Boston Playwrights’ Theatre hosts Bloomsday 2023 event

John Shevlin as James Joyce serves a Traditional Breakfast, part of Dublin’s Bloomsday Festival 2023. Tourism Ireland photo

Boston’s Bloomsday 2023, a celebration of the work of James Joyce is set for Fri., June 16, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 pm at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Ave, on Boston University’s West Campus. Tickets for the performance, by The Here Comes Everybody Players, are complimentary, with a post-show reception hosted by the Irish Consulate General.

The event, directed by Steve Dooner and Cathal Stephens, will feature Ryan Barker, Katie Beckvold, John Brownlie, Brittany Daley, Steve Dooner, Donal O’Sullivan, and Cathal Stephens, with a literary introduction by the Joyce scholar Katherine O’Callaghan and music by Linda Papatopoli (piano) and Tony Keegan (percussions).

Joyce’s extraordinary and perennially controversial novel “Ulysses,” now over 100 years old, follows the structure of Homer’s Odyssey in recounting the fictional thoughts, words, and actions of a number of Dubliners as they went about their business on a single day, June 16, 1904. Among them are the three main characters: Stephen Dedalus, Molly Bloom, and her husband, Leopold. The Blooms give their name to the day - Bloomsday. 

Based on Joyce’s experience as a young adult in early 20th century Dublin, “Ulysses” weaves together humor, tragedy, storytelling, the details of daily life, many literary styles, monologue, and stream of consciousness. Most of all it demonstrates Joyce’s acute sense of humanity, history, and place.

After a century, this book is still celebrated worldwide each year on June 16. If you’ve read “Ulysses,” you’ll enjoy hearing some familiar themes and perhaps some you’ve forgotten at this event. If you’ve never read it, you’ll enjoy how music and drama can bring it to life!

Tickets may be reserved at

Meanwhile, in Dublin …


The city is gearing up for its annual celebration of all things Joycean with the unique Bloomsday Festival the week of June 12-June 18.

With street performances, lectures, theatre, music, readings, workshops, walking tours, and food and drink events, the festival, brings to life the characters and places made famous in the book. These include Sweny’s Chemist on Lincoln Place, Glasnevin Cemetery, and Davy Byrne’s Pub on Duke Street, as well as the James Joyce Martello Tower in Sandycove along the coast of south County Dublin.

The tower, which features at the start of “Ulysses,” houses a museum containing letters, photographs and some of the author’s personal possessions.

This year’s festival also includes a comic adaptation of the novel “Blooming Ulysses,” and a daring theatrical journey into the mind and heart of James Joyce’s most sensual hero, Molly Bloom, in “Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom.”

There will be music performances by Irish folk music act Hibsen and “A Celebration of Love: Joycean Poetry & Songs” will take place in St Andrew’s church. In a unique event, the bellringers of Christ Church will ring the actual bells that feature in “Ulysses.”

Walking tours will introduce James Joyce’s Dublin and follow the path of Leopold Bloom.

The James Joyce Centre has been the organizer of the Bloomsday Festival since 1994. The centre is open year-round providing exhibitions, courses, lectures and literary walking tours of Dublin.