Letter from New York, and London
I get a lot of emails for this column: largely press releases, but there’s also the emails that come directly from theatre makers. If they’re writing to me themselves, they’re usually young and probably broke. Mostly, I can’t write about them: they get in touch… read more +
Ten Shows for Twenty Thirteen
It may be tough out there, but Irish theatre is responding with hard-nosed good sense. With funding cut, there’s a new focus on what audiences want. And in times of recession, as Michael Colgan says, they want entertainment. Here are ten shows in 2013 that… read more +
The theatre of 2012
Recent Irish theatre has lacked a master imagination: it’s too long since we have seen a new play to rival the best of John B Keane or Brian Friel or Tom Murphy. Or so I wrote this time last year, reviewing the theatre of 2011…. read more +
What the Dickens
In late September, 1843, Charles Dickens was sent a recently-published report on child labour in Britain. It enraged him. He set about writing a response; six weeks later, he was finished. It was published on December 19 and was an instant success. On Christmas Day… read more +
Maeve Brennan, the talk of the town
She was “Ireland’s greatest living writer,” but had been forgotten by the time she died. She was the quintessential New Yorker, but her writer’s eye cast constantly about the Dublin of her childhood. She was famous for her independence of mind and of lifestyle, but… read more +
Shakespeare’s anti-Semitic rom-com
The hero is a man who spits on Jews in the street. One of the romantic leads wins praise for winning, and converting, a young Jewish woman. The rousing climax involves the entire cast exulting in the humiliation of a Jew being forced to convert… read more +
Review: Bay of Tigers
Barely a few pages into Bay of Tigers, Pedro Rosa Mendes’ chronicle of travels in Angola in 1997, we learn “there are more than one hundred million mines buried in seventy countries, close to a tenth of them in Angola”. It is a depressing start,… read more +
Soundcloud: reports for RTÉ Drivetime
I’ve put a series of reports for Drivetime up on Soundcloud.
Doc on One: My Name is Lydia Foy
My radio documentary for RTÉ, My Name is Lydia Foy, can be streamed and podcast here.
- New radio series on theatre & protest
Online audio archive for FLAC
Some more online radio: this is an online audio archive I developed for FLAC (the Free Legal Advice Centres). It features an introductory podcast and clips from interviews with a series of legal luminaries involved in FLAC’s first 40 years.
Radio documentary on immigrant election candidates
Online now: my short radio documentary on this year’s local elections, for The Curious Ear on Radio One. The blurb: In May 2009, Colin Murphy hit the roads of Ireland on the campaign trail with some of the 40 immigrants who ran in the local… read more +
Alegre’s Story. A World Report from Kuito, Angola
I’ve just returned from Angola, where I was filming a documentary on recovery and reconstruction in the town of Kuito, since the end of the war. This is a short radio essay telling the story of one of the people I met there, Alegre. It… read more +
RTE Radio One World Report: From Morocco
Hear a three-minute radio essay on drownings of migrants in the Mediterranean, as broadcast on RTE Radio One’s World Report on Saturday July 26. This report was made possible by a grant from the Simon Cumbers Media Challenge Fund.
My play on the banking crisis is to be staged by Fishamble from June 24 to July 2. Details here.
The Mount Street Club: an oral history
During an earlier era of horrendous unemployment, in 1934, the Mount Street Club was established in Dublin to develop innovative solution to the poverty resulting from unemployment. During the war years it had 6,000 members; they were involved in running a farm in Clondalkin and… read more +
On Smithfield horse fair, for the Dublin Review
I’ve an essay-cum-investigation on the Smithfield horse fair in the current (summer) issue of the Dublin Review. It’s not online but can be bought here or in bookshops. One of my previous pieces for the Review, on the slow decline of the Irish language, is… read more +