Belfast Girls, by Jaki McCarrick, tells the amazing story of five young women, who, at the height of the Irish Famine in 1850, seek passage on a ship to Australia hopeful they will find a fresh start in a new land. None of these women are quite who they seem to be at first – all have secrets of one kind or another – and when the greatest of these is uncovered, all hell breaks loose on the ship. En route to Australia, the women develop close and combative relationships and through the adventures, secrets and dark history they share, they discover that their beloved homeland of Ireland deported them as “undesirables.” The “Belfast Girls” prevail and land in Australia bound by their shared passion to create a new life together.
About the playwright: Jaki McCarrick is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and Middlesex University, London. Her first play, The Mushroom Pickers, won the 2005 Scottish Drama Association's National Playwriting Competition and premiered at the Southwark Playhouse in London in May 2006 and in New York in February 2009. Her play, Leopoldville, won the 2010 Papatango New Writing Award and was staged in April 2010 at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London to critical acclaim. Her most recent play, Belfast Girls was developed at the National Theatre Studio (London) in 2012 and received a staged reading by Artemisia, A Chicago Theatre in September 2013. Belfast Girls was shortlisted for the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and will be published to worldwide release in the spring of 2015, simultaneously with Artemisia’s American premiere of the play.
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