Q&A with 'Lockout' Playwright, Historian Ann Matthews

Historian Ann Matthews, author of “Renegades: Irish Republican Women 1900-1922,” understands intimately the kind of working-class background that helped fuel the republican movement a century ago. Born in 1948, she grew up in Dublin’s North Strand, and left school at 14, something not unusual in working-class families in Ireland before 1970. She went back to school decades later to earn several degrees, including a Ph.D. in history.
 

Matthew’s mother, Jane Byrne, was raised in a tenement in Marlborough Street, a few blocks from the GPO, and married fisherman John Matthews, from Annagassan, County Louth. It was her mother’s experience as a child that inspired Matthews to look more closely at women in the seminal republican movement, and the turmoil of that era. “She was 7 and had very vivid memories of [the Easter Rising] because she thought she was going to die,” says Matthews. “I grew up listening to my mother’s childhood memories of war from 1916 to 1923.”

Photo right, some members of the Irish Women Workers Union pose -- the first and most enduring women's labor movement in Ireland, 1912.

Matthews, a Kildare resident, teaches at NUI Maynooth. She spoke to The Wild Geese’s Gerry Regan about her new book, “Dissidents: Irish Republican Women 1923-1941,“ and the experience of women republicans in the first half of the 20th century. In these companion titles, she says, she explores why women effectively disappeared from Irish politics from 1941 till the 1970s. 

Her newest play, "Lockout," is running from April 15th through April 20th at The New Theatre (43 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin).  For more information, visit http://thenewtheatre.com, or call (+353) 6703361.
 

To read more about the Lockout and to read Ann Matthews' essay about its impact on families, along with the other essays therein, you can order "A Capital in Conflict: Dublin City and the 1913 Lockout," due out shortly, via Amazon.

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Tags: Arts, Drama, History of Ireland, Irish Freedom Struggle, Literature, Women


Founding Member
Comment by Nollaig 2016 on March 24, 2014 at 3:01pm

Lockout, which was performed to packed houses at the New Theatre in Dublin last year, is to feature in the Hollywood Fringe Festival in June. It will be performed by the DogParkTheatre Company at their new theatre in Los Angeles, CA. Its inaugural production, Aperture, premiered at Fringe 2013 earning nominations for Best Production, Best Actress and Best Writing.

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