Socialist Worker

Don't miss rare performance of an epic play about Irish revolutionary James Connolly

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2498

Publicity for the show

Publicity for the show (Pic: The Non Stop Connolly show)

The Non Stop Connolly show is an important 1975 epic play about the life of the Irish revolutionary James Connolly.

It tells the story of Connolly’s life from the Edinburgh slums to his murder by a British firing squad. The long play by Margaretta D’Arcy and John Arden of verse and song is being revived over the weekend of 23 and 24 April in London.

Director Shane Dempsey spoke to Socialist Worker about the play:

“The production is totally unique. There is nothing like it in the dramatic canon of Ireland and it’s incredibly imaginative and well as ambitious.

“As well as the momentous events of the Easter Rising and 1913 lockout the play beautifully captures Connolly’s early years in Edinburgh. He saw incredible hardship and toil there.


“It adds a unique view on Connolly, the man as opposed to the myth. Even though I was familiar with Connolly much of the conversations did not seem to give as much weight to his socialist views. This was a major force of his life.

“We also made a decision to have an equal ratio of men to women. So in our production many of the main characters are played by women.

“The play gives voice to the complexity of the arguments between Republican leader Patrick Pearse and Connolly. And it also looks at the wider events that were taking place in Europe with the First World War.

“It really gives an audience an insight into these momentous events through energised storytelling and song.

“There is also something incredibly exciting about seeing a work that is so rarely performed – we feel like we are now part of a secret club. And it will be brilliant to see how the play translates to an audience in 2016.”


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Article information

Thu 7 Apr 2016, 15:46 BST
Issue No. 2498
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