Though born in Dublin, playwright Marina Carr grew up in the midlands, later studying English and philosophy at University College Dublin. A member of Aosdána, the affiliation of creative artists in Ireland, she was destined to be talented artistically, given that her father Hugh was a playwright and her mother, Maura Eibhlín Breathnach, a poet. Theatre was an integral part of growing up in the Carr household, and Marina and her siblings even had a stage in their shed.

Actively writing now for almost 35 years, Carr has enjoyed critical acclaim and success in Ireland, and her renown has spread beyond these shores. Her skills as a writer were recognised with the awarding of the E. M. Forster prize by the American Academy of Arts and Letters two decades ago. Other recipients of that award include Seamus Heaney, Nick Hornby, Julian Barnes, Colm Tóibín and, more recently, Sally Rooney.

Carr’s first play, Ullaloo, was written in 1989. However, it was almost a decade before the appearance of the play for which she is probably most well-known, By the Bog of Cats, which opened at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin with Olwen Fouéré in the lead role.

By the Bog of Cats, along with the disturbing drama Portia Coughlan and The Mai, written in succession over a four-year time frame, are often referred to as Carr’s Midlands Trilogy.

2024 will see the Abbey stage world premiere performances of two new works by Marina Carr. The synchronicity of this happening is that the Abbey will be celebrating 120 years in existence, while Carr will reach the age of 60. Both of the Carr plays are part of The Gregory Project, honouring the theatre’s founder, Lady Gregory.

Upcoming work

The Gregory Project comprises of seven major plays by female writers, Hilary Fannin, Elizabeth Kuti, Barbara Bergin, Mary Manning, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Marina Carr. They are set to embody Lady Gregory’s ideals of excellence, ambition, inclusion, risk-taking and celebration, taking their lead from her tenacious, passionate, and relentless support of Irish artists, storytellers and writers.

The Gregory Project will open with Audrey or Sorrow, bringing audiences on a shape-shifting, time-bending deep dive into a world of family secrets, unimaginable loss, ghosts behaving badly and the endless pull of the sea. The play is typical of much of Marina Carr’s work to date. The play will run for a month from 23 February 2024.

At a date yet to be announced, Carr’s The Boy is set to be a radical, contemporary Irish interpretation of the Greek Theban trilogy of Oedipus, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone, told from a mother’s perspective. It continues Carr’s conversation with the foundations of modern drama and questions what it means to be human in 2024. It marks her third year as the Abbey Theatre’s Senior Associate Playwright.

Both of the Carr plays will be directed by the Abbey Theatre’s artistic director Caitríona McLaughlin.

Tickets are on sale from €15 – €45 at

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