Keith Donald Finds Bliss at the John Hewitt Festival

Prolific performer recounts the highs and lows of six decades in the music industry with new solo show combining poetry, storytelling and more

Having spent 60 years performing alongside the likes of Van Morrison and Christy Moore, one of Ireland's most seasoned musicians takes centre stage for a one-man show on Thursday, July 30 as part of the John Hewitt International Summer School.

Armagh's Market Place Theatre will host one of the first performances of NewBliss, a brand new play by renowned Irish saxophonist and clarinet player Keith Donald. It will be on stage in the Studio Theatre at 7pm.

Donald has played with some of the biggest names in Irish music, including Van Morrison, Ronnie Drew, The Moving Hearts and Christy Moore, and has now turned his talents towards theatre. NewBliss tells the story of his professional life from his first public performance on live radio at the age of ten to playing high profile gigs in North America, Africa, Europe and Ireland.

Through poetry, storytelling and music, Keith recounts the highs and lows of a career in the music industry spanning six decades, half of which was spent in the shadow of alcoholism. NewBliss is an insight into the life of a musician, from playing pit orchestra gigs in order to pay the bills all the way through to sold out stadium tours. It is also a deeply personal, heart-warming story of triumph over addiction. 

Keith spent much of his childhood in Northern Ireland and it is a place close to his heart. He is delighted that NewBliss will have one of its first outings as part of the John Hewitt International Summer School before it plays in Dublin later this year.

The walls of the Market Place Theatre will be reverberating that same night as esteemed poet Paul Muldoon returns to his first love and straps on the guitar for a night of blues and celtic rock classics with Horslips, Holy Ghost, special guest Paul Brady and more.

The Market Place Theatre, Armagh hosts NewBliss on Thursday, July 30 at 7pm. Tickets are priced £10. For booking information visit or call 028 3752 1821. The John Hewitt International Summer School runs from from July 27 - 31.