Six Staged Reading of Ulster Plays

StJohn Ervine, George Shiels, Joseph Tomelty and their legacy

In May 1999 the Company presented a major reappraisal of the work of the writers who powered the Group Theatre to the pre-eminence it experienced in Irish Theatre in the 1940's and '50's. Six plays by Group writers - Shiels, Tomelty, Ervine among them - were given staged readings, directed by guest directors.

It is universally accepted that during the forties and fifties, the main energy in the Irish Theatre came from the North from writers working at the Group Theatre. Many of the plays were 'ground breakers' in their day. The week gave an opportunity for a reappraisal from scholars and audiences alike as well as a chance for a new generation to see the plays for themselves for the first time.

The Six Days, The Six Plays:

Mon 17th.
7.45 James Ellis introduced the week with a personal view of the Group.

8.00 p.m. PROFESSOR TIM by GEORGE SHIELS. A classic tale of double dealing from the master of rural comedy. Directed by CHRISTOPHER FITZSIMON.

Tues 18th
8.00 p.m. MIXED MARRIAGE by St. JOHN ERVINE. The first play on the subject, written in 1911 and here receiving its first professional airing on an Ulster Stage. Directed by COLIN CARNEGIE.

Wed. 19th
8.00 p.m. DANGER, MEN WORKING by JOHN D STEWART. Commissioned by C.E.M.A.to represent the Province at the Festival of Britain in 1951. A gritty tale of the building of a new Ulster Hospital in Co.Tyrone. Brave New world or brash new world. DIRECTED BY ROLAND JACQUARELLO.

Thurs 20th.
8.00 p.m. LOVE AND LAND by LYNN DOYLE. A hilarious story of these universal themes by the author of the legendary BALLY GULLION. Directed by GORDON FULTON.

Fri 21st
8.00 p.m. HIGHLY EFFICIENT by PATRICIA O CONNOR. Set between a farm and a rural school. The first play to deal with the problems of the teaching profession. Played to capacity housesw when staged in 1943. Directed by ANNE SIMPSON.

Sat 22nd.
8.00 p.m. IDOLATRY AT INISHARGIE by JOSEPH TOMELTY. The author of 'All Soul's Night' returns to his native Ards for this drama of paganism and superstition. As always with Tomelty's work, comedy is never far away. DIRECTED by ROMA TOMELTY.

THE COMPANY included: Frances Tomelty, Mark Mulholland, Barbara Adair, John Hewitt, Ivan Little, James Duran, Lynn James, Sybil Allen, Marty Rea, Mary Moulds, John Keyes, Roma Tomelty, Drew Thompson, John Coyle, Dolores McNally, Sidney Dodsworth, Kathryn McKee, Patrick Duncan, Laine Megaw, Stewart Graham, and Sean Caffrey.

Staged at

17th - 22nd MAY 1999

Centre Stage gratefully acknowledges the support of
BELFAST CITY COUNCIL     Belfast City Council