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