‘The House of Bernardó Alba’ (1936) was the last play written prior to his assassination in that same year by the Spanish avant-garde poet and playwright, Federico Garcia Lorca. Garcia Lorca’s original was made daring and novel by its searing commentary on the nature of power as witnessed in domestic and local settings, particularly when that power was infused with Catholicism, religion, gender and social class. 

Ériu’s production brings contemporary Irish music, theatre and dance to bear on Garcia Lorca’s original script.  In doing so, we are drawing from a growing awareness among scholars and the general public concerning shared historical and cultural links between Ireland and Spain. Most recently, both were wracked by Civil War and its effects throughout the twentieth-century, and both experienced the ways in which gender and domesticity were given meaning by a dominant Catholic political culture. Consequently, there is much fertile ground for creative expression in the interstices of the two culture, which Eriu wishes to explore through ‘The House of Bernardó Alba’. 

The two key contributions that Ériu’s production of the play will make lie in its novel treatment of gender, and excavating space for the transmission of parallel dance techniques in Iberian and Irish traditional arts. On gender, Ériu re-examines the gender roles as portrayed in the original, using a Queer lens. In particular, the male players acquiring some of the traditionally female roles will explore the play’s themes of subservience, oppressive domesticity, coercive power and complicity through channelling their personal experiences from across the spectrum of human sexual and gender identity. On cultural transmission, the production will draw on key aspects of Iberian dance culture, namely flamenco, to excavate shared modes of creative expression through dance.

Cast and Creatives:

Maria Josefa – John FitzGerald
Bernardó Alba – Breandán de Gallaí
Poncia – Laura Lundy
Prudencius & Servant – MacDarragh FitzPatrick
Augustias – Shannon Burke
Magdalena (Pepe) – James Greenan
Amelia – Caoimhe Ennis
Mantirio – Sarah Fennell
Adeló – Odhrán McLaughlin

Director & Dramaturge: Michèle Manahan
Co-Director & Choreographer: Breandán de Gallaí
Composer: Natasa Paulberg
Lighting Design: Tim Feehily


The score is being created by internationally acclaimed composer Natasa Paulberg.

Award-winning Paulberg is responsible for the soundtrack for Ruán Magan’s documentary addressing the Irish potato famine, The Hunger, which recently won Horizon Award for Best Music at the International Sound and Music Festival. She also collaborated with Magan on 100 Years of Ulysses and The Irish Civil War, commissioned by RTÉ. She recently finished Atomic Hope for Kennedy Films with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. Paulberg has also won two Best Original Score awards for the film The Yellow Dress and has been nominated for two Jerry Goldsmith Awards in music for film and advertising.

Natasa on her Music for Ériu’s Bernardó
“With Lorca being a musician and composer, music already plays an important role in the narrative of the story in depicting village life and conveying important underlying story themes. To reflect a village setting and cultural mindset, medieval instruments are used as well as chorus singing and percussion specific to Spanish folk music. Musical modes found in Spanish music and Andalusian cadences are also incorporated together with adaptations and influences from Lorca’s own Canciones collection of folk songs and ballads. By blending medieval timbres, Spanish folk influences with contemporary cinematic scoring, the music aims to create a unique backdrop that captures the people and emotions of the play that is ultimately imbued by Lorca himself.”


The play is being co-directed by awarding winning writer and director Michèle Manahan and Breandán de Gallaí.

Michèle Manahan 
Director, Michèle Manahan, previously collaborated with Ériu Dance Company on the award-winning dance film, Chased (Camel Productions), which was a winner in the #mydancefilm competition and screened at the 2019 Dance On Camera Festival at the Lincoln Center, NYC and independent cinemas around the US.  Her directing work includes the world premiere of Spanish Civil War drama, Miss Canary Islands 1936, by Conall Quinn at the Focus Theatre, Dublin.  The short film, Shades, which she wrote and directed, won multiple awards incuding from ARTE and ITV.  As a screenwriter she has also written for RTE serial drama Fair City.

The House of Bernardó Alba premiered at the 2023 Galway Theatre Festival.