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The Drapier Letters

A Play in One Act, by Arthur Power


  • Playwright

    Arthur Power 

  • Setting

    Interior of a Slum in Dublin. Period - 1724.

  • Synopsis

    The play deals with the Wood ha'pence episode, or at least a fictional story thereof, where a young slum-dweller, Mary-Bridget, comes to know the identity of the infamous author of the Drapier Letters (Dean Swift) and is tragically killed as soldiers storm her room in search of the man himself.

  • Play Type

    Plays General

    Number Of Acts

    One Act

  • Cast Size Male


  • Cast Size Female



  • Date of First Production

    22 August 1927

  • Production Notes

    "One of the chief wants of Ireland in that day (1724) was that of small currency adapted to the daily transactions of life...and a patent for supplying Ireland with a copper coinage was accorded to William Wood on such terms that the profit accruing from the difference between the intrinsic and the nominal value of the coins, about 40%, was mainly divided between him and George I's favourite Duchess of Kendal....Swift now had his opportunity, and the famous six letters signed M.B. Drapier soon set Ireland in flame. Every effort was used to discover the author, or rather to obtain legal evidence against the author, whom, Walpole was assured, it would have taken ten thousand men to apprehend. None could be procured; the public passion swept everything before it; the patent was cancelled, Wood was compensated by a pension, and Swift was raised to a height of popularity which he retained for the rest of his life."

  • Producer

    Produced by Abbey Theatre/Amharclann na Mainistreach

  • Original Venue

    Abbey Theatre/Amharclann na Mainistreach

Original Cast  
Mrs. Kate May Craig
Mrs. Cafferty Eileen Crowe
Robert Blakeley Peter Nolan
Mary-Bridget Shelah Richards
Biddy Aoife Taafe
An English Officer P.J. Carolan
Sally O'Gorman Maureen Delany
Private Smith Michael Scott (1)
Private Thomson T. Moran
Production Team  
Musical Director Dr. J.F. Larchet
Produced by Arthur Shields
Stage Manager Arthur Shields


  • Title

    The Drapier letters ; and, Her ladyship--the poet--and the dog : two one-act plays by Arthur Power

  • Year


  • Published By

    Talbot Press

  • Address

    Republic of Ireland


  • Not Found


The information for this entry was taken from the original production programme and from press cuttings.