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The Arts Council Playography Na Gaeilge


Ulster (Literary)Theatre


  • Description

    The Ulster Literary Theatre was formed in 1902 by David Parkhill (who wrote plays under the pen-name Lewis Purcell) and Bulmer Hobson, a Quaker who was active in the Irish Nationalist Movement. They appealed to W. B. Yeats for permission to use his plays, which had been written for Yeats' Irish Literary Theatre in Dublin. Denied permission by Yeats, Hobson defiantly began his own dramatic society. That company was titled the Ulster Branch of the Irish Literary Theatre, and its first production was of Yeats' Cathleen Ni Houlihan, used under permission of Maud Gonne.

    The Irish Literary Theatre forbid the Northern-based company's use of the term "Irish Literary Theatre" , and the name was changed to the Ulster Literary Theatre in 1904. From that point on, the company (which shortened its name in 1915 to the Ulster Theatre) developed its own uniquely Northern repertoire and actors.

    The company produced over fifty new Ulster plays by such writers as Lynn Doyle, Helen Waddell, and Gerald MacNamara (the pseudonyn of Harry C. Morrow), who was also a prominent actor. While many of its productions were performed in Belfast, the comapany also toured throughout Ireland, and elsewhere. The company's dissolution in 1934 was caused in part by the company being unable to procure an appropriate premises.

    In 1940, what remained of the company merged with two amateur groups, the Jewish Institute Dramatic Society and the Northern Irish Players, to form the Ulster Group Theatre.

New Irish Plays Produced By Ulster (Literary)Theatre

Play Title Playwright
A Majority of One William Liddell
Away from the Moss George Shiels
George Shiels wrote this play under the pseudonym Geo. S.Morshiel
Brian of Banba Bulmer Hobson
Captain of the Hosts Rutherford Mayne
Charity M.F. Scott
Cobbers Go Halves Lewis Purcell
Evening Rutherford Mayne
Family Rights M.F. Scott
Fee-Faw-Fum Gerald Macnamara
Felix Reid and Bob George Shiels
Written under the pseudonym Geo. S.Morshiel
Huge Love Richard Hayward
Author credited as H. Richard Hayward
If Rutherford Mayne
Industry Rutherford Mayne
Leaders of the People Robert Harding
Loaves and Fishes Charles K. Ayre
Love and Land Lynn Doyle
Missing Links Charles K. Ayre
No Surrender Gerald Macnamara
Phantoms Rutherford Mayne
Red Turf Rutherford Mayne
Sincerity Gerald Macnamara
Snowdrop Jane Shan F. Bullock
Suzanne and the Sovereigns Gerald Macnamara Lewis Purcell
Sweeping the Country William Paul
The Ball Turns Once Jack Loudan
The Drone Rutherford Mayne
The Enthusiast Lewis Purcell
The Jerry Builders William Paul
The Jew's Fiddle Richard Hayward
The Land of the Stranger Dorothea Donn-Byrne
The Lilac Ribbon Lynn Doyle
The Little Cowherd of Slainge Joseph Campbell (2)
Written under his Irish name Seosamh MacCathmhaoil
The Lone Man Charles K. Ayre
The Mist That Does Be On the Bog Gerald Macnamara
The Old Lady Bernard Duffy
The Pagan Lewis Purcell
The Reformers Lewis Purcell
The Ship St. John Greer Ervine
The Skipper's Submarine Charles K. Ayre
The Spoiled Buddha Helen Waddell
The Summons Lynn Doyle
Written under the pseudonym Leslie Lynd
The Throwbacks Gerald Macnamara
The Tumulty Case William Paul
The Turn of the Road Rutherford Mayne
Thompson in Tir-na-n-Og Gerald Macnamara
Turncoats Lynn Doyle
Who Fears to Speak Gerald Macnamara