SHAM: A World Premiere by Paul Meade - Lime Tree Theatre

SHAM: A World Premiere by Paul Meade

The world premiere of SHAM, an exciting new hybrid live/streamed event, inspired by the verse of Shakespeare’s Hamlet 

Gúna Nua Theatre Company presents the world premiere of SHAM, a contemporary take of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, set in an urban gangland. Written by award-winning playwright Paul Meade and directed by acclaimed actor and playwright, Amy Conroy – the play will look at the complexity of social and economic factors at work in this culture and explores how the characters are trapped within it. SHAM will take place with both live and digital audiences and is designed to be a hybrid live/streamed event with digital technology used throughout the performance. It premiere’s at Belltable, Limerick on November 17, and after this live run the play will be streamed on-demand for general theatre audiences, via Project Arts Centre, Axis Ballymun and Belltable Limerick in January 2022.

Originally commissioned by the Belltable:Connect Initiative with a previous staged reading in November 2019: SHAM is a young woman who returns home from her studies in England on the death of her father, to find the home and community she once knew has utterly changed. The play conflates the mythical with the modern in the Ireland of today. Stark and wry in tone SHAM places its central character in a world of tragedy, comedy and the supernatural. In leaving Limerick has SHAM lost her place in the hierarchy of both business and family and which of her old friends can she now trust?

The story unfolds in the middle of a deprived urban estate where she becomes embroiled in the paranoid dynamics of her father’s gang and vows revenge on his killer. Mixing spoken word, poetry and prose this play captures the linguistic energy of it setting while also exploring the social context for the drugs trade in a city context. Inspired by the verse and storytelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this new play will aim to find poetry and music within a violent, secretive and sometimes amoral sub-culture.

Written by Paul Meade and Directed by Amy Conroy and with a cast of 6 stellar performers including Karen McCartney in the title role, Andrea Irvine, Aidan Crowe, Karl Quinn and Bláithín Mac Gabhann.


Gúna Nua Theatre Company is the winner of the Irish Times Theatre Audience Choice Award for Bread not Profits, a critically acclaimed theatre company making new theatre for Irish and international audiences since 1998. They develop productions in relationship with artists and communities to generate dynamic, contemporary and vibrant theatre that challenges and inspires.  Drawing on their  extensive legacy of award-winning productions, Gúna Nua strive for excellence and innovation by collaborating with exciting partners, finding new and unusual venues and employing cutting edge theatre techniques in our work.

*Suitable Attendance Age is 15+  This production contains references to sex, violence, sexual violence, alcohol and drug use.


CAST: Karen McCartney (SHAM) / Bláithín Mac Gabhann (Phelia) / Andrea Irvine (Trudy) / Gary Murphy (Audie) / Karl Quinn (Ogle) / Aidan Crowe (Kid)


Director: Amy Conroy

Written by: Paul Meade

Set and Costume Design: Irene Enguita
Lighting Design: Jay Kavanagh
Sound Design: Chris Somers
Video Design: Dominik Kosicki


 ABOUT – Paul Meade, Playwright

Paul Meade is a writer, director, actor and artistic director and co-founder of Gúna Nua Theatre company. Originally from Limerick, he trained at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College Dublin, and later received an M.A. in Modern Drama from University College Dublin. His awards include the Stewart Parker Award for ‘Skin Deep’ (2003) and a Dublin Fringe Best Production Award for ‘Scenes From a Water Cooler (2001). In 2007, Paul was awarded a playwrighting commission by the Irish Council for Bioethics, with the resulting ‘Begotten not Made’ being performed as a staged reading by Fishamble in January 2009 in Farmleigh House. Paul Meade has also written a number of plays for  radio broadcast and with Gúna Nua he directs Artistic policy, choosing scripts and directing, writing and producing theatre pieces.


Belltable, Limerick –  click here for tickets:

Previews: Wednesday 17 November @ 8:00pm  | €16

Opens: Thursday 18 November @ 8:00pm  | €18 – €16

Runs until: Saturday 20 November @ 8:00pm  | €18 – €16

Belltable Box OfficeTel: 061 953 400




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