Playwright Seamus Scanlon, left, and director Don Creedon. [Photo by Peter McDermott]

Queens backs bilingual version of Mayo-set 'The Long Wet Grass'

Galway writer Seamus Scanlon has been awarded a Queens Arts Fund New Work grant by the New York Foundation for the Arts to present the bilingual English/Irish version of the award-winning play “The Long Wet Grass.”  The original premiered as part of “The McGowan Trilogy” at Nancy Manocherian’s Cell Theatre as part of the 1stIrish Festival back in 2014.

Scanlon is an educator at The City College of New York's satellite campus City College Downtown (, part of the largest public college system in the U.S.  "I was very pleased to receive this award.  It was heartening that the judging panel appreciated the cultural relevance of a play presented in the Irish language," he said. "City College where I work is culturally diverse and a beacon for immigrants and inclusivity so it is gratifying that this ethos extends beyond the campus and is shared by cultural powerhouses like the NYFA."

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

The play will be staged in Moore Jackson Cemetery and Community Garden in Woodside, Queens in the fall. The play is set on the shores of Callow Lake in Mayo, so an outdoor setting is a good fit. Elizabeth O'Connor who is the Co-founder/Director of the Garden said that "When Seamus contacted us about using our space for his play, we were thrilled. Not only does Woodside have a large Irish community but it's important for us to offer our neighbors arts programming that features varied cultures and types of storytelling."

Gina Costigan will play Woman and Tim Ruddy will play Victor. Scanlon’s longtime collaborator Don Creedon (of Poor Mouth Theatre Company/An Beal Bocht fame) will direct. The Irish translation was prepared by Scanlon’s fellow Galwegian Dr. Mícheál Ó hAodha. 

Thirty million Americans list Irish ancestry and over 100,000 people born in Ireland currently live in the U.S. Queens has a large proportion of both categories.

There is a resurgence in interest for the Irish language in recent years (as seen for instance in the Academy Award nominated “An Cailín Ciúin”). Scanlon is taking a refresher course in Irish himself and is working on a bilingual film script “Wanderlust” to be shot in Galway in the fall.