With 'God Bless the Child' entertaining audiences at the Lyric Theatre for a second year running, we caught up with producer, Pat Talbot, to discuss the show, the author's home city of Cork, and its intrinsic ties to the Lyric's own history.
Pat told us: "'God Bless the Child' - an adaptation of stories by Cork born Frank O'Connor - holds particular importance this year, the 50th anniversary of O'Connor's death, so it is very satisfying to have it play here at the Lyric Theatre. While the themes of stories like First Confession are universal and timeless, they are unmistakably set in the Cork of the early 20th Century."
The Lyric and Cork are inextricably linked, with Mary O Malley, the formidable founder of the Lyric being born in the town of Mallow, just north of Cork city centre, in 1918. O'Malley's appointment of another Cork writer, Patrick Galvin, as writer in residence at the Lyric, solidifies the theatres ties to this city, which leaves it's unmistakeable mark on 'God Bless the Child'. Two of Galvin's plays: 'The Last Burning' and 'We Do It For Love', written during his time at the Lyric, were brought to the Everyman Playhouse theatre in Cork by Miss O'Malley. A young Pat Talbot was working at the Everyman at this time and absorbing everything and anything theatrical like a sponge.
"Miss O Malley, who started her theatre in a shed at the back of her house, and later on Ridgeway Street, arrived with her troupe of eminent Belfast players, including Louis Rolston, Trudy Kelly and JJ Murphy. They were embraced by Cork audiences, just as Belfast audiences are now warmly embracing God Bless the Child, a very Cork play."
God Bless The Child runs until the 21st August and tickets are available here: https://lyrictheatre.co.uk/event/god-bless-the-child/