Dancing at Lughnasa

women dancing
Fall, 2018
Written By: Brian Friel
Directed By: Ellen Hemphill

The pagan hilltop rituals of Lughnasa, the ancient Gaelic harvest festival, were abandoned after the Christianization of Ireland.  Or were they?  In Brian Friel’s play, dancing and sacrifice continue to feature in the lives of five sisters, one ex-priest, and one illegitimate child, as they struggle to stay afloat emotionally and financially in 1930s Ireland.  Music and movement carry this seemingly simple story, revealing the inner lives, the passions and obsessions of the sisters. The sisters’ riotous dancing offers hints of the old (and perhaps ongoing) celebration of life juxtaposed against the strict Catholic tradition of the household and the town itself.

Please join director Ellen Hemphill (Duke Theater Studies professor and artistic director of Archipelago Theater), guest composer Allison Leyton-Brown and the cast of Duke undergraduates for this microcosmic exploration of the human struggle to maintain joy against all odds.  

November 8-11 and 15-17 at 8p, November 12 & 18 at 2p

Tickets $15 general, $10 student, For tickets, visit https://tickets.duke.edu/online/article/lughnasa18


Ahnna Beruk - Kate

Theo Holt - Michael/Narrator

Jacob Allen - Gerry

Bryant Lewis  - Jack

Tara Maier - Maggie

Samantha Steger - Chris

Samantha Streit - Rose

Anna Waters - Agnes


Ellen Hemphill, Director

Derrick Ivey, Scenic and Costume Designer

Ross Kolman, Lighting Designer

Alex Maness, Video Projection Designer

Allison Leyton-Brown, Music Arranger

Badger Koon, Sound Designer

Kirby Wahl, Dialect Coach

Megan Kelly Tisdale, Irish Dance Instructor

Natasha A. Jackson, Stage Manager

Michael O'Foghludha, Consultant

Joshua Kopen, Assistant Stage Manager

David DiGuiseppe, Musician

Rob Sharer, Musician

Tim Domack, Props Master

Sonya Drum, Scenic Painter

Aaron Lopez-Barrantes, Poster Designer


Maria Zurita Ontiveros, light board operator

Jessica Minor, master electrician

Eddie Roberson, video operator

Scott Silver, audio operator

Costume, hair & make-up crew: Grace Abels, Banu Priya Karuppaiah Alagar, Katie Cannon, Micki Haralson, Reilly Johnson


Marcy Edenfield, Production Manager 

Rich Kless, Technical Director

David Berberian, Scene Shop Manager

Erin M. West, Costume Shop Manager

Dierdre Reynolds Shipman, Producer & Publicist