Acclaimed Irish play On McQuillan’s Hill makes London debut at Finborough Theatre


On McQuillan’s Hill, by acclaimed Northern Irish playwright Joseph Crilly (1962-2017), will have its long overdue London premiere at the Finborough Theatre, Kensington, this February.

On McQuillan’s Hill was last performed twenty years ago at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, where it was produced by the renowned Tinderbox Theatre Company and directed by Stephen Wright (Former Head of BBC Drama Northern Ireland and the producer behind The Fall and Line of Duty).

The London premiere is directed by Jonathan Harden (former Artistic Director at the Lyric Theatre Studio, Belfast) with a cast that includes Helena Bereen (Hunger, Steve McQueen and I am Belfast, Mark Cousins) who is reprising her role from the original production, and Gina Costigan who’s most recent role was on Broadway in Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman.

On McQuillan’s Hill is a vicious black comedy confronting the devastating impact of sectarian violence through the story of the Malines: Fra Maline, an IRA prisoner, is released early under the Good Friday Agreement to his secret gay lover and disreputable clan. As they gather to celebrate his release inside an isolated community hall, bitter memories from the past are resurrected and long buried lies are calamitously exposed…

The play finds comedy in the futility of political violence, with a central message of peace, tolerance and forgiveness set against the toxic aftermath of the Troubles. Though twenty years old the play is unfortunately as relevant now as ever, with the current political impasse in Northern Ireland and Brexit posing a very real threat of a hard border being re-introduced on the island of Ireland.

Crilly was an incredible playwright who sadly took his own life in 2017. In the wake of his death, his friends put together a collection of his plays to form The Crilly Trilogy. On McQuillan’s Hill is one of the darkest writings from this works. This is a not-for-profit play at the Finborough Theatre will run for four-weeks, 4th – 29th February 2020.

Crilly won the Stewart Parker Trust New Writing Award 1998 and was hailed as “Ulster’s Martin McDonagh” by the Guardian Newspaper.