Forgotten Voices: Rehearsed Readings of Plays by Helen Waddell & Patricia O'Connor

Macha Productions are delighted to be staging readings of plays by Irish playwrights Helen Waddell and Patricia O'Connor, inspired by the WTF Feminist Midsummer, on the 25th June 2016. The readings will take place between 2pm-5pm at The Barracks, 8-12 Exchange Place, Belfast, and will be followed by a WTF meeting of female artists in Belfast. ACTORS: Laura Hughes, Julie Maxwell, Caroline Curran, Bernadette Brown, Rachel Murray, Matt Forsythe, Cillian Lenaghan. Helen Jane Waddell, (1889-1965): Born Tokyo, daughter of Hugh Waddell, a Presbyterian minister and orientalist; brother was Samuel Waddell (Rutherford Mayne); returned to Belfast 1900; mother died of typhoid before return of father; educated Victoria College, TCD, BA and MA; wrote bible stories for children while tending to her step-mother; entered Oxford 1919, (PhD in Medieval French); Cassell Lecturer, St Hilda’s College, (1921); taught at Bedford Coll., 1922; freelance; first female member Royal Society for Literature (1931); honorary degrees from Durham, QUB and Columbia; encouraged Patrick Kavanagh to write The Green Fool (1938); asst. editor of The Nineteenth-Century Journal, 1938; retired 1945; suffered from a progressive neurological disorder; died from pneumonia, 1965. Published Wandering Scholars (1927); Medieval Latin Lyrics (1929); trans. Abbe Prevost’s Histoire de Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut (1931); Book of Medieval Latin for Schools (1931); Beasts and Saints (1934); The Desert Fathers (1936). Helen Waddell is buried in Magherally churchyard, Co Down. A prize-winning biography Helen Waddell by Benedictine nun, Dame Felicitas Corrigan was published in 1986. Patricia O’Connor (pseud.) Norah Ingram, 1908 – 1983: born Donegal; later moved to Killough, Co. Down. All her plays staged were performed by the Group Theatre including Highly Efficient (1942); Voice Out of Rama (1944); Select Vestry (1945), Master Adams (1949); The Master (194?); The Farmer Wants a Wife (1955); Who Saw Her Die (1957); The Sparrows Fall (1959). She also wrote two novels, Mary Doherty (London: Sands, n.d. [1938]); The Mill in the North (Dublin: Talbot Press, 1938).

Sources: Melissa Sihra (ed) Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and Representation. (Palgrave, 2007). Linen Hall Library Theatre Archive.

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