Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Cast Announced for THE NON STOP CONNOLLY SHOW at Finborough Theatre


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 (Press Night: Monday, 4 April 2016 at 7.00pm), 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.

Directed by Shane Dempsey. Music by Alex Brabbins. Produced by Abigail Hirsch and Laura Sedgwick. Presented by Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.

Cast: Shane Armstrong. Helen Belbin. Paul Carroll. Melissa Dalton. Aoife Kilbane. Padraig Lynch. Scott Lyons. Lucia McAnespie. Niamh McGowan. Aiden O'Neill.

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.
Ac t 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 Janu ary 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 (Thea tre503, 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 Caretake r (Tricycle Theatre), Suzanne Gorman on Moonwalking In Chinatown (Soho Theatre). He has run Stagecraft - one of Ireland's lea ding 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

Related Articles View More UK Regional Stories

BroadwayWorld Store

More Hot Stories For You