Lurgan director digs up lost play

A LURGAN man is helping to ressurect of an Irish play lost for over 70 years.

‘Wife To James Whelan’ will have its UK premiere in April in the New Diorama Theatre in London.

Lurgan man Gavin McAlinden is the man behind Charm Offensive, who are presenting the forgotten play, and he’ll also be directing the play written by Teresa Deevy.

Teresa Deevy (1894-1963) was from middle class stock and was deafened by Meniere’s disease at the age of 20. She had six plays performed at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre between 1930/36.

After her rejection by the Abbey, she devoted the rest of her career to radio plays, astonishing for a deaf playwright. Deevy has recently begun to be rediscovered and Wife To James Whelan was performed at the Mint Theatre Off-Broadway in New York in 2010.

Directed by Gavin McAlinden, the play runs from April 5 to 30 in the New Diorama Theatre.

Lurgan man Gavin is Artistic Director of Charm Offensive, which he established in 2001. In that capacity, he has directed the British premiere of Frank McGuinness’ Gates of Gold, The Gigli Concert by Tom Murphy and You Can’t Take It With You by Moss Hart and George F Kaufmann.

Gavin recently directed a new adaptation of Porridge by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and has recently worked with Cardboard Citizens. His films include Tainted Heart (shortlisted for Cannes Festival) and Target: Audience (shortlisted for BBC Talent New Filmmaker Award). He is currently developing Misconceptions, a new comedy film by Dick Clement.

Also flying the flag for Lurgan at Charm Offensive is Assistant Director Helen Donelly whose family are from the town.