(1941/1948/1951?-) Irish-born dramatist, poet, copywriter.
Born in Galway, in the Republic of Ireland and was educated in Dublin and London. (There is a huge disparity about the actual date: various sources give varying dates, among them 1941 , 1948 and 1951.) She has lived in a number of places, including Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. She came to South Arica as a young married woman and lived in Cape Town between 1967 and 1986, where she continued her career in advertising by managing a freelance copy bureau. During this time she became a naturalized South African citizen, and her initial dramatic output was produced while resident in South Africa. She settled in England in 1987. She has twin daughters.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
While much of her early work was first performed in South Africa, her work has since been performed to acclaim internationally.
For the stage
She began her career as playwright at the Space Theatre, Cape Town, when her short, poignant ode to her brother, a verse dialogue called Bar and Ger (1975), was successfully staged with Yvonne Bryceland and Wilson Dunster (1978). Most of her earlier works were performed at The Space Theatre, and after the closing of The Space, by CAPAB, the Baxter Theatre, and other companies, till her return to England in 1987, where she continued her career.
Works produced during her South African period include:
A Galway Girl(1979)
While at The Space she also collaborated with others people, writing Zombie, based on a storyline conceived by Brian Astbury (The Space Theatre, Cape Town. The Port Elizabeth Opera House) and helping to write The Disguise of the Ashes that arose out of the Karnaval at Scarborough to prove that Leonardo was Right and The Final Sting of the Dying Wasp.
Many of her South African plays have been published, eleven collected in Seven Plays and Four Monologues (David Philip, 1985), while some plays have appeared in other collections or as single plays as Samuel French acting editions.
In 1987 she returned to settle in London, and has continued writing plays there. Her work since includes
Olive and Hilary The Arts Theatre, Ireland
Same Old Moon, Druid Theatre, Galway, Ireland, 1984;
The Stanley Parkers, Druid Theatre, Galway, Ireland, 1990;
The Donahue Sisters, Druid Theatre, Galway, Ireland, 1990 (also Dublin Theatre Festival, Wimbledon Studio Theatre, London, Edinburgh Festival. Irish Arts Theatre, New York);
My Brilliant Divorce, Town Hall Theatre, Galway, Ireland, 2001 and the Apollo Theatre in London, 2004
A number of her stage works were adapted and filmed for SABC-TV television, including Mickey Kannis Caught my Eye and Spider. She also wrote TV dramas broadcast by SABC-TV, including Jimmicks, Harry's Kid (adapted from Jack Cope's short story); and The Touch of Pink.
She wrote a number of works for SABC Radio, including The Marketing Man, The Shrinking of Alby Chapman, and Impressarios and Knitting Machines, while some stage plays were also broadcast on radio. Among them were Joggers, broadcast by SABC Radio, and The Donohue Sisters, A Galway Girl and Bar and Ger, all broadcast by BBC Radio.
She wrote the scripts for a few films, including:
The Donahue Sisters A screenplay
Bar and Ger won numerous awards, including the RAPS Best Play; Transvaal Drama Festival, Best Play; The Eileen Harper Memorial Trophy. Internationally it was voted an Edinburgh Fringe First and Variety Magazine’s Edinburgh’s Best Ten, and won the Salter’s Cup UK, and the Kentucky State Thespian Award.
Olive and Hilary won the Alex McGregor Trophy and the McMarten Cup
The Donohue Sisters won numerous awardsa, including the All-Ireland One-Act Play Festival; Best Play, Drama Festival of France; Best Play, New Zealand Drama Festival; Dick Lauder Trophy 2010; The MacLennan Prize 2010; the Mackenzie Shield 2010.
A Galway Girl was the winner All-Ireland One-Act Play Festival. BBC's choice for Prix Italia Awards Entry.
The Stanley Parkers was the winner US Interstate Play Festival; The Alex McGregor Trophy and the Wallace Bennett Cup 2010
De Beer, 1995
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