The Avenue

Artist Name(s) Christian O'Reilly
Artwork title The Avenue
Context/Background This theatre project, The Avenue was an art commission which took place in Listowel and Lixnaw, County Kerry in 2004. It was commissioned under the Per Cent for Art Scheme through the Housing Department, Kerry County Council, with funding from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Listowel is famous for the number of writers and playwrights who have come from the town and its local area. These include John B Keane, Bryan MacMahon, George Fitzmaurice, Maurice Walsh and Brendan Kennelly. Ruairí Ó'Cuív, Project Manager was anxious to relate to the strong literature connections in Listowel while avoiding a predictable approach such as commissioning a statue of a writer, (of which there are many in Listowel) and to undertake a commission which related to communities in Listowel and Lixnaw.  

It was suggested that Christian O'Reilly, a playwright with established national and international profile undertake the commission to write a full length play. Christian has special insight into the town having lived in Listowel from the age of eight to eighteen and still has close contact with Listowel. The Avenue was inspired by three storytelling evenings held with communities from three housing schemes in Listowel and Lixnaw.


This theatre project, The Avenue was an art commission which took place in Listowel and Lixnaw, County Kerry in 2004. The play was written by playwright Christian O'Reilly and directed by theatre director Jessica Curtis. It is set in present day Listowel and is a personal story, exploring themes close to the playwright's heart, into which he wove incidents and stories recounted to him in particular by residents of O'Connell's Avenue who are now middle aged and older.

Professional lighting and costume designers were brought in for the production. The cast were selected after auditions and were voluntary actors from the surrounding area. Rehearsals took place from September to November, 2005. The performances took place in St John's Arts Centre to full houses from 16-20 November, 2005.

Download The Avenue script here


Born in London and brought up in Listowel, Christian O'Reilly writes for theatre, film, television and radio. His one-act play, It Just Came Out, was staged by Druid Theatre as part of its Debut series (2001). His first full-length play, The Good Father, produced by Druid Theatre and directed by Garry Hynes (Galway Arts Festival 2002, national tour 2003), was the joint winner of the 2002 Stewart Parker Trust New Playwright Bursary. His most recent play, Is this about Sex?, was produced by Rough Magic and directed by Lynne Parker for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the 50th Dublin Theatre Festival (2007). It received the ZeBBIE for Best Theatre Script at the 2008 Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild Awards. Other plays include Problem Solvers Anonymous and It Won't Be Great When I'm Not Here (Dublin Fringe Festival 2004). For youth theatre he has written Treble, commissioned by Abbey Outreach, and Teacher for Galway Youth Theatre (Galway Arts Festival 2005).

For radio (RTÉ, Lyric FM, BBC) he has written The Play, Chapatti, My Spanish Countess Granny and an adaptation of The Good Father. His screen credits include On Home Ground (RTE), three short films (The Birthday, The Kiss of Life and The Ring) and Inside I'm Dancing, a feature film based on his original story. Inside I'm Dancing won the Audience Award for Best Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival (2004) and two Irish Film and Television Awards - Best Script (2004) and Best Irish Film (2005). O'Reilly lives in Galway with his wife, Ailbhe Slevin.

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Kerry County Council
Commissioning process Direct Commission
Project commission dates December 6, 2005 - January 1, 1970
Artform Theatre
Percent for art Yes
Project commission start date 06/12/2005
Location Listowel, Kerry
County Kerry
Town Listowel
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Content contributor(s) Ruairí Ó'Cuív
Relationship to project Project Manager/ Curator



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Nazareth Housing Association provides independent living houses for individuals and couples who are 65 and over and on the Sligo County Council housing list.  Nazareth Village is comprised of 48 houses in a garden setting.  The Village was financed as a public-private partnership between Nazareth Housing Association and Sligo County Council with funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.  

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