A production of one of the world’s best known theatrical masterpieces will visit the length and breadth of the country this autumn.
The Gate Theatre’s production of Samuel Beckett’s 'Waiting for Godot' will play for one night only in 40 venues in all 32 counties over the next eight weeks.
The first of its kind tour, which kicks off tomorrow, marks the theatre’s 80th anniversary celebrations and the 20th anniversary of this production.
Cast members from the original 1988 production, including Alan Stanford, Stephen Brennan, Barry McGovern and Johnny Murphy, reunited for the tour.
The first performance takes place in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford where Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir conceived the idea of the Gate, and finishes up in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh where a young Beckett attended school.
Actor Alan Stanford, who plays Pozzo, said the cast, under the directorship of Walter Asmus, finds a new meaning in the play with each performance.
“It really is a wonderful cast and a remarkable director,” he said.
“We fight, we moan and we argue but we always manage to find something fresh and new in the play after all these years which is a rare thing. At this stage, it’s part of our psyche.”
The purpose of touring the country on the specially-adapted Godot bus is to bring theatre to audiences outside the Pale.
“The couple living in Belturbet are as entitled to access the arts as people living in Dublin 4,” said Mr Stanford.
“Just because they’re not living in that magical 40-mile circumference doesn’t mean that they’re not entitled to the same experience.
“If it costs more to do it then so be it because people are paying the same taxes to fund it.”
It was the legendary playwright himself who asked Gate director Michael Colgan to produce the play more than two decades ago.
This production has been a hit all over the world touring America three times, China, Australia and Dublin on countless occasions.
“It was seen as very weighty and esoteric for many years but there has been a new movement,” said Mr Stanford.
“People are realising that it is very funny and moving.”
The production is supported by Ulster Bank, the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, the Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland.