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A wind-blown comedy from the west coast of Ireland

The Cripple of Inishmaan

By Martin McDonagh

Directed by Chrisjohn Hancock


With live music by

The Argyle County Ceilidh Band



This production has received funding assistance from

Goulburn Mulwaree Council


May June 2007


Martin McDonagh (playwright) was born on 26 March 1970 and is a contemporary Irish playwright. He was born in Camberwell, London to Irish parents. His mother later moved back to Galway, leaving Martin and his brother in London, where Martin began collecting the dole at age 16.


During visits to Galway in the summers, McDonagh became acquainted with the curious dialect of English spoken in western Ireland, which he would later put to work in his plays. His ironic combination of coarse country language, primal symbology and black humour represents a peculiar fusion of the work of John Millington Synge with the modern drama of Harold Pinter, David Mamet and British television comedy.


He has been awarded Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards for Most Promising Playwright in 1996.


His plays to date incorporate two dark comedic trilogies, The Galway Trilogy (The Beauty Queen of Leenane, A Skull in the Connemara, The Lonesome West) and the Aran Islands trilogy (The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Banshees of Inisheer), and the dark fantasy, The Pillowman, as well as two prize-winning radio plays, including 'The Tale of the Wolf and the Woodcutter.


In March 2006 he won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for Six Shooter a film he wrote and directed.



The Cripple of Inishmaan was first performed in the Cottesloe auditorium of the Royal National Theatre on 12 December 1996



Inishmaan and the Aran Islands

The Aran Islands are situated outside Galway off the west coast of Ireland. This group of islands consists of Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer. Some 1400 people inhabit the islands. On Inishmaan there are 250 inhabitants. By its isolated location and the lack of a harbour, western culture never quite took root there. The Celtic language, Gaelic, is living. It is being used in everyday speech, and many elderly do not know of any other.


Around the turn of the century J M Synge, the author lived on Inishmaan periodically. He is above all known for his plays The Playboy of the Western World and Riders to the Sea, both of them based on experiences and tales from Inishmaan.

 Still today, the islands outside the coast of
Ireland play a determining role in preserving the Celtic culture. Handicraft methods have been inherited. The most famous is the Aran sweaters, which are being knitted in almost every home. Shoes of cow-skin are being manufactured, daily worn by the men in the fields. Artfully decorated belts, hand-woven trousers and vests of traditional design together with all sorts of basket-making also deserve to be mentioned. The most important thing, however, is that the pattern of life on the islands hasn't changed but insignificantly.


Inishmaan got electricity as late as in 1975, and not until now the water supply seems to be set right. Still today, the farming is carried out as it was done by the turn of the century. The small patches, surrounded by innumerable mounds of stones, are being cultivated by hand. Threshing is being made by means of a sickle, and the sowing is mowed. The grains are collected, and the straw is used for roofing. The farming is as primitive and meagre as formerly. Generations of Aranians have created their thin layers of soil by mixing seaweed and sand. Besides farming, life is based on sheep breeding, cattle and fishing. The latter is carried out from small boats, manufactured on the islands, Curraghs. The construction is a wooden span, covered with animal's skin or canvas.


The lack of a harbour also implies, that visitors have to be rowed in from any of the combined freight and passenger ships, which once a week uphold the communications with the surrounding world. It is a most time-consuming and long-winded procedure, especially as also goods must be transported this way. Stormy winters and autumns make Inishmaan isolated, sometimes for weeks.

Per Nilsson





Kate Osbourne


Judith Boyd

Eileen Osbourne


Christine Bentley



Roger Feltham

Billy Claven


Joshua Waters

Bartley McCormick


Kirby Medway

 Slippy Helen


Anthea Foley

Babbybobby Bennet


Martin Sanders

Doctor McSharry


Lyle Moffatt

Mammy O’Dougal


Doreen Mullen


The action of the play takes place on the Island of Inishmaan


Time: 1934



Director  Designer


Stage manager


Shane Daly






Stuart Medway



John Hartnet, Shane Daly, Bill Dorman, Jen Nell, Bill Wilson, Stuart Medway, Colin Simson

Wardrobe realisation


Pauline J Mullen

Scenic Artist


Lee Gray



Tina Milson

Poster design


Eban Nigro



The cast



Brian Richardson

Newsletter editor


Greg Seckold



Doreen Mullen

Front of House Manager


Colin Simson

 Rehearsal prompt


Kathy Campbell, Fiona Churchill

Poster distribution


Lee Gray and students from Goulburn High school

Advance ticket sales


Michael Connolly Chemist

The Lieder invites you to applaud our Major sponsor 2007


In-kind support is gratefully received from

Goulburn Internet, Goulburn Locksmithing and Business Requisites

The Lieder Theatre Co. is very grateful for financial support in 2007 from

Goulburn Mulwaree Council

The Mulwaree Trust

Regional Arts NSW

Arts NSW


Southern Tablelands Arts (STARTS) Inc.

Man of Aran

Vincent Browne profiles the documentary film Man Of Aran, which was first released in 1934

For the last 200 years the
Aran Islands have exercised a powerfully romantic fascination on the outside world which is without equal anywhere else in the country. They were believed to contain the essence of the ancient Irish life, represented by a pure uncorrupted peasant existence centred around the struggle between man and his hostile but magnificent surroundings. This myth, strengthened by the writings of Yeats and especially Synge was hugely expanded by the release in 1934 of Man of Aran, a documentary on the life of the Island people. This film won international acclaim and was made by renowned American director Robert Flaherty who was already established at the time as having virtually founded the documentary film form.


Flaherty decided that the best means of representing the difficulties and struggles of life on Aran was by placing the family unit, (man, wife and child) at the centre of the film. The casting for these roles, though initially difficult due to the Islanders native fear of alien corruption, was eventually concluded by a mixture of cajolery, priestly reassurance and the promise of payment.


Flaherty’s mode of working was unusual in that it involved shooting vast quantities of film for each segment. He believed that the camera and the film-maker were fused into a single organic unit in the manner of a novelist and his pen. By completely immersing himself in his environment, Flaherty felt that the most appropriate or truthful images would then naturally emerge. This intuitive style accounted for the huge expenditure of film and explains why it took almost 2 years to shoot. All in all he was to shoot over 500,000 feet of film. In one day alone, using two cameras, he shot 5,600 feet.


The film, when it was released was the cause of some controversy, dealing as it did with the problems of representation and identity. This was a thorny issue for a self-conscious country emerging from centuries of colonial subjugation. The film was presented as a portrayal of contemporary life on the islands but what was actually delivered was a romanticised notion of what life was like in the 19th century almost 100 years before.


The practice of shark fishing by harpoon that is the central theme of the film was a practice that had died out almost 90 years previously. The giant shark was hunted for his liver which was a valuable source of high quality lighting oil. This oil was replaced by paraffin and later electricity and the practice died out.


This section of the film, and the incredible storm scenes at the end, were extremely dangerous, exposing the actors to the very real possibility of having their tiny boat smashed by a blow from the huge tail of the shark or of having the boat dashed on the rocks of the foaming shores. Flaherty, when interviewed later in his life, said: "I should have been shot for what I asked these superb people to do, all for the sake of a keg of porter and five pounds a piece".


The film did well commercially despite criticisms that the real issue of island poverty had not been addressed at all. Flaherty claimed that "he photographed what the camera wanted to photograph" and that should be the end of it. This belief was justified by the film winning the Grand Prix at the Venice Film Festival in 1935.




A few words


biteen – little

cod, codding – tricking

curragh – a boat made with canvas or skin stretched over a wooden frame

doolally – crazy

eej, eejit, get – idiot

gosawer – boy, young lad

poteen – home brew whiskey made from potatoes

praties – potatoes

yalla mallows, fripple frapples, mintios, chocky top drops - sweets

The Croppy Boy – popular song of the time



Judith Boyd - Kate

Judith has just completed directing the wonderfully successful Equus for the Lieder and before that Round and Round the Garden in September last year. She joined the Lieder Theatre in September 2001 having moved to the area from Sydney where she has been an active member of the Castle Hill Players for almost twenty-five years and ran the Castle Hill Youth Theatre. She was also a drama teacher at The Hills Grammar School and has adjudicated at several country drama festivals in NSW. She attended Drama School in England before moving with her family to Australia in 1978. Judith has been involved in over one hundred plays in one way or another. In more recent years she has directed plays including The Birthday Party, The Homecoming, Twelve Angry Men, Nuts, Agnes of God, Oh What a Lovely War, Toad of Toad Hall, Educating Rita, and has acted in The Homecoming, Blithe Spirit, Bold Girls, Equus, and Don’s Party. Judith attended the writing course at NIDA in 1992, and subsequently had plays performed at NIDA and at the National Playwrights Conference in Canberra. At the Lieder she has directed Once A Catholic, Sylvia, Hating Alison Ashley, Urbs Urbis and The Odd Couple (female version), run workshops and written for the Lieder Youth Theatre’s 2 Friendly 4 Words and Dead One Done, performed in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Memory of Water and Blithe Spirit, provided administrative support and promotion for productions and operated lights for Pinocchio. She currently runs weekly after school drama classes with the Youth Theatre Company.


Christine Bentley - Eileen

Christine first appeared at the Lieder for John Spicer in Noel Coward’s Nude with Violin in 1989. Her subsequent stage activities have included sharing the favours of Ian Croker and Phillip Harris in another Coward play Design for Living, and having a curiously spaced relationship with Des Storrier’s character in Same Time Next Year. Other plays include Ladies in Retirement, Daylight Saving, House on the Cliff and Dark of the Moon (2000). Her most recent appearance was in Stan Henderson’s production of Blithe Spirit in 2005 and before that as John Spicer’s daughter, Julia in A Month of Sundays in 2003. Previous to Lieder, Christine was involved as both actor and director in the Crookwell Amateur Dramatic Society, and at Sydney’s Marian Street Theatre.


Roger Feltham - Johnnypateenmike

Roger joined the Lieder in 1989 to perform in John Spicer’s Noel Coward production of Nude with Violin and followed it up with roles in Jack and the Beanstalk, Trap for a lonely Man, Scrooge, Design for Living and Murder at the Vicarage before heading away to Canberra and beyond. His welcome return to the Lieder stage last year to play King Alonso in The Tempest has inspired continued collaboration with his agreeing to play Johnnypateenmichael for us in this years Irish treat.


Joshua Waters – Billy Claven

Josh has just successfully completed performing in the excellent production of Equus directed by Judith Boyd this year and walks straight into another challenging role as The Cripple. He completed a mentorship at the Lieder in 2005 topping it off with electrifying performances in Fireface and assisting to organise Exchange & Change - the 2nd Gathering of Regional Youth Theatre People highlighted with an Acrobatic Fire Show.  In 2006 he starred in the Blue’s Festival Acrobatic fire Show, line-danced on stilts with the LYT to set a world record, lion danced for the Chinese New Year celebrations in Goulburn, assisted in teaching acrobatic classes on Monday afternoons, played Ferdinand in The Tempest and the title role in our Christmas pantomime Aladdin directed by Stan Henderson. His previous productions at the Theatre have been Picasso’s The Four Little Girls, Away, Hating Alison Ashley, Babes in the Wood, Treasure Island, The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow and Inheritance.


Kirby Medway – Bartley McCormick

Kirby is a member of the Lieder Youth Theatre and attends weekly classes tutored by Judith Boyd every Friday after school. He has performed in Urbs Urbis which was presented for the Goulburn Friendship Club Christmas party, and the Lieder Christmas party as well as for the Goulburn Eisteddfod in 2005. Last year Kirby helped set a world record line dancing on stilts, performed in our Acrobatic Fire Show for the Australian Blues Festival played a major role in our youth theatre collaboration with CYT, THSPA and Yass High School in The Four Little Girls, co-wrote and performed in Just a play with his afterschool drama class and played a gentle spirit in our production of The Tempest.


Anthea Foley – Slippy Helen

Anthea has been performing with the Lieder since she was 7years old when she played in our 1992 Christmas pantomime Peter Pan. She toured overseas with the Company in 1998 in G’Day Mate and On the Bridge, and has also performed in Antigone, Wind in the Willows, Under Milk Wood, Grimm Tales, Alice in Wonderland, Oliver Twist, La Dispute, Dark of the Moon, Once A Catholic, Pinocchio, Babes in the Wood and The Tempest. She has competed in eisteddfods in Goulburn, Sydney and Wollongong and has her own students. For the Lieder Youth Theatre she has performed in The Vision of Delight, Hot Air, attended workshops in Wollongong as part of Blow-up and taken part in the Body Slam touring project. She is currently studying in Canberra to become a teacher.


Martin Sanders – Babbybobby

Martin was last seen on the Lieder stage in Judith Boyd’s hilarious comedy Round and Round the Garden and before that as the pityful Caliban in our Shakespeare production of The Tempest. Other performances at the Lieder include Treasure Island, Shatterproof, Oliver Twist, Blackrock, Babes in the Wood, The Removalists, The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow, Forks’n All, The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, Pinocchio, La Dispute, Dracula and John Spicer’s production of Hamlet. Martin has just joined the Lieder Board of Management.


Lyle Moffatt - Dr McSharry

Lyle left Ireland at 16 to come to Australia. He first appeared on stage at 15 in a band playing guitar and his interest in performing has stayed with him although it has taken until now to venture onto the Lieder stage. In the mean time he has made TV commercials for Carpet Court, released a CD of original songs in the 90’s and another with local musician Ron McLaughlan in 2002. We hope that Lyle stays with us and that you enjoy his performance in the show. He lives with wife Rose and has recently become a grandfather of twins.


Doreen Mullen -  Mammy O’Dougal

Doreen is a very active member of the Lieder Theatre Company. On stage she has performed in Dracula, Under Milkwood, Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows, Skirmishes, Dark of the Moon, Grimm Tales, Gathering the Dust, G’Day Mate, On the Bridge, Oliver Twist, John Spicer’s Hamlet, Fork’s n All, Stan Henderson’s Old Time Music Hall, The Vagina Monologues, The Man Who…, The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow, Minefields and Miniskirts, Babes in the Wood, The Tempest, Aladdin and Inheritance. Doreen has performed in the films, The Beat Manifesto for the Australian Film and Television School, Dead Letters for Zodiac Films, with Heath Ledger in Candy, and recently in a community film in the Highlands called Wishbone. Doreen prepares the Lieder tickets for each production and when not on stage she sells Front of House raffles.


Chrisjohn Hancock – Director

Chrisjohn has been Artistic Director of the Lieder Theatre Company since 1992. He has directed over sixty productions during that time including The Tempest, The Memory of Water, Inheritance, Away, Peter Pan, Steel Magnolias, Money and Friends, Dinkum Assorted, Hotel Sorrento, Wind in the Willows, Lord of the Flies, Dancing at Lughnasa, Cosi, Under Milk Wood, Blackrock, Grimm Tales, Antigone, Gathering the Dust, Summer of the 17th Doll, Oliver Twist, The Removalists, La Dispute, The Lesson, Skirmishes, Indians and Waiting for Godot. For the Lieder Youth Theatre Company he has directed, Picasso’s The Four Little Girls, tufff..., The Happy Prince, Rolly's Grave, Hot Chips and Gravy at the Blackhole Cafe, G’Day Mate, Hot Air, The Vision of Delight, 2 Friendly for 4 Words, Dead One Done and Ubu. Earlier productions include The Eagle Has Two Heads, Caroline written by Paul Paviour for the Argyle Society, Hey You, Waterhole and Peace in the Street for the Mustardseed Project, Under the Mask and The Little Prince for Coco Youth Theatre, WA, Nuclear Split for the NT Theatre in Education Team and Zigger Zagger and The Fantasticks for Territory North Theatre Company, NT.