Boxing champ Andy Lee to star in Chekhov play six days after title defence
WBO Middleweight World Champion Andy Lee is hoping to deliver a knockout performance when he makes his theatrical debut at this year's Dublin Theatre Festival.
Just six days after Lee goes head to head with Billy Joe Saunders at Thomond Park, he will tread the boards at Dublin's Samuel Beckett Theatre in a play about Russian writer Anton Chekhov.
The highly anticipated world middleweight title fight will take place on September 19. Olympian Katie Taylor is currently in talks to box on the undercard of Lee's fight.
Once he's hung up his boxing gloves, Andy will make a bee line to Dublin to begin technical rehearsals on the new play.
According to the director of the Dublin Theatre Festival, Willie White, Lee is confident he can "knock Saunders out and then get up on stage".
The production, entitled Chekhov's First Play, is being directed by Obie award-winning director Bush Moukarzel.
"Andy is fighting one of the biggest boxing matches in Irish history the week before we open which is cool," Moukarzel said.
The director described Andy as a "knockout actor".
Limerick native Lee will be joined on stage by Red Rock's Liam Carney and former Ross O'Carroll Kelly star Rory Nolan.
Set in Russia in 1921, the play tells the story of "Chekov before he was Chekov".
It is just one of nine brand new Irish plays to feature in this year's Dublin Theatre Festival.
Enda Walsh, who penned the stage play for musical Once, will bring his new opera The Last Hotel to the O'Reilly Theatre.
Former Love/Hate star Peter Coonan will star in the Gate Theatre's production of A View from the Bridge, while Laurence Kinlan will appear in Conor McPherson's dark drama The Night Alive.
Tony Award-winning show The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night- Time will make its Irish premiere at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre.
Following on from the success of Guaranteed, playwright Colin Murphy returns with his new play Bailed Out! which tells the tale of how Ireland fell into the jaws of the Troika.
Speaking at the launch of the festival, director Willie White said there is a show for everyone. "Whether you go to the theatre once a year or once a week, you're sure to find something you like," he said.