New exhibition of DruidO'Casey paintings by Mick O’Dea

New exhibition of paintings by Mick O’Dea celebrating DruidO’Casey, Druid Theatre’s production of Sean O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy

2 April 2024

We are delighted to announce an exhibition of paintings by acclaimed Irish artist Mick O’Dea in celebration of DruidO’Casey, the theatre company’s production of Sean O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy (The Plough and the Stars, The Shadow of a Gunman and Juno and the Paycock).

Entitled What Is The Stars?, this exhibition of 24 paintings can be viewed at the Molesworth Gallery in Dublin from 19 April to 15 May. A catalogue of the exhibition is also available for purchase via the gallery's online shop.

Mick O’Dea joined Druid as artist-in-residence for DruidO’Casey, attending rehearsals and performances throughout 2023 in Galway and Dublin. Given unprecedented access to a production of this scale, Mick has now produced a series of paintings that capture the behind-the-scenes activity of a theatre company that audiences rarely witness.

Mick O’Dea, Artist: ‘It was a privilege to spend time with Druid as they rehearsed and performed DruidO’Casey. The setting and costumes of the plays were familiar to me as it’s a period of Irish history which I’ve already explored in great depth in my work, having completed a trilogy of exhibitions on the Rising, War of Independence and Civil War. In these paintings, I have captured an often unseen world – the backstage and behind-the-scenes world of theatre. There’s a sense of anticipation in the paintings of dramas yet to unfold.’

Garry Hynes, Artistic Director of Druid: ‘It is an honour for us at Druid to include Mick O’Dea in the story of DruidO’Casey, to welcome an artist of his standing into our theatrical family and to now have this collection of paintings which not only celebrates our production but Irish theatre in general, and the people that give life to the great stories of our nation.’

Ronan Lyons, Director of the Molesworth Gallery: ‘It’s been a privilege to witness the evolution of Mick O’Dea’s relationship with Druid and its culmination in this masterful body of work - 24 paintings capturing the company’s rehearsals for the O’Casey trilogy. Like so many painters before him, from Caravaggio to Paula Rego, there’s always been a theatricality in the staging and composition of O’Dea’s work, which makes for a perfect fusion between subject and artist. He brings all of his skill as a draughtsman to the paintings, along with his command of colour and lighting, to document one of Druid’s landmark achievements.’

DruidO’Casey was critically acclaimed, earning five-star reviews from The Observer, Financial Times, The Stage, Irish Mail on Sunday and New York Stage Review. The New Yorker called it ‘the season’s most exciting international visit’, The Wall Street Journal reviewed it as ‘astonishing’, while The Irish Times, Sunday Independent and Irish Examiner all described it as ‘magnificent’. The production also earned Druid’s Artistic Director Garry Hynes the Best Director Award from the UK Theatre Awards.

Druid gratefully acknowledges the support of the Arts Council and the University of Galway, DruidO’Casey production partner Smurfit Kappa, and many other funders, supporters and donors. Druid also wishes to extend specific thanks to An Post for their support of this artist residency.

What Is The Stars?
By Mick O’Dea
19 April – 15 May 2024
Molesworth Gallery
16 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2
Monday – Friday, 10am – 5.30pm
Saturday, 11am-2pm
Sunday, closed