'Holmgang' is a story of Viking honour, duty and love.  We follow Gunnar and Brynjolf, as they find a new life in Dyflin, battle their enemies and emotions. Lifelong brothers in arms and the fiercest of friends, we see how rivalry and love can bring them together or break them apart. When honour is threatened, who shall be held accountable? Giant Wolf Theatre Company has performed ‘Holmgang’ at the Sean O’Casey Theatre, East Wall, Dublin and at The Piccolo Theater, Cottbus, Germany and have received a great reception. The show has been compared to Shakespearian tragedies and Old Irish Folk tales with a modern, contemporary writing style which engages the audience with the story.

Praise for Holmgang


An evening of perfect storytelling, tempo, choreographies and energy find it’s conclusion in an inevitable ending for both – the play and it’s story. Holmgang left me speechless and got a well-deserved, long lasting standing ovation from its multinational audience in Cottbus, Germany. The synergy of the young actors, their love for a story they dove in so deeply is truly a joy to see, not only for fans of Irelands rough history, but also for everyone who’s a addicted to theater. The Giant Wolf Theatre did a masterpiece here, a play of quality you very rarely see in a non professional theater group. A must watch!


I saw ‘Holmgang’ for the first time in Germany, absolutely not knowing what to expect. Well, I was definitely thrilled! I mean, I’m a bit of a nerd myself, so show me sword fighting and some medieval/fantasy settings and I’ll love you for that. But… wow! It was like Game of Thrones meets Macbeth (I’m not into GoT that much, but I LOVE Shakespeare’s historical tragedies!) except… It was not television, it was theatre! And theatre at its best, I might add! What I especially loved is the choice of using barely no props, building every scene and atmosphere with the actors’ bodies and movements (the battle, the ceremony…), combined with a great care for costumes. And, of course, the script and the acting were so powerful and intriguing they were… real! I don’t know how to say it otherwise. Let’s say it was the perfect mix of movie realism (acting and costumes) and evocative theatre atmosphere (pantomimes and great lights). Oh, and I also downloaded the main theme song as soon as I got back home.

And, finally, knowing that your actors were so sweet and kind in real life made me enjoy even more how they can be so fierce and strong, playing the brave or the mean character, on stage.

Well done, folks!

Holmgang is a hugely entertaining piece of theatre which explores Viking honour, traditions and love. The battle scenes are incredibly well choreographed to a backdrop of lush, atmospheric music. The peformances across the board are very strong and it is clear from the attention to detail on display here that directors Calantha Forde and Lloyd Collins left nothing to chance. This piece also turned out to be a lot funnier than I expected with a dinner scene towards the end of the Second Act in particular provoking a number of belly laughs from a thoroughly engaged audience! The play also explores how respecting loyalty and one’s position in one’s culture can result in a great tension when this respect runs counter to one’s deeper desires and I feel the play explores this theme in great depth.
All in all, I would highly recommend this play as it is both thought-provoking and entertaining in equal measure.

A Word from the Cast


Holmgang was a show that came at a perfect time in my theatrical life. It was a powerful experience which created a sturdy bond between all involved.

The rehearsal process was a dream to be a part of. It was educational and entertaining at the same time and it taught me skills that I’ll certainly keep in mind for future use. I think the learning was the most important thing about the experience. It taught me things about myself, others, history, cultures and much more that simply can’t be put in a list without turning this reflection into a full blown collection of new things I discovered in my process.

The cast were delightful. It was truly an honour to get the chance to work with them. Professional workmanship and dedicated to the craft. This truly showed in the end product which was the remarkable Holmgang.

Calantha Forde and Lloyd Collins were beyond superb. To describe their kindness, generosity, character etc in any form would be an understatement in the least. They’re souls that are rarely found in this life and this certainly shows in how they work. I am forever grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me.

The show itself was great craic. The writing by Lloyd Collins provided a world in which our characters would inhabit and us as actors could thrive in. The level of detail in each story was in depth and tantalising that expressing them as a character came very easily. Relationships began to quickly appear amongst these people. Whether this was the tricky friendship between Brynjolf and Gunnar, the sassy duo of Sigyn and Flidias, or of course everyone ripping the piss out of Rugga. This all came alive on stage with some hard work and a bit of viking charm.

Bringing the show to the InterTWINed Festival in Cottbus, Germany was another level of craic altogether. It was a strange experience at first. I stepped off the train and wondered if the tricolour around my neck was just a little bit pretentious. But we were welcomed with open arms and salutations by our fellow actors from around Europe. These characters were simply lovely and a pleasure to get to know. This was the hilariously charismatic Italians, the wild Estonians and the calm few from Cottbus. Many more included which made this experience one for the books.

Each group that came to the festival would perform a rehearsed piece. My personal favourites were KRG, Kaos Fratto X and Endlessness. These were performed incredibly by the cast and were all either thought provoking, hilarious or evocative.

Along with the plays, each person was put into a workshop. I was placed into contemporary dance which I’ve never experienced before and as a macho dude I can say that I had loads of fun. It definitely provided me with a basis to improve my dancing for future use.

It was extremely interesting and heart warming to see the shared opinions throughout the groups. Their seemed to be a shared level of acceptance and a lack of judgement present which was in a way strange to experience. In a world plagued with unrest it was a breath of fresh air to meet people so empathetic to the needs and struggles of other people. A feeling was brought up during the play KRG which was by the senior Cottbus group. The play was about modern Germany and included themes about immigration, refugees and racism. This seemed to strike a chord with all of us young Europeans, some of whom don’t get a voice in our society. It was a shared chord of hope. Hope that someday our continent would greet with open arms those who want/need to come here. This was my most profound moment of the whole trip and possibly my most prized moment of the entire year. It was a changing experience to be there in that place in that moment in time. To, in a way, see the future of theatre and society in Europe. And I can say from my experience that that future will be a bright one.

InterTWINed Festival Cottbus 2017