Spring Season | March - May 2016



By Margaretta D'Arcy and John Arden

Sundays and Mondays, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 April, and Saturday and Sunday 23 and 24 April 2016

The first UK production for more than 40 years

★★★★ The Stage
★★★★ LondonTheatre1
★★★★ Carole Woddis Reviews

Sundays and Mondays, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 April 2016 at 7.00pm
Saturday, 23 April 2016 from 12 noon
Sunday, 24 April 2016 from 12 noon


Monday, 4 April 2016 at 7.00pm – Parts 1 and 2.
Sunday, 10 April 2016 at 7.00pm – Part 3.
Monday, 11 April 2016 at 7.00pm – Part 4.
Sunday, 17 April 2016 at 7.00pm – Part 5.
Monday, 18 April 2016 at 7.00pm – Part 6.


Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 12 noon –Parts 1 through 4.
Sunday, 24 April 2016 at 12 noon – Parts 5 and 6

A production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre to commemorate the centenary of Dublin's Easter Rising of 1916, Margaretta D'Arcy and John Arden's epic retelling of the life story of Easter Rising leader James Connolly, The Non-Stop Connolly Show runs at the Finborough Theatre, playing Sunday and Monday evenings from Monday, 4 April 2016 culminating in two all-day "come and go as you please" performances of the entire play cycle on the anniversary of the Easter Rising itself – Saturday, 23 April and Sunday, 24 April.

Presented as a staged reading, The-Non Stop Connolly Show charts in epic verse and stirring dialogue the life and career Ireland's greatest revolutionary, James Connolly, from his birth in Scotland through his political maturation in Ireland and America to his last moments in front of a British firing squad.

First seen in a 24 hour performance in Dublin at Easter 1975, this ambitious revival – directed by exciting Irish director Shane Dempsey – will be the first time that the entire cycle has ever been presented continuously in the UK.

Part One: Boyhood 1868 – 1889
James Connolly, born among the Irish in Edinburgh, can find no work, so he joins the Army and is sent to Ireland. He discovers Irish nationalism and international socialism: he discovers a wife: he discovers his political destiny. He determines to go elsewhere.

Part Two: Apprenticeship 1889 – 1896
James Connolly, in Edinburgh once more and married, gains experience in the pioneer socialist movement. He seeks political office and fails to find it: he seeks to earn a living and fails likewise. He determines to go elsewhere.

Part Three: Professional 1896 – 1903
Act I: A Movement with Some Purpose.
James Connolly becomes a political organiser in Dublin and founds the Irish Socialist Republican Party. He meets the New Ireland of the literary renaissance and disrupts the royal jubilee.
Act II: Alarums and Excursions.
James Connolly, in Dublin, leads the Irish Socialist Republican Party in militant opposition to British imperialism and the Boer War. He is criticised by Keir Hardie of the British Labour movement.
Act III: Outmanoeuvered.
James Connolly is rejoiced to find the Irish Socialist Republican Party recognised by the Socialist International. Rosa Luxembourg – in controversy with Kautsky – throws doubt upon Connolly’s view of Irish nationhood. The Irish Socialist Republican Party throws doubt upon his views of political priorities. He determines to go elsewhere.

Part Four: The New World 1903 – 1910
Act I: Into the Party.
James Connolly emigrates to the United States. He joins the Socialist Labour Party, led by Daniel De Leon. He is frustrated by its doctrinaire secretarianism.
Act II: Out of the Party.
James Connolly greets with enthusiasm the Industrial Workers of the World, believing them to be the great new revolutionary force. He forms the Irish Socialist Federation among immigrants of the USA. Unable to accommodate himself to De Leon’s control of the Socialist Labour Party, he determines to pursue politics elsewhere.
Act III: Forward to the Revolution…?
James Connolly, as IWW organiser, struggles against odds in New York. He helps the presidential election campaign of Eugene Debs. He becomes a paid worker for the Socialist Party of America. He determines to go elsewhere.

Part Five: The Great Lockout 1910 – 1914
Act I: Donnybrook Fair.
James Connolly returns to Ireland and its furious political and trade-union confusions. He meets James Larkin, who sends him to Belfast to organise the New Irish Transport Workers’ Union. He has ideological clashes with William Walker of the Northern Ireland labour movement.
Act II: Keir Hardie’s Promise.
James Connolly continues his work in Ireland for the Labour movement. The Irish Labour Party is founded. The Dublin Employers’ Federation is founded. The ‘Great Lockout’ is imposed: Larkin, aided by Connolly, responds with a general strike.
Act III: Once More Go Down to Hell.
James Connolly sees the Dublin General Strike collapse when the British Trade Union leadership fails to respond to the demands of its rank and file that the Irish workers be given positive support. The Irish National Volunteers are formed. The climate of violence intensifies.

Part Six: World War and the Rising 1914 – 1916
Prologue: King Conaire and the Prohibitions.
In ancient times good King Conaire saved the country from its enemies by fighting them against all odds: even though the circumstances of the battle were contrary to the ritual prohibitions prescribed by his Druids.
Act I: Clouds of War.
James Connolly confronts the aftermath of the great lockout in Dublin. The Irish constitutional crisis brings fear of civil war, combining with the threat of a general strike in Britain. International imperial rivalries simultaneously intensify.
Act II: World War to Civil War.
James Connolly sees international socialism collapse in the face of the outbreak of the world war. Resolute in his opposition to imperialism in all its forms, he seeks desperately for allies – in particular from among members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood within the National Volunteers.
Act III: The Rising.
James Connolly brings the Irish Citizen Army into the Rising of Easter 1916: and thereby becomes the first working-class leader to enter the world conflict in the cause of socialism. He is compelled to surrender to superior force: and is shot to death.


Playwright Margaretta D’Arcy was born in 1934, and is an actress, playwright and peace-activist. Her plays include Ars Longa Vita Brevis, The Royal Pardon, Friday’s Hiding, The Hero Rises Up, Muggins is a Martyr, Vandaleur’s Folly, The Little Gray Home in the West, The Business of Good Government, The Happy Haven and The Island of the Mighty (all with John Arden) and Prison-Voice of Countess Markievicz. D’Arcy has also worked as a film director. Her film Big Plane, Small Axe was awarded 2nd prize for Best Feature Documentary at the Galway Film Fleadh. Her radio play A Suburban Suicide (also written with John Arden) was broadcast on the BBC in 1995. Her books include Tell Them Everything was about her experiences in Armagh Jail on the NO Wash Campaign was an alternative best seller in 1981, Awkward Corners (which she wrote with Arden), Galway’s Pirate Women: A Global Trawl and Loose Theatre – Memoirs of a Guerrilla Theatre Activist. Her new book Ireland's Guantamano Granny will be published in January 2016. Her concern for human rights and other political causes has permeated her work, and she was recently imprisoned in Ireland for protesting against the use of Shannon Airport by the American military.
Playwright John Arden (1930–2012) is best known for his modern classic Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance which recieved its world premire at the Royal Court Theatre in 1959 for which Arden received the Evening Standard Theatre Award for ‘Most Promising Playwright’. His other plays include The Waters of Babylon, Live Like Pigs, The Workhouse Donkey and The Bagman. He frequently collaborated with his wife Margaretta D’Arcy. His 1982 novel Silence Among the Weapons was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.


Director Shane Dempsey's recent work includes The Master And Margarita (The Bussey Building and Te Pooka Edinburgh), Seven Jewish Children (Arcola Theatre), LOL by Lee Mattinson (Clifftown Theatre, Southend-on-Sea), The Bay (Theatre503, The Space and Te Pooka, Edinburgh) and The Girl In The Box (Clifftown Theatre, Southend-on-Sea, and RADA Studios). Assistant Direction includes assisting Nicolas Kent Called to Account (Tricycle Theatre), Jamie Lloyd on The Caretaker (Tricycle Theatre), Suzanne Gorman on Moonwalking In Chinatown (Soho Theatre). He has run Stagecraft – one of Ireland's leading youth theatre's – since 1998 including programming work from Moira Buffini, Enda Walsh and Jack Thorne. He is also the founding member of Fragments, a dynamic physical ensemble in LondonShane was funded by The Arts Council of Ireland to train as a director at E15 Acting School. He went on to be invited to observe Lev Dodin of the Maly Theatre of St Petersburg in Paris and has also observed actor training in Moscow at the Vakhtangov Theatre. He has also led workshops in New York, Bangkok, Moscow and Beijing.
His work also includes a landmark digital film archive, Mothers Of Modern Ireland – A People's History which can be viewed at www.mothersofmodernireland.com


THEGREATWAR100 series is a new occasional series of works about – or written during – the Great War to be presented by the Finborough Theatre from 2014 to 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.


★★★★ The Stage
★★★★ LondonTheatre1

“A rousing piece of political theatre, and a fitting reflection on the struggles of a century ago.” Dave Fargnoli, The Stage

“It provides a perfect message for people today.” Breman Rajkumar, A Younger Theatre

“This play cycle is more relevant than ever.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“Gripping... A brave and commendable undertaking.” Genni Trickett, LondonTheatre1

“The piece flows effortlessly. Its structure is both intriguing and incredibly practical.” Breman Rajkumar, A Younger Theatre

“An intriguing piece of theatre.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“In the world of today’s fringe theatre, people seem to constantly be straining to push the boundaries. Whether it be a conscious attempt to shock, a desire to challenge the audience’s preconceptions, unexpected technical effects or simply the thrill of trying something completely new, fringe theatre is nothing if not ambitious. Well there’s ambitious…and then there’s The Non-Stop Connolly Show. Dauntingly subtitled “A Dramatic Cycle Of Continuous Struggle In Six Parts”, the staggered run will culminate in two days of continuous performance.” Genni Trickett, LondonTheatre1

“Highly theatrical and has a vibrant energy flowing through it.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“The Finborough continue their series of works written about or during the time of the Great War with this engaging staged reading of John Arden and Margaretta D’Arcy’s brilliant piece on the Irish Revolutionary, James Connolly.” Breman Rajkumar, A Younger Theatre

“Alternating verse and prose, monologues and dialogues, and including various stirring songs rendered by soloists or the entire ensemble adds to the excitement of this highly political play.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“Spirited performances.” Dave Fargnoli, The Stage

“Aiden O'Neill convinces as the young James Connolly.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“Aiden O’Neill excels in the role of Connolly taking us into his journey with great subtlety and passion, and his singing, on top of Alex Brabbins’s wonderful score, is very special.” Breman Rajkumar, A Younger Theatre

“Aiden O'Neill convinces as the young James Connolly.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“Aiden O’Neill and Lucia McAnespie are extremely endearing as James Connolly and his wife Lillie.” Genni Trickett, LondonTheatre1

“Lucia McAnaspie impresses as the self-confident Lillie.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“It is a credit to both cast and Director, Shane Dempsey that they have managed to make a reading into a real ensemble performance.” Breman Rajkumar, A Younger Theatre

“This daring revival, directed by Shane Dempsey, will be the first time that the entire cycle has ever been shown continuously in the UK.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network


Sundays and Mondays, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 April 2016 at 7.00pm
Saturday, 23 April 2016 from 12 noon
Sunday, 24 April 2016 from 12 noon

Monday, 4 April 2016 at 7.00pm – Parts 1 and 2.
Sunday, 10 April 2016 at 7.00pm – Part 3.
Monday, 11 April 2016 at 7.00pm – Part 4.
Sunday, 17 April 2016 at 7.00pm – Part 5.
Monday, 18 April 2016 at 7.00pm – Part 6.

Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 12 noon –Parts 1 through 4.
Sunday, 24 April 2016 at 12 noon – Parts 5 and 6

Saturday 23 April
12 noon: Part I
12:55 Interval of 15 minutes
13:10: Part II
14:00: Interval of 30 minutes
14:30: Part III - Act 1
15:00: Interval of 15 minutes
15:15: Part III - Act 2
15:40: Interval of 15 minutes
15:55: Part III - Act 3
16:20: Interval of 1 hour
17:20: Part IV – Act 1
17:55: Interval of 15 minutes
18:10: Part IV – Act 2
18:40: Interval of 15 minutes
18:55: Part IV – Act 3
19:25: End

Sunday 24 April
12:00: Part V – Act 1
12:25: Interval of 15 minutes
12:40: Part V – Act 2
13:20: Interval of 15 minutes
13:35: Part V – Act 3
14:10: Interval of 1 hour
15:10: Part VI – Act 1
15:50: Interval of 15 minutes
16:05: Part VI – Act 2
16:45: Interval of 15 minutes
17:00: Part VI – Act 3
17:50: End

Tickets for evening readings £12 all seats.
Tickets for all-day readings £20 (covering both performances). Come and go as you please, subject to availaibilty.
The play will be presented as a staged reading.

Performance Length: Parts 1 and 2 last approximately 2 hours 30 minutes including one interval.
Parts 3, 4, 5 and 6 last approximately three and a half hours with two intervals.
The all day performance on Saturday, 23 April will last approximately nine and a half hours including eight intervals.
The all day performance on Sunday, 24 April will last approximately seven hours including six intervals.

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here


Directed by Shane Dempsey

Music by Alex Brabbins

Produced by Abigail Hirsch and Laura Sedgwick

Presented by Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.

Part of the Finborough Theatre's The Great War 100 Series'

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