World premiere of 'Asking For It' coming to Cork and Dublin

The world premiere production of 'Asking for It' by Louise O’Neill will be performed on the stages of Cork's Everyman and Dublin's Abbey next year, writes Denise O'Donoghue.

The production is based on O'Neill's award-winning novel of the same name, which focuses on rape culture.

"Since the novel has been published, I have been overwhelmed by how people have responded," said O'Neill.

"I receive emails from men and women all over the world who want to share their stories with me. They tell me that this book has helped them endure. It has made them feel as if they are not alone. They say that this book has, finally, given them a voice.

"I have been humbled by these emails but it reinforced my belief in the power of art. I believe that art is not just a mirror, showing us our true selves, but it has the ability to shape the way in which we see ourselves, that it has the power to transform the world that we live in. Culture can change culture.

"I am truly eager to see what sort of change a theatrical adaptation of 'Asking for It' could enact."

'Asking for It' won the Book of Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2015, and spent 52 weeks in the Irish top 10 bestseller lists.

Bandit are developing a made-for-TV film adaptation of the novel, which is in the early stages of development.

"We are thrilled to be part of the Abbey Theatre’s remarkable 2018 season," said Anne Clarke, Landmark Productions, and Julie Kelleher, the Everyman.

"Thanks to the Abbey’s co-commissioning the stage adaptation of Louise O’Neill’s 'Asking for It', this hugely important production will have its world premiere at the Everyman as part of Cork Midsummer Festival, and will then be seen on the main stage of our national theatre."

The play is produced by Landmark Productions and the Everyman and co-commissioned by the Abbey Theatre.

Fighting Words Cork at Graffiti Theatre Company, in association with Cork Midsummer Festival, will deliver a participatory and community programme, working with young people and schools to champion the voices and creativity of 14-19 year olds.

It will be adapted for stage by Meadhbh McHugh in a collaboration with Annabelle Comyn, who also directs.

"When I read 'Asking for It' by Louise O’Neill it was like a punch to the stomach," said Comyn.

"I want my daughter, and her friends, and this next generation to be informed, made aware, and enabled and encouraged to speak openly about an important, complex and tricky and at times deeply divisive subject.

"Let it be controversial; let us look at ourselves."

The creative team also includes set designer Paul O’Mahony; lighting designer Sinead McKenna; sound designer Philip Stewart.

Tickets for both venues are on sale now.

Louise O'Neill

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