Northampton's Theatre Royal will present a season of drama from the Emerald Isle over the next five weeks, with productions of work by Samuel Beckett, Conor McPherson and John Breen.

Breen's Alone It Stands, which had a season at the West End's Duchess theatre in early 2002, opens the Northampton year on a sporty note with the real story of Munster rugby team's historic victory over the All Blacks in 1978. In the comedy, directed by Breen and designed by Jack Kirwan, six actors play some 60 roles between them. It runs from 27 January to 1 February 2003.

It's followed from 7 February to 1 March 2003 by a double bill of new in-house productions, directed by Northampton artistic director Rupert Goold (who recently directed the Award nominated Pete Postlethwaite in Scaramouche Jones) and performed in repertory by the same cast.

Conor McPherson's Olivier Award-winning play, The Weir, is set in a country pub where drinkers tell ghost stories for the benefit of an attractive young Dublin woman, newly arrived. Four of the five actors will also feature in Beckett's absurd portrait modern classic, Waiting for Godot.

If Waiting for Godot isn't enough existentialism for one evening, there's a chance to catch an extra helping of Beckett on 25 and 25 February 2003 when Kenneth Alan Taylor will perform Beckett's monodrama Krapp's Last Tape - in which a man reminisces about his life, and recordings of his younger self, on his 69th birthday - for two nights only. The one-act piece will run after Waiting for Godot.

Continuing the Irish theme, Northampton will mount special events of traditional Irish music and comedy to supplement the season.

- by Hannah Khalil