The Absence of War (Sheffield/Tour).  For the RSC, the hugely successfully and award-winning world premiere of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall/Bring Up the Bodies (West End/ Broadway), for which he won the Evening Standard Award for Best Director and was nominated for Best Director at the 2015 Tony Awards. Other credits include This House (National Theatre) for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Director. Jeremy was Deputy Artistic Director of the Royal Court from 2009 until 2012 where his work included No Quarter, Hero, Haunted Child, The Heretic, Kin, Spur of the Moment, Off the Endz, The Priory, Tusk Tusk, and That Face which transferred to the West End.

Tickets are available now from the Citizens Theatre website citz.co.uk or by calling the Box Office on 0141 429 0022.



Press Night: Wednesday 25 May

For press information and reviewing tickets please contact Cliona Roberts on 020 7704 6224 or 07754 756504 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) , or Claire Lowney, Marketing Officer, Citizens Theatre 0141 418 6232 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


A Citizens Theatre, Abbey Theatre, Headlong, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Co-production
By Frank McGuinness

Dates: 20 May – 4 Jun
Preview: 20, 21, 23 & 24 May, 7.30pm
Matinees: 28 May & 4 Jun 2.30pm
Audio Described performance: 2 Jun 7.30pm
Signed performance: 3 Jun 7.30pm
Captioned performance: 4 Jun 2.30pm

Tickets: 50p - £22.50
Previews £9.50 | Tuesdays £12.50
50p Tickets | 10 tickets, 10 performances on sale at 10am Saturday 14 May
NB – 50p Tickets must be bought in person at the theatre, cash only


Wednesday 8 June to Saturday 25 June
Liverpool Playhouse
Tickets: 0151 709 4776

Wednesday 6 to Sunday 17 July
Belfast Lyric
Tickets:028 9038 1081

Wednesday 20 to Thursday 21 July
Millennium Forum, Derry
Tickets: 0287 1264455

Saturday 23 July
Market Place Theatre and Arts Centre, Armagh
Tickets: 028 3752 1821

Tuesday 26 July
Riverside Theatre Coleraine
Tickets: 028 7012 3123

Saturday 30 July
Strule Arts Centre, Omagh
Tickets: 028 8224 7831

Saturday 6 August to Saturday 24 September
Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
Tickets:  00 353 1 8787222

Tuesday 27 September to Sat Ist October
Oxford Playhouse
Tickets: 0186 530 5305

Tuesday 4 to Saturday 8 October
Cambridge Arts Theatre
Tickets: 01223 503 333

With further dates to be announced shortly


“As theatrical icons go, few come bigger than Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre” (The Herald)
The Citizens Theatre is an iconic venue and theatre company based in the Gorbals area of Glasgow. It has been one of Scotland’s flagship producing theatres since 1945. Fondly known as the Citz, it is led by Artistic Director-Joint Chief Executive, Dominic Hill and Executive Director-Joint Chief Executive, Judith Kilvington.
Within a beautiful Victorian auditorium that dates from 1878, the Citizens presents a world-class, contemporary repertoire based on bold new interpretations of classic texts. As its name suggests, it places a strong emphasis on work that can enhance and transform the lives of citizens of all ages, cultures and social backgrounds through performance and participation that everyone can access.
The theatre is currently planning and fundraising for an ambitious £20.5 million building re-development which will be the first comprehensive, integrated redevelopment of the building in its 138 year history.
For the latest information on all Citizens Theatre shows, learning and participation activity and the forthcoming theatre redevelopment project visit citz.co.uk

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