1991 Theatre in Cork

The Matchmaker Image Thumbnail‌In February 1991, John B. Keane's play, The Matchmaker, came to the Everyman Palace. Keane's portayal of Dicky Mick Dicky O'Donoghue's attempts to make matches in rural Ireland of the 1950s starred renowned actors Anna Manahan and Frank Kelly. The Matchmaker played for one week from 18 to 23 February and returned to Cork in the summer from 28 to 30 June by popular demand (Evening Echo, 16 February 1991, p. 7).

Dan Goggin's Nunsense played at the Cork Arts and Theatre (CAT) Club from 17 to 26 March and returned to the same venue for a further five nights from 1 to 5 April. This play was produced by the local group Stage Centre and featured well-known actors, assembled by group director Marion Wyatt. Among the cast for this musical comedy were Ronnie O'Shaughnessy, Kay Ray Malone, Margot Scannell, Ann Marie Daly and Emer Hartnett (Evening Echo, 16 March 1991, p. 24).

The Irish Operatic Repertory Company presented a number of productions in Cork throughout 1991.  The first was the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, The Sound of Music. This production featured soprano Yvonne Brennan in the role of Maria von Trapp, Colette McGahon, John O'Flynn and special guest, singer and RTÉ radio presenter Maxi. The Sound of Music drew such crowds to Cork Opera House from 18 to 23 March that it returned for a second spell from 1 to 6 April (Evening Echo & Cork Examiner, March 1991). The Irish Operatic Repertory Company staged two further musicals during the year at the Cork Opera House with South Pacific in August and The Student Prince in November.

Big Maggie Advertisement Thumbnail‌Another John B. Keane play also proved to be a major attraction in 1991: Big Maggie performed at Cork Opera House from 1 to 11 May. Maggie, a widowed mother of four, becomes the owner of the family shop and farm and has to cope alone following her husaband's death. In this complex and humourous portrayal of family life in rural Ireland, the role of the uncompromising Maggie was played by Abbey Theatre and Glenroe actor Maureen Toal (Evening Echo & Cork Examiner, April and May 1991).

The Passion Machine Theatre group from Dublin embarked on a nationwide tour in 1991 which concluded in October with a perfromance at the Everyman Palace. Written and directed by Paul Mercier, Studs charts the exploits of Emmet Rovers, a struggling local soccer team in a working-class suburban estate. Among the cast for this play were Eamonn Hunt and Cobh-native Pat Kinevane. Studs played for two weeks from 29 October to 9 November (Cork Examiner, 21 October 1991, p. 4 & Evening Echo, 26 October 1991, p. 13).

A new group also made their theatrical debut in Cork in 1991. The Feedback company aimed to promote modern Irish and international works with a special emphasis on one-act plays. Feedback's first perfromance was at the Triskel Arts Centre with Harold Pinter's One for the Road on 2 March. The group moved to the Everyman Palace in April with the story of a returned emigrant to the west of Ireland in Tom Murphy's Conversations on a Homecoming. Michael Harding's Una Pooka and Anton's Chekov's one-act play set in Tsarist Russia, The Bear, were the group's next productions at the Triskell Arts Centre. Feedback plays featured actors well known to Cork theatregoers, including Gerry McLoughlin, Máirín Ní Shé, Melody McNamara, Joe Stockdale, The Factory Girls Image‌Denis Conway and Joe O'Gorman (Evening Echo, April, July and September 1991). The group returned to the Everyman in November with Frank McGuinness's The Factory Girls. Threatened with redundancy, five women in a Donegal shirt factory stage a lock-in in an attempt to stand up to the forces of big business. The Factory Girls played for two weeks from 12 to 23 November (Evening Echo, 9 November 1991, p. 13).


Select links below for further information.


4 March Evening of Gilbert and Sullivan Cork Arts and Theatre Club
26 November The Student Prince Cork Opera House
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