Browse Exhibits (12 total)
Welcome to the online home of the Teresa Deevy Archive.
Teresa Deevy was born in Waterford in 1894 and her first staged play, ‘The Reapers’ debuted in the Abbey Theatre in 1930.
Throughout that decade a number of her plays were produced by the Abbey. Deevy fell out favour with the national theatre by 1939 and from then on her writing was most likely to be performed for radio – though her work was frequently performed by a range of dramatic groups, both amateur and professional.
Many of Teresa's papers have been digitised and can be accessed via the 'Browse Collections' link above. These include scripts, published versions of Deevy’s writings, theatre programmes and other memorabilia from theatrical productions, details of broadcast productions, correspondence, and newspaper clippings.
For a more detailed introduction to the different collections available please see here.
Originally known as 'The Enthuasist' this play was performed in the Abbey in 1931 as 'A Disciple'. Produced by Lennox Robinson it ran for seven shows.
It was later revised and retitled 'In Search Of Valour' and was broadcast under that name on television by the BBC in 1939.
The text of the play was published in 1947 by New Frontiers Press. In 1949 'In Search of Valour' was performed by the Dublin School of Acting Experimental Theatre Group.
For more information on the different productions and how they were received see 'Play and comment'.
Teresa Deevy was born in Waterford in 1894 and her first staged play, ‘The Reapers’ debuted in the Abbey Theatre in 1930. Throughout that decade a number of her plays were produced by the Abbey. Deevy fell out favour with the national theatre by 1939 and from then on her writing was most likely to be performed for radio – though her work was frequently performed by a range of dramatic groups, both amateur and professional.
While Teresa passed away in 1963 interest in her work has continued. Since 2010 the off-Broadway Mint Theatre has been engaged in ‘The Teresa Deevy Project’, reviving her plays to critical acclaim and publishing collected editions of her work.
In the Spring of 2010, Mint Artistic Director Jonathan Bank travelled to Ireland to meet with members of the Deevy family. Teresa’s papers, which had been stored in the family home were deposited with the Library, Maynooth University in 2011, for their long-term preservation and so that they could be made available for research.
Many of Teresa's papers have been digitised and can be accessed via the 'Browse Collections' link above.
The first collection is scripts – these include draft and finished versions of Deevy’s performed plays, previously unknown works for the theatre, essays, children’s stories and a treatment for a ballet. Some are complete works, some are fragments. Deevy rewrote and revised plays even after publishing or staging, so dating many of these has been difficult - however dates are provided where possible.
The second category is made up of the published versions of Deevy’s writings, these appeared in books of her own collected works, in anthologies such as ‘Irish Writing’ and the ‘Dublin Magazine’ as well as collections of children’s stories and elsewhere.
There are many theatre programmes and other memorabilia from theatrical productions available. In the main, though not exclusively, these are for productions in the Abbey Theatre. The remainder are from productions abroad, stagings of Deevy’s work after she had fallen from favour with the Abbey, and amateur performances. Where possible the details of cast and crew from each production have been included. We have also detailed broadcast productions and given as much detail as is currently available.
The archive contains a range of correspondence, highlights include letters sent to Teresa Deevy from well known literary figures such as Frank O’Connor and A.J Leventhal.
Then there are newspaper clippings. In the main these are reviews of first night theatre performances and they show how Deevy’s work was received by a contemporary audience. Of particular interest is the range of reactions to themes and characters in the plays and how these reflect deeper cultural and social ideals.
As well as items from the physical archive this online archive also includes new and original work in the form of scholarly essays:
Professor Chris Morash, Teresa Deevy, an Introdution. 2014
Dr. Shelley Troupe, TSI: Teresa Deevy, or What do we know about The Reapers?, 2014
By far the most popular of Deevy's plays 'Katie Roche' has been staged by the Abbey Theatre ten times since it's debut in March 1936 with the most recent production being in 1994.
A reputed favourite with amateur dramatic societies and theatre groups the Teresa Deevy Archive holds programmes for a number of different stagings. It was also broadcast in at least two different versions by Radio Éireann.
Finally the Mint Theatre revied the play for the New York stage in 2013.
We do not hold a complete script for any of the productions but we do hold an early draft, as identified by Jonathan Bank.
A number of early works may have been written by Deevy under the pseudonym 'D.V. Goode', although the authorship remains unclear. These include 'Practice and Precept', 'Let Us Live' and 'The Firstborn', written between 1914 and 1919.
There is some speculation that they could be the work of Deevy's sister, Josie, with whom she lived in Blackheath in South East London.
Initial reviews of Deevy's 'The Reapers' compared her writing and characters to those of Anton Chekov. Almost twenty years later her adaptation of Chekov's 'Polinka' aired on BBC Northern Ireland.
The archive holds three different typescripts of the play, two of which are near identical. We also hold details of the Broadcast.
Despite her loss of hearing Teresa Deevy produced at least these two treatments or librettos for a ballet entitled 'Possession (or Cattle of the Gods)'.
These were based on Elanor Hull's the 'Cattle Raid of Cooley', a telling of the Irish legend the Tain Bo Cualnge, a version of which is available to read at the Internet Archive.
The treatments contain the narrative of the ballet and though they give some flavour of the choreography and music, there are no detailed descriptions of either. The effect both have in telling the story is clear however.
The treatments are not identical but do not differ hugely from eachother.
"The scene is a great plain in Connaught. A herdsman loiters on the plain, gazing westward; the music is low and lingering ... The music swells in volume, a new and stirring note is introduced, Queen Maeve enters surrounded by attendants. She and the atendants dance, a joyful dance, denoting an almost arogant properity."
Temporal Powers was Deevy's third play to run in the Abbey. An 'Aonach Tailteann' competition winner it was staged in 1932 alongside Lady Gregory's 'Spreading the News'.
The play was well received, and it's fans included Frank O'Connor. In 1937, when O'Connor was a director of the Abbey, 'Temporal Powers' was revived for a 'headline' performance.
The play was adapted for radio broadcast by both the BBC and Radio Eireann, and in 2011 was revived by New York's Mint Theatre as part of their 'Teresa Deevy' project.
The Tersa Deevy archive at NUIM holds nine different drafts of the work. Two have been encoded - one stage and one studio draft.
A version of the text was published in 1985 in the Journal of Irish Literature. The Mint Theatre published the text in 'Teresa Deevy Reclaimed Vol 1'.
The King of Spain's Daughter debuted on the Abbey stage in 1935 and was revived a number of times between that and 1939. It was recorded in two different languages for three different radio productions and was even broadcast by BBC television before the outbreak of World War Two.
It was printed in three different publications.
After the rejection of at least one play 'The Reapers' was the first Deevy play to be accepted and staged in the Abbey.
There are no known surviving copies of any manuscript.
What has survived are production details from the Abbey staging, a range of reviews and some correspondence.
Details of the Abbey production and the response it received from the critics can be explored from here. In 'What do we know about 'The Reapers'?' Dr. Shelly Troupe draws on the available material to conduct a 'Theatre Studies Investigation' and piece together a picture of the play's narrative, its themes and how it was performed.