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The Arts Council Playography Na Gaeilge


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The Sign of the Whale


  • Playwright

    Jimmy McAleavey 

  • Setting

    Belfast, 1977.

  • Synopsis

    Belfast 1977. Dermy, a headline writer neurotically compelled to remember every victim of violence, is on the brink of a breakdown. Tony, a Belfast teenager, is meanwhile on the brink of life amid a conflict that might never end.

    Into their world of violent stalemate sails something preposterous, absurd and magical. A killer whale is seen in Belfast Lough. Has it come to be butchered, bring luck or bring further disaster to the city?

    When the whale suddenly disappears, tragic circumstances bring Dermy and Tony together in a search to find it. Maimed by experience, their search becomes much more than for a hunt for the whale.

    It’s their search for a future.

  • Play Type

    Plays General

    Number Of Acts


  • Cast Size Male


  • Cast Size Female


  • Cast Notes

    Cast doubling possible. See original production for details.

Original Production

Original Cast  
Dermy Miche Doherty
Hooded Man Michael Condron
Tony's Da Michael Condron
Captain Havelock Michael Condron
Secretary of State Michael Condron
Paisley Michael Condron
Unionist Michael Condron
Barry Michael Condron
Loyalist Mary Moulds
Daphne Mary Moulds
Wendy Mary Moulds
Teacher Mary Moulds
Tony John Travers
Production Team  
Director Michael Duke
Costume Designer Diana Ennis
Sound Designer James Kennedy(1)
Set & Lighting Designer Ciaran Bagnall
Fight Director Jo Donnelly
Assistant Director Des Kennedy
Production Manager Damian Cox
Technical Stage Manager James Kennedy(1)
Deputy Stage Manager Tracey Lindsay
Dramaturg Hanna Slattne
Set Construction Philip Goss
Production Photography Ciaran Bagnall
Outreach Facilitator John Ryan (1)
Marketing Manager Kirsty Atkinson
Make-Up Aisling Toner
Visual Awareness Consultant Pat McDowell
Tour Driver Melanie Carmichael

Unpublished Scripts

Rights Information

  • Territory

    All Territories

  • Rights Type

    All Rights

  • Contact

    Tinderbox Theatre Company

  • Address

    The Crescent, 2-4 University Road
    Belfast BT7 1NH
    Co. Antrim
    Northern Ireland

  • Phone

    + 44 (0)28 9043 9313

  • Email


  • Website


Source Of Information

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