Inis Nua produces provocative contemporary plays from Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales, reflecting those cultures’ identities in today’s world. The voices of the playwrights featured are often raw, humorous, or poetic. Inis Nua has been producing plays for over 15 years, including 17 American premieres, 13 Philadelphia premieres, and one world premiere.
Inis Nua produced the North American premiere of Dublin by Lamplight by Michael West, a play that incorporates a combination of performance techniques, including masks of 16th-century Italian art form commedia dell'arte, the dramatic movement and makeup of Japanese Kabuki theater, and traditional mime. The play was created by an Irish theater called Corn Exchange, known for original work performed in a highly physicalized, presentational style with exaggerated, white-face make-up. Inis Nua Artistic Director Tom Reing studied with Corn Exchange artists and brought both their play and signature style to Philadelphia.
Dublin by Lamplight takes place during a single day in 1904, as a poor Irish theater company prepares to produce a pro-Irish play on the day that the King of England makes a royal visit to the city. Working with his Philadelphia-based cast, Reing sought to replicate Corn Exchange's style for what became the largest-selling production in Inis Nua's history. The show traveled to New York for the 1st Irish Festival, where the Inis Nua cast was awarded a prize for best ensemble and the New York Times commended them for "fully commit[ting] to the play's broad physical comedy."