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The Weir
The Weir

Arena Theatre presents Conor McPherson's

The Weir

Directed by Paul Nelson with permission from Nick Hern Books

A bar in a remote part of Ireland, north west Leitrim or Sligo: the local lads are swapping ghost stories to impress a woman from Dublin newly moved to the area. However she turns the tables on them... The Weir has enjoyed long runs in the West End and on Broadway. It won the Olivier Award for Best Play.

  • Performance Dates
  • There are no scheduled performances of this production.
Blog Updates
Paul Nelson - Auditions      24/03/2013

Read through for The Weir will be held at Avonbourne College on Monday 17 June 2013, starting at 7.30pm.   Auditions will be a week later on Monday 24 June, again at Avonbourne College starting at 7.30pm. If you want to audition but can not make this date then please get in contact so that we can make other arrangements.   This play will be touring the local area from the end of October through to mid-November.   The Characters -  Jack - fifties or sixties Brendon - late twenties, thirties or early forties Jim - late thirties, forties or early fifties Finbar - forties or fifties Valarie - thirties or forties
Paul Nelson - Auditions & Read Throughs      14/05/2013

NOTE THE NEW ADDRESS FOR READ THROUGHS AND AUDITIONS PLEASE The Weir - Read through Monday 17 June, auditions Monday 24 June (performing Oct / Nov 2013)- cast need to be in their 30's and above MacBeth - Read through Tuesday 18 June, auditions Tuesday 25 June (performing March 2014) - all ages required The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged) - Read through Monday 1 July, auditions Monday 8 July (performing Nov 2013 to Feb 2014) - cast who can handle fast moving comedy. Traditionally played by 3 men, but we want the best comedy performers so all parts open to both sexes, will consider two casts as we have 9 performances PLEASE NOTE - RTs & Auditions are all at POKESDOWN PRIMARY SCHOOL, Livingstone Road, Bournemouth. BH5 2AS - every event starts at 7.30pm. Please note also that The Weir and MacBeth are being performed at different times of the year so you can audition for both if you wish. If you want to audition but can't because of other commitments then get in contact on or phone 07528 536899 so we can make alternative arrangements for you
Paul Nelson - New Patron      04/07/2013

Jez Butterworth becomes Arena's second Patron Arena are very proud and honoured to announce that playwright, Jez Butterworth, has agreed to become our second Patron.  This follows Mark Rylance becoming our first Patron last year.
Paul Nelson - Tickets      23/08/2013

Tickets are now on sale for all performances of The Weir.  Tickets for the Mowlem Theatre, Swanage can be purchased from the venue or through the venue's website.  All other tickets can be booked by  emailing or by phoning 07528 536899.  Phone or email to reserve and then pay on the door.  Tickets are already being sold so it is advisable to book in advance.

Pat Jones

I rushed up the dark lane leading to my house tonight, just in case there were any malevolent unearthly beings lurking in the shadows, then I thrust the key in the lock and slammed the door, feeling a little spooked out by my experience in the Mowlem Theatre - I had been to see the thought-provoking production of The Weir, performed by Arena Theatre. The Weir was written by Connor McPherson in 1997 and has been acclaimed by some as a modern classic.  It received the Lawrence Olivier Award for best new play 1997/98.    It is set in a rural Irish public house and involves three men. Jack, Jim and Finbar, who attempt to wind up newcomer to the area, Valerie, by telling ghost stories. This rather backfires on them all when Valerie (Charlotte Peach), begins to tell her own ghostly tale.  Jack is in his 50’s, beautifully characterised by David Weeks. He sometimes shows an unexpected warmth and humour but also gives us a sense of the loneliness behind his manner.  Jim, played by Stuart Muirs, is a shy taciturn character,  a bit of an oddball, rather like a windfall apple from a tree.  He comes to the pub to try to socialise with the others, a welcome break from looking after his elderly mother. His ghost story is darker than those of his friends, reflecting his gloomy character. Finbar, energetically played by John Billington, is rather flashy, fancies himself as a ladies’ man and is resented by the others.  Brendan (Simon Meredith), is the affable barman who looked so much at home behind the realistic and intimate set that I had to stop myself popping up the steps to order a pint and a packet of crisps.   All the characters were well-defined and totally believable and when the banter stopped we were drawn into their chilling yet poignant stories which held the audience spellbound. We were all sitting in that pub with them.  Yes, they were acting their socks off but it was so natural and to be able to do this is truly an art. Valerie’s moving but chilling tale about her lost daughter is still haunting me.   Behind the stories we are allowed glimpses of anguish with small flashes of pathos and compassion, as we realise there is a sadness in all their lives behind the banter in the bar.  Some had a chance of happiness, almost touched it, but live with the knowledge that it has slipped through their fingers. This I think is the thread which binds the characters together.  I especially liked Jack’s heartfelt monologue at the end.  It was a stirring piece of drama, the best I have seen in a while.   I did wonder why the play was called The Weir, then I thought perhaps it was symbolic; a weir sorts out the path of water, regulating its flow to achieve the best outcome and the pub in question was doing much the same thing with people’s lives.   At first I didn’t care for the see-through flats of the set, preferring something more contained and atmospheric but realised later on that this was maybe to give the impression of the weir doing its job.   The director, Paul Nelson, expertly brought out every ounce of humour, sadness and pathos and every member of the cast displayed a whole depth of emotions in face and body language. This was an excellent production and a well worthy portrayal of  Connor McPherson’s detailed observations on life.   If you missed this production in Swanage you can catch it at Bournemouth Little Theatre (October 21/November 1); Avonbourne School, Boscombe (November 7); Camden Bar, Ashley Cross, Parkstone (November 12) and The Larderhouse, Southbourne (November 14). Call 07528 536899 to reserve tickets.
Lyn Richell

   DORSET THEATRE REVIEWS   THE WEIR – ARENA THEATRE – Bournemouth Little Theatre, Jameson Road – 1.11.13   This play by Conor McPherson is set in a remote country pub in Ireland and was first seen in 1997 when it won the Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Olivier Awards for Best New Play.   Brendan, ably played by Simon Meredith, is the pub owner and three men are gathering for their evening drink. The arrival of Valerie (Charlotte Peach) spurs the men to impress her with ghost stories but Valerie’s story is the most chilling.   The set, costumes, lighting and sound effects were excellent, enhancing the overall atmosphere. The sound effect during Valerie’s story certainly made me jump!   These five actors kept the audience rapt, occasionally amused and most definitely chilled. This could have been a boring play with monologues and very little movement but it was no such thing due to the fine direction by Paul Nelson. Every actor was so natural that I forgot they were acting and firmly believed in them. The convincing Irish accents were kept up throughout the play.   All five actors were magnificent complementing each other. The story telling was superb and drew us into the lives of the characters enabling us to see through their eyes.   Jack (David Weeks) showed us how Valerie’s arrival brought up the memory of a lost love which he had tried to suppress. Finbar (John Billington) was played with gusto and left us in no doubt of his intentions towards Valerie. Jim (Stuart Muir) showed us how he was trying to fit in with the others while caring for his mother. Brendan portrayed his optimistic take on life and Valerie her sadness.   This was a production of the highest quality keeping the audience enthralled and still wanting more at the close. I cannot praise Paul Nelson and the entire cast enough, it is the best thing I have seen in quite a while.   Further performances are:- November 9th – All Saints School, Weymouth, November 12th – Camden Bar, Ashley Cross, Poole and November 14th – The Larderhouse, Southbourne. All shows start at 8pm. To obtain tickets call 07528536899 or email   Lyn Richell
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