21.6 x 13.8 cm. liv, 258pp. + 8pp. with 16 illus. hardback November 2005
The Charabanc Theatre Company played a major role in Northern Ireland’s theatrical renaissance during the 1980s. Charabanc was formed by five out-of-work Belfast actresses (Marie Jones, Maureen Macauly, Eleanor Methven, Carol Moore, Brenda Winter) who first collected stories and then collaborated in writing and performing highly original plays for enthusiastic audiences. From 1983 to 1995, the company toured twenty-tour productions extensively throughout Ireland and the world, spreading their own particular brand of exuberant, dark humour.
The four plays in this collection – Now You’re Talking (1985), Gold in the Streets (1986), The Girls in the Big Picture (1986), and Somewhere Over the Balcony (1987) – represent the creative high point of the company. These entertaining plays show the broad range of the company’s work: portraits of urban and rural women; early, mid-, and late twentieth century settings, and various social, religious, historical political, or personal relations.
Marie Jones, Eleanor Methven, and Carol Moore were the remaining company principals during the mid-1980s when these four plays were created and performed. Marie Jones became the main writer for Charabanc and after leaving the company in 1990 has continued to write, notably the award-winning Stones in His Pockets. Eleanor Methven and Carol Moore continued on as artistic directors until they disbanded the company in 1995. Eleanor Methven now lives in Dublin and is a sought-after actress for stage and screen, and her first screenplay is in development with Journeyman Films. Carol Moore obtained an MA from Queen’s University, Belfast, and still acts for stage and film, but is now primarily an accomplished stage and screen director; in May 2005 she received a NESTA (National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts) Fellowship.