Signatories’ stories re-enacted in Gaol

Signatories’ stories re-enacted in Gaol

University College Dublin will stage a major theatrical interpretation of the Easter Rising at Kilmainham Gaol later this month on the actual 100th anniversary.

Signatories tells the tale of the seven people who signed the Irish Proclamation, as well as the interesting perspective of Nurse Elizabeth O’Farrell who delivered the surrender in the Easter Rising of 1916.

It is created by eight of Ireland’s most acclaimed writers and will involve the staging of eight site-specific performances that become one spectacular production. It opens on April 22 and runs at Kilmainhan Goal on the exact weekend anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, April 24, and will later be staged at three theatres across Dublin until May 5.

Signatories’ stories re-enacted in GaolPerformed in a series of monologues, the audience learns of the turmoil caused by their self-sacrifice, as each writer presents an artistic response to the eight characters – sending out commands, lying in Kilmainham Gaol before facing the firing squad.

UCD’s dedicated Decade of Centenaries department intends this to be a landmark historical and cultural event.

The college played a central role in the emergence of today’s Irish State. It was a key component in the culturally- driven Gaelic Revival movement, the formation of the Irish Volunteers and Cumann na mBan; and the actual planning of the Easter Rising to the formation of the first Government. It is already drawing great public interest and will provide an opportunity for intellectual discourse around the signatories of the proclamation.

The historical characters will be depicted by major contemporary Irish writers: Elizabeth O’Farrell by Emma Donoghue, who was nominated for an Oscar for her screenplay of her novel Room.

Padraig Pearse by Thomas Kilroy, whose awards include the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Heinemann Award for Literature, the AIG Literary Prize and the Irish PEN Award. Éamonn Ceannt by Tony Award winner Frank McGuinness, a recipient of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and a fellow Irish PEN award winner.

Thomas MacDonagh by Marina Carr, winner of the EM Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for women playwrights. Sean McDermott by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, winner of the Bisto Book of the Year, the Irish PEN award, and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.

James Connolly by Hugo Hamilton, winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Priz Femina Etranger, and the Premio Giuseppe Berto for French and Italian translations of his work.

Joseph Mary Plunkett by Joseph O’Connor, winner of France’s Prix Millepages, Italy’s Premio Acerbi, the Neilsen Bookscan Golden Book Award, an American Library Association Award, the Hennessy/Sunday Tribune Hall of Fame Award, and the Prix Litteraire Zepter for European Novel of the Year.

Thomas Clarke by Rachel Fehily. Rachel is a recent graduate of the UCD MA in Creative Writing and an emerging talent in the Irish theatre scene.

• Tickets are available from

• Signatorieswill also be available in a new book published by UCD from 22 April to coincide with the production’s opening.


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