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THE LADIES CAGE
The World Premiere of a new play by Maureen McManus
Directed by John Terry
Designed by Cleo Pettit
Lighting by Danny Searle
Musical Direction by Tyrone Landau
Sound by Danny Searle
Costume Design by Mia Flodquis
Presented by Scary Little Girls Productions.
Cast includes: Jamie Belton. Colm Gormley. Tracy Kearney. Lucianne McEvoy. Rebecca Mordan. Nathan Rimell. Karren Winchester

21 March - 14 April 2007

“You showed us that as Irish men and women we were good enough to think and act for ourselves, and we thought you a king for doing it – but now I am a Republican and I need no king”

In a full bodied attack on conventional wisdom, The Ladies Cage strips away the myths surrounding the ‘Uncrowned King of Ireland’, the Victorian Irish Nationalist leader, Charles Stewart Parnell. Uncovering a forgotten piece of women’s history, the play is inspired by the life of his sister Anna Parnell, and reveals the pivotal role played by women in freeing the Irish from British rule - and themselves from the “ladies’ cage” that imprisons them…

Acclaimed young director John Terry, Associate Director of the Finborough Theatre, has directed the sell-out Finborough commissioned productions of Rolf Hochhuth’s Soldiers and Keith Dewhurst’s Lark Rise to Candleford, winner of the Peter Brook Empty Space Mark Marvin Award, and both Time Out Critics’ Choices. He has just directed the promenade epic King Arthur by Keith Dewhurst at the Arcola.

Playwright Maureen McManus is also a published poet and journalist. The Ladies Cage has been written with the input of eminent historian and politician Professor Margaret Ward, author of Unmanageable Revolutionaries: Women and Irish Nationalism, a ground-breaking reassessment of the role of women in the struggle to free Ireland.

Jamie Belton’s film and TV credits include Torchwood, Fair City and Hooligans. Colm Gormley’s theatre credits include the Royal Shakespeare Company, West End, the Gate Theatre and the Lyric Theatre Belfast; Tracy Kearney appeared in The Magdalene Sisters (Winner of the Golden Lion at Venice); Lucianne McEvoy’s stage credits include Festen (Almedia and National Tour), Riders To The Sea (Abbey Theatre, Dublin) and Hinterland (Out Of Joint, the National Theatre and the Abbey); Rebecca Mordan has appeared in the transatlantic cult hit Lexx and White Fire for the BBC and South West Films; Nathan Rimell’s stage work includes the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre; Karen Winchester appeared in Year 10 at the Finborough Theatre and in the Time Out Critics’ Choice Season at the BAC).

Scary Little Girls Productions is an innovative young production company based in London and Cornwall. Their first show was produced in collaboration with the Bristol Old Vic and recent partnerships include art, drama and film projects with the South London Gallery, Glastonbury Festival and the Curzon Cinema Group as well as two sell out London shows - The Kisses in 2003 and Maria Stuart in 2005.

Following its run at the Finborough Theatre, the production will transfer to the Manchester Royal Exchange Studio

The Press on The Ladies Cage
“A passionately feminist and ferociously partial play that celebrates the contribution of militant women to Irish history.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian

“The Ladies Cage attempts to explore not only parts of an almost forgotten period of the Irish Land War but also the repression of women in Irish society during this era.”
Fiona Doyle, Extra! Extra!

“Women, we are often told, get written out of the history books. Maureen McManus has come up with a perfect example in Anna Parnell, sister of the famous Irish nationalist politician.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Maureen McManus, pursuing a resolutely feminist agenda, picks some sweet episodes to relate: one in which a soldier offers to marry a Leaguer for munitions information is priceless.”
Kieron Quirke, Time Out

“McManus's purpose is to laud the achievements of forgotten Irish women, and this she does in a series of punchy scenes suggesting that, while men dream, women get down to work.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian

“John Terry’s rapid, busy direction”
Kieron Quirke, Time Out

“It's a rolled-up-sleeves kind of play punctuated, in John Terry's swift-moving production, with a wealth of Irish song.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian

“There are some fine performances from a strong cast of seven.”
Fiona Doyle, Extra! Extra!

“Lucianne McEvoy’s fine central performance as Anna Parnell, as humbly resolute and fierily pragmatic a heroine as you could wish for.”
Kieron Quirke, Time Out

“Lucianne McEvoy lends Anna exactly the right bright-eyed singlemindedness”
Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Lucianne McEvoy approaches the role of Anna with intelligence and sensitivity”
Fiona Doyle, Extra! Extra!

“There is vigorous support from Tracey Kearney as an incipient republican and Rebecca Mordan … as a politicised poet.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Colm Gormley is impressive in his role as the likeable Michael Davitt.”
Fiona Doyle, Extra! Extra!

“It certainly fulfils its aim of raising consciousness.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Their story crosses back and forth from London to Ireland and incorporates well-known Irish rebel song and poetry”
Fiona Doyle, Extra! Extra!

“Performances are accentuated by simple yet thoughtful set and lighting designs from Cleo Pettitt and Danny Searle”
Fiona Doyle, Extra! Extra!