Sara Keating: The Irish pub is centre stage in immersive soap opera The Local

The play, staged by Asylum Productions as part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival, is performed in a live pub and set in the 1990s – a fascinating time for social change

Clare Monnelly, Medb Lambert and Emma O’Grady collaborated on The Local, a work of pub culture and community. Picture: Bryan Meade

It is midday in the middle of the week in the middle of a rainy Irish summer. In a pub at the crossroads of Phibsboro village, the bar is already busy. A small group of children are drinking lemonade and eating crisps, their parents close by with a silver teapot passing back and forth between them. A booth opposite shelters a young couple from the eyes of the other customers.

On a TV in the ...