Waterford Dramatic Society Presents : Bailegangaire by Tom Murphy

May 25th - May 28th 2022 |
8:00 pm
€15 |


A major play from a major Irish playwright, Bailegangaire is as complex and haunting as one of Yeats’ later poems.… Here is a potent allegory – of the need to exorcise the past and its myths if one is to be happy in the future.– The Sunday Telegraph

On its first production in 1985 this play, a masterpiece of the Irish theatrical canon was hailed as:


a remarkable play … superb’ Irish Independent

the outstanding theatrical experience of 1985’ Irish Press

‘ just extraordinary … this establishes Murphy as the most exciting writer in modern Irish Theatre’ Sunday Independent


In Bailegangaire, an endless folk story told by a senile old woman is woven through her granddaughters’ arguments and struggles to free themselves from her.

Night after night, in lyrical and relentless detail, Mommo begins to relate the story of a laughing competition in Bailegangaire and how the town came by its name – ‘the town without laughter’.

In Mommo, Tom Murphy has created one of the greatest female characters of twentieth-century Irish literature. The play was first performed by Druid Theatre Company, Galway, in 1985 with the celebrated actor Siobhan McKenna (in what was to be her swansong) creating the role of Mommo in a towering performance that lives on in the memory of everyone fortunate enough to see it.

Masterfully poised between myth and reality, levity and sorrow, Mommo seems eternal, slipping from one world to another.

Of her two granddaughters, she only recognises Dolly, and not Mary who does most to look after her. The younger women yearn to be free of the past in order to make a new beginning, and Mary comes to believe that to do so the story of Bailegangaire has to be concluded. Mary, in between ministering to Mommo, wavers between staying and leaving her. Dolly, counts down the days before her husband, Stephen, returns from England and this time she’s determined to be ready for him.


WDS are delighted to bring this iconic play to Waterford audiences with local actors Denise Quinn (Mommo), Clodagh Power (Mary) and Vivienne Cummins (Dolly)

Preview Show

When: Tue 24th May 2022

Price: €10

Time: 8pm



When: Wed 25th – Sat 28th May 2022

Time: 8pm

Price: €15/conc.€12

Where: Garter Lane Arts Centre



Denise Quinn

Denise holds an M.A. in Drama & Theatre Studies and has worked in theatre for many years as an actor, director, writer and teacher. Among her favourite stage roles are the title role in Frank McGuinness’ Baglady (Red Kettle Theatre Co.); Annie Wilkes in Stephen King’s Misery (Suirfire Productions); Ginnie Gogan in Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars & Mammy in Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan, both with Waterford Dramatic Society. Other more recent roles include Mary Fortune in Tender Mercies & Gina in YES, both written by Collette Cullen and produced by Home You Go Productions. Denise has written three plays, The Bluebell Stop, Bardot Bites and Lucy Bastible, all produced by TooDog Theatre Co. Bardot Bites and Lucy Bastible toured extensively in Ireland and Newfoundland in Canada. Denise’s most recent acting role was Mrs. Lopsided in Songway Films 2019 short film The Silver Lining.

Vivienne Cummins- ‘Dolly’

Vivienne is no stranger to the stage and is excited to be back treading the boards after a long break from the theatre scene. She lives in Waterford with her husband, Enda, and their two daughters, Lily- Mai and Alice. She has been teaching in Waterpark National School for the past 17 years and is currently job- sharing in 3 rd Class.

Vivienne began her acting career with ‘Little Red Kettle’ Theatre Company. Since then, she has performed in a wide variety of productions around Waterford city and Carrick-on-Suir. She had the pleasure of working with Frieda in 2011, where she played ‘Mona (Then)’ in ‘Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean’ for W.D.S.

Other favourite roles include ‘Madame Knorr’ in ‘On The Razzle’ (2013) starring alongside Denise under the direction of Jim Nolan, ‘Cecily’ in ‘The Odd Couple’ and ‘Louise’ in ‘Tons of Money’, both for Brewery Lane Theatre Company in 2012. Vivienne is delighted to be playing ‘Dolly’ in ‘Bailegangáire’ and is privileged to work with such an experienced team.

Clodagh Power -‘Mary’

Clodagh is delighted to renew her long association with WDS after previous roles as ‘Mibs’ in ‘A Life’ by Hugh Leonard, directed by Geri Oakes and ‘Máire’ in ‘Translations’ by Brian Friel directed by Jim Nolan. In more recent times, she has worked on several radio plays by Sue Healy and Aoibhín Fallon and appeared as ‘Lizzie’ in Jim Nolan’s ‘Blackwater Angel’.

She is excited to be back on stage again with such a wonderful company of cast and crew

Frieda Ryan : Director

Frieda has been involved in the Arts in Waterford since the late 1970s Most of her work has been with Waterford Dramatic Society where she made her Waterford  acting début as Mena Glavin in SIVE by J.B.Keane in 1980. She subsequently played roles in Irish classics such as The Playboy of the Western World by J.M Synge (Pegeen Mike), The Plough and the Stars (Bessie Burgess)and Juno and the Paycock (Mrs Tancred) by Seán O’Casey. She worked on a number of other W.D.S. productions on and offstage over 3 decades including directing plays such as The Highest House on the Mountain, by J.B.Keane, Portrait of a Madonna by Tennessee Williams and The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh (which toured to Inishbofin Island ). Acting highlights include playing Big Maggie in Keane’s play of the same name (W.D.S.) and roles such as Catherine Petkoff  in Arms and the Man by G.B. Shaw directed by Barry Cassin for Red Kettle Theatre Co. and also the Priest Figure in Talbot’s Box by Tom Kilroy directed by Jim Nolan also for Red Kettle.  Her directing highlights were Perfidia by Jimmy Murphy  and Baglady by Frank McGuinness for Red Kettle. In the latter she had the joy and privilege  of directing Denise Quinn. She served on the W.D.S. committee and Red Kettle Board for many years. She taught in St. Angela’s School from 1973 to 2010 with a couple of breaks to pursue her love of theatre. She is very excited to be working with Denise , Clodagh and Vivienne on the masterpiece that is Tom Murphy’s Bailegangaire.

Tom Murphy was born in Tuam, Co. Galway.  He died in Dublin May 2018.

Plays include: On the Outside (w. Noel O’Donoghue), A Whistle in the Dark, A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer’s Assistant, Famine, The Morning After Optimism, On the Inside, The Sanctuary Lamp, Epitaph Under Ether (a compilation from the works of J M Synge), The Blue Macushla, The Informer (from the novel by Liam O’Flaherty), Conversations on a Homecoming, The Gigli Concert, Bailegangaire, A Thief of a Christmas, Too Late for Logic, The Patriot Game, She Stoops to Folly (from The Vicar of Wakefield), The Wake, The House, The Drunkard, The Cherry Orchard (a version), Alice Trilogy and The Seduction of Morality, a novel, and The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant.  His last play Brigit was produced by Druid Theatre Company in 2014.

The Irish National Theatre (the Abbey) presented a six-play Season in 2001 – “Tom Murphy at The Abbey” – in celebration of his work.

In 2012 Druid produced the Druid/Murphy SeasonWhistle in the Dark, Conversations On a Homecoming, Famine – performing it, to great acclaim, in Ireland, UK and USA.  The Season received a number of awards, including the Best Production 2012 Irish Theatre Award. In the same year The Abbey produced The House, also an Irish Theatre Awards multi- award winning production

Tom Murphy was a multi-award winning playwright whose plays are performed throughout the world.   The Gigli Concert, Bailegangaire, The House, Alice Trilogy all won the Irish Theatre Awards: Best Play.  Other awards include the Irish Times /ESB inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, Irish Academy of letters Award.  He holds honorary doctorates from Trinity College Dublin and the NUI (Galway).   In 2013 he was awarded The Ulysses Medal, the highest honour University College Dublin bestows.   In 2017 President Michael D Higgins presented Tom Murphy with the gold torc and the title of Saoi, Aosdána’s highest honour.

Tom Murphy’s plays are published under the Methuen imprint by Bloomsbury Publishing.

Tom Murphy Literary Trust is represented by:  Alexandra Cann Representation:  alex@alexandracann.co.uk


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