Brexit inspires Aulos’ EdFringe show

Dec 6 2017 | By More

Notice of casting call for NI-set Antigone at EdFringe 2018.

Edinburgh-based Aulos productions has announced it is to stage a modern day, Northern Ireland-set adaptation of Sophocles Antigone, at the Fringe 2018, with auditions to be held early in the new year.

Antigone na h’ÉireannAntigone of Ireland – is written by company founder and award-winning playwright James Beagon. He transports the story to the modern day and sets it in post-Troubles Northern Ireland, where the threat of dissident terrorist groups still lingers.

The play has a cast of seven: three female, three male and one actor of unspecified gender. Auditions are expected to take place over the first weekend of February, 2018, in a central Edinburgh location. The production will run for the full three weeks of the fringe, Sat 4 – Sun 26 August 2018.

The company’s goal is to “provide opportunities for Edinburgh talent to get involved with high quality theatre productions”. It has been active since 2014, often with Beagon’s updatings of classic texts, or adaptations of historical fictions.

James Beagon told Æ that: “the issue of Brexit definitely had a part to play” in his decision to set the play in Northern Ireland, “with the very real possibility that a hard border could be imposed between Northern Ireland and the Republic.”

He added that setting it in Northern Ireland also allows the company to explore the issues of faith and religion, and the unique potential for conflict that brings.

central pillar

“A lot of modern adaptations of Antigone don’t know how to make sense of the fact that she is a strongly religious character and tend to dispose of that aspect,” he added.

“Our adaptation makes that the central pillar of our Antigone’s character (called Annie) and turns it into a Catholic faith. It drives her throughout the play, for better or worse.”

Sophie Harris as Edith Ashwood in Aulos’ 2016 play Lest We Forget, about the the War Graves Commission. Photo Aliza Hoover (Ummatiddle)

Beagon has also found echoes of the end of the Theban wars, which inspired the original myth of Antigone. Brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices died leading opposite sides in Thebes’ civil war. Creon, the new ruler of Thebes, decides to honour Eteocles but shame the memory of Polyneices by leaving his body left on the field of battle to rot.

As Beagon observes: “The continued modern-day search for bodies of the Disappeared – people who were abducted, killed and buried secretly by the IRA at the height of The Troubles – also plays neatly into the issue raised in Sophocles’ original: how to properly bury and honour a dead body in the eyes of the gods.

“In the original, Eteocles’ body is given a state funeral, Polyneices’ body is left abandoned in the countryside. And whilst the circumstances have changed significantly in our adaptation, this is nevertheless unacceptable for our strongly Catholic Annie.”

Although full details of the February auditions have yet to be released, anyone wishing to be kept up to date can use this Google Form to receive an email alert when audition slots become available:

Listings and Links

Antigone na h’Éireann auditions
Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EL
Expected dates: First weekend of February 2018.
Sign up for updates here:

Antigone na h’Éireann
Paradise in the Vault, 11 Merchant Street, EH1 2QD (Venue 29)
Saturday 4 – Sunday 26 August 2018.
Daily, (not Sun 12, Sun 19) Expected time 6pm.

Aulos website:
Twitter: @AulosProduction
Facebook: aulosproductions

Aulos Productions reviewed on Æ: tag/aulos-productions.


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