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First Look: Translations at London's Olivier Theatre, National

First-look photos have been released for Ian Rickson's highly praised production of Translations, which has returned to the National Theatre in London to play a strictly limited season in the venue's Olivier Auditorium until 18 December 2019. The thought-provoking show opened for previews on 15 October and held its official press night on Monday, 21 October. Check out the gorgeous production photos for Translations below.

Production photos by © Catherine Ashmore


Translations is officially back at London's National Theatre

Following a sold-out run, Brian Friel's classic play returns to the National Theatre for a highly anticipated encore. 

The plot of Translations follows a tempestuous relationship between Ireland and England unfold in a quiet Irish community. Nationhood, identity politics, cultural imperialism and sociolinguistics come into play as two British army officers come to Baile Beag in County Donegal with their sole mission to replace the local Gaelic placenames with English ones. But this cartographic oppression proves to reap devastating consequences for the locals who fantasise "mapping out" a plan of opposition. Ireland's culture, language, and heritage are at stake and at the mercy of a merciless rampage of anglicisation. Set in 1833, Translations manages to feel just as relevant in 2019 as the English language continues to become more widespread.

Translations is directed by Ian Rickson and features lighting design by Neil Austin, set and costume design by Rae Smith, music by Stephen Warbeck, movement direction by Anna Morrissey, and sound design by Ian Dickinson.

A background of Translations, the play by Brian Friel

The play was written in 1980 by Brian Friel, who was inspired by the Act of Union, which united the Kingdom of Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland, and the Great Famine in the 19th century during which 1 million Irish people died from starvation caused by a shortage of potatoes. The Great Hunger permanently changed Ireland's demographics as not only many people died, but also many Irish people emigrated to the United States. Friel was also inspired by colonialist themes and the death of the Irish language.

Both Irish-language and Welsh-language versions of the Translations play have been adapted as well as a radio play version directed by Kirsty Williams. The National Theatre production itself is performed entirely in English, despite some characters being Irish, perhaps to create the illusion that their Irish is being translated or to drive home the point of linguistic imperialism.

Translations National Theatre tickets on sale now from £36!

Don't miss the long-awaited return of Translations now showing at the Olivier Theatre at the National. Be sure to book your Translations tickets early to secure the best seats and the best prices whilst stocks last. Don't let all the good tickets become lost in translation!


Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.


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