Between the years 1848 and 1851, over four thousand Irish females took passage on ships from Ireland to Australia under the Orphan Emigration Scheme established by Earl Grey. Belfast Girls is the story of five women who make this journey. The play was developed at the National Theatre Studio and shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the BBC Tony Doyle Award and won the Galway Theatre Festival Playwriting Prize. It has since been staged ten times internationally and is slated to be staged in Australia in August 2019 and in Sweden in November.
There are already numerous accolades for Belfast Girls, which had a magnificent American Premiere in Chicago in 2015. There the play was Windy City Times Critics’ Pick while in Portland, Oregon it was awarded Outstanding Ensemble 2017/18 (Dennis Sparks Reviews). Belfast Girls was first developed at the National Theatre Studio in London in 2012 when McCarrick was on attachment to the theatre.
The play primarily examines the theme of women in Famine and crisis, and makes allegorical reference to the post-2008 banking crisis in Ireland.
The Australian premiere of Jaki McCarrick’s internationally successful all-female play is now in rehearsals and is to open on August 24th at the Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, in Canberra. The play is presented by Echo Theatre Company and is directed by Jordan Best, noted for her cutting-edge productions of plays by female writers.
The European premiere of Belfast Girls opens in Stockholm, in translation (Swedish), on November 5th. Translated by Tove Simonsen this production of Belfast Girls is presented by Batalj Scenkonst and will run for a number of weeks. McCarrick’s play has also recently been adapted for the screen and she is currently in talks with producers about this. There are UK and further American productions of Belfast Girls slated for 2020. Meanwhile, Jaki has also written the female version of her award-winning play Leopoldville which will have its first reading at RADA in October.
If you would like to feature Belfast Girls in your publication please get in touch with Jaki McCarrick at firstname.lastname@example.org