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Kilmainham Gaol To Host “Signatories”

inside a cell in Kilmainham

In April Signatories, a theatrical play about the seven signatories who signed the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916, will be presented in a promenade production in Kilmainham Gaol. Signatories will be running from the 22nd of April to the 5th of May and will be performed at Kilmainham Gaol for three days. It will also show at the Pavilion Theatre, Civic Theatre and the National Concert Hall thereafter.

Signatories is a UCD and Verdant Productions production. The play was written by eight writers who drew their inspiration for the script from the signatories, one a poet and one a playwright, who were held and executed at Kilmainham Gaol during the Rising. Irish director, teacher and writer, Patrick Mason, has been commissioned to direct Signatories. He is an adjunct professor in the School of English, Drama, and Film at University College Dublin.

Kilmainham is big enough to host a 1,000 people for the three shows. The audience will get to travel through the museum with the actors and relive the time the political prisoners spent in Kilmainham, taking them all the way into the Stonebreakers Yard where fourteen of the leaders of the rebellion were shot.

The eight authors who have put the monologues together for Signatories are Emma Donoghue (author of Room which was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Picture), Marina Carr (Irish playwright who wrote the very successful play By The Bog Of Cats; she was also commissioned by Dublin’s National Maternity Hospital to write a play to celebrate its centenary), Professor Frank McGuinness (Irish writer and Professor of Creative Writing at UCD since 2007), Rachel Fehily (Barrister and Irish writer), Hugo Hamilton(Irish novelist – his most recent novel: ‘Every Single Minute(2014)’ and winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature), Joseph O’Connor (Irish novelist of Star of the Sea and member of Aosdána) and Thomas Kilroy (Irish playwright and novelist who writes for the BBC and RTÉ Radio; member of Aosdána).

Actor Stephen Jones is known for his roles in Red Rock (2015), Scratch (2013), Between the Canals (2011) and Love/Hate (2010), and will be starring as one of the seven Signatories – Thomas McDonagh. In a recent interview with the Independent he was quoted saying about his role as Thomas McDonagh: “Funny enough, from a past life I have a history degree from UCD, so I had a fairly decent recollection of the whole time period. I’ve done it once or twice before where I’ve played characters based on real people and you just have to find your own way into it. In Marina’s piece, he’s talking about how he’s going to miss his family and how he’s leaving them with nothing. So you just try and associate anything you can  in your own life with those feelings. Although you want to get it right, you’ve got to forget the history books, and remember he was just a guy.”

The show is a month away and to experience the “real” thing inside the walls of Kilmainham should be a treat, so you will have to get to the ticket office for your own “chair” in the Stonebreakers Yard real soon. The recent renovations and alterations to the Courthouse where the fourteen leaders were tried, should also be a “real” experience not to be missed.

One Response

  1. Olive O'Malley says:

    How do I apply for tickets for this – is it by going to Kilmainham Jail office?

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