by Charlie O’Neill
Directed by Tracy Cameron Francis
at New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont St. Portland

Oct 5 – 28, 2018
Thu – Sat 7:30pm, Sun 2pm
Run time is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.

Tradition, desire and bodies collide when an Irish team made up of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers—originally from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Cuba, Bosnia, Vietnam, Argentina and inner-city Dublin—is formed and compete in the very traditional and ancient Irish sport of hurling. Led by an alcoholic priest and a washed-up trainer, the team battles discrimination and bureaucratic barriers to make its way to the All-Ireland finals. With humor, wit and energy, Hurl explores what it means to be Irish in the 21st Century.




  • “An irresistible whirlwind of a play…when a story like this is told with wit and candor, it touches us on so many levels. Sports is only part of the picture.”- The Oregonian, (Corrib Theatre, 2018)
  •  “An exciting show, boosted a notch upward by cross-gender and cross-cultural casting, which is as it should be. I highly recommend this ensemble work…” – Dennis Sparks, (Corrib Theatre, 2018)
  •  “Excitement explodes, along with skepticism, when the motley crew comes onto the field for their first match, and the tension, laughs, and surprises gain momentum through to the end……lively, fast-moving play…” – Judy Nedry, (Corrib Theatre 2018)
  • “The best part about HURL is the hurling matches. … impressive choreography and Heath Hyun Houghton’s acrobatic talents. I also loved watching the diverse cast tackle all of the accents…” – Broadway World, (Corrib Theatre 2018)
  • “…rousing success…” – Hailey Bachrach, Willamette Week, (Hurl, Fertile Ground Festival of New Work 2017)
  • “…its heart, its funny-bone and its brain are in the right place and it swings its hurley in the right direction.” – Fintan O’Toole, The Irish Times, (Galway Arts Festival, 2003)


“In the last couple of decades Ireland has gone through a seismic shift, moving from a homogeneous to a diverse society as migrants from other countries sought safety and opportunity here. So, what better way to examine the ‘new Ireland’ than to use new Irish writing to force two tectonic plates together — an archetypal Irishness of hurling, and a group of migrants who are trying to forge a life for themselves here.

I wrote Hurl because I am passionately interested in the positive power that difference brings. And I understand how leadership, at times, can manipulate, for its own selfish political reasons, under-informed and disenfranchised people to distrust difference and even to grow to hate it. So, I was interested in making a piece of theatre that would tell a people’s story rather than a political polemic — an accessible, fun, dynamic play that had a deeper meaning and a beating heart.

I am so thrilled and proud that the play is finding a life in the U.S. I am so impressed by the integrity, bravery, and ambition of Corrib Theatre and their wider body of work. Though the political and social machinations are different in Ireland from those in the U.S., there are some parallels.”


“As more immigrants and refugees live in fear of our government’s increasingly hostile policies, it’s important that the stories we tell on stage initiate the conversations we need to bring about positive change and action. While Hurl was written for an Irish audience, its accessibility and humor in broaching difficult topics will hopefully allow the audience to recognize how they might be a better neighbor in welcoming those who are new to our community, and fighting for those that are turned away.”



CAST: Clara Liis Hillier (Lofty, Ensemble), Cynthia Shur Petts (Rusty, Ensemble), Falynn Burton (Fatmata, Ensemble), James Dixon (Musa, Ensemble), Kenneth Dembo (Ensemble), Alec Lugo (Ensemble), Heath Hyun Houghton (Ensemble), Wynee Hu (Ensemble)

CREATIVE TEAM: Amy Katrina Bryan (Stage Manager/Production Manager), Kyra Sanford (Set Design), Summer Olsson (Costume Design), Sarah Hughey# (Light Design), Cameron McFee (Sound Design), Lilo Alfaro (Asst. Stage Manager),  Yasmin Ruvalcaba (Asst. Director), Kathy Heininge (Dramaturg)






  • Friday, Oct. 5: Opening Night Reception
  • Saturday, Oct. 6:  Post-show equity discussion with the cast and creative team, moderated by James Dixon, Equity Facilitator, and PATA Board Member
  • Sunday, Oct 7: “Irish Day” All Ireland Cultural Society (AICS) members attend with Irish baked goodies! Post show talkback with cast and creative team
  • Friday, Oct. 19: Post-show talkback with Jane Vogel (Founder) and Yasmin Ruvalcaba (Community Engagement Coordinator) of AGE (Advance Gender Equity in the Arts)
  • Saturday, Oct. 20: Post-show talkback with Columbia Red Branch, an organization preserving and promoting Gaelic games and culture in the Pacific Northwest
  • Sunday, October 21 @ 2pm: Audio Described Performance
  • Sunday, October 21 @ 2pm: Post-show equity discussion with Yasmin Ruvalcaba (Community Engagement Coordinator) of AGE (Advance Gender Equity in the Arts).
  • Friday, October 26 @7:30pm: Post-show equity discussion with the cast and creative team, moderated by James Dixon, Equity Facilitator, and PATA Board Member



HURLING is a 3,000 year-old stick and ball game, played on a grass field with goals at each end. Teams of 15 wield the stick (camán) to move the ball (sliotar) across the field to score at the goal.

EMIGRATION TO IRELAND in the past 20 years has changed the face and culture of the country. Hurl showcases the demographic shift in Ireland with a new population hailing from around the world, and how cultural and societal transformation takes place through the ancient sport.


Season Sponsored by Ronni Lacroute.

Show sponsored by Hugh and Mair Lewis.
Hurl is funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Thanks to Kells Irish Pub for hosting the Opening Night reception for HURL.

# The lighting designer of this production is represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the IATSE.