Prison Notebooks

based on the Civil War Gaol journals of DOROTHY MACARDLE

Dorothy Macardle was an outstanding Irish woman of the 20th century whose legacy and achievements have only recently come to public attention. She was a novelist, playwright, Hollywood screenwriter, historian and pioneering human rights campaigner. Daughter of Sir Thomas Macardle, founder of the Macardle Moore brewing enterprise in Dundalk, she rejected her family’s imperial values and became – in her own words – “an unrepentant propagandist” on behalf of the Irish Republican cause. In November 1922 she was arrested by Free State forces; her artistic and scholarly manuscripts publicly burned on a Dublin street, and imprisoned without trial in Mountjoy and later Kilmainham Gaol and the North Dublin Union.

A series of handwritten diaries she kept while incarcerated have now been adapted into a remarkable solo theatre performance by Sharon McArdle and Declan Gorman. They reveal Dorothy not just as a committed political thinker but a visionary artist, whose connection to the uncanny, and meditations on time, trauma and loss place her among the literary innovators of the early 20th century. Warm, humorous portraits of fellow women prisoners, tales of ghostly apparitions and devastating accounts of deprivation and violation blend with dreamscapes and paranormal episodes in this original performance which is now being staged after almost five years of archive research and workshop exploration.

Research and development of this work have been made possible with the support of Create Louth – the Arts Service of Louth Local Authorities; Fingal Arts Office; Bank of Ireland Arts Awards; Dublin City University and the Arts Council (Theatre Project Award).


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About the company…

DMAPP (Dorothy Macardle Archive and Performance Project) is a unique undertaking by a group of artists to focus attention on playwright, novelist and political activist Dorothy Macardle.

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