The Wife of Michael Cleary is a new folk musical inspired by the true story of Bridget Cleary. Bridget was a talented dressmaker from Co. Tipperary, Ireland, who in 1895 was burned to death by her husband and family because they believed her to be a fairy changeling. She was 26 years old. A trial ensued shortly afterwards and the story was widely covered in the press in Ireland and Great Britain. It has previously served as inspiration for music and literature, but this is the first time the story has been addressed in musical theatre.
The Wife of Michael Cleary explores faith and superstition at a decisive moment in Irish history, whilst also shining a light on the pressing contemporary issue of violence against women.
The musical combines Maz’s talents as a writer and composer with influences from traditional Irish folk music and dramaturgical input from Alan Flanagan (Hollyoaks) and Tinuke Craig (The Color Purple, Leicester Curve / Birmingham Hippodrome / UK tour).
The development of The Wife of Michael Cleary has so far been supported by Arts Council England, PRS Foundation, Help Musicians, Britten Pears Arts, the English Folk Dance and Song Society and The Liverpool Irish Festival. Maz and her team are currently looking to connect with venues and co-producers as they work towards a fully-staged production.
Writer and composer: Maz O’Connor
Director: Tinuke Craig
Dramaturg: Alan Flanagan
Movement: Martin Bassindale
Producer: Jessie Anand
The Wife of Michael Cleary has been selected to showcase at BEAM 2023 at the Oxford Playhouse on 24th and 25th May 2023. Tickets are on sale here.
A live recording of ‘Hide’ can be heard on Spotify below, featuring the vocals of Faoileann Cunningham (Amélie, Watermill Theatre / UK tour). The band is comprised of Philippe Barnes, Ruairi Glasheen, Imogen Gunner, Nicola Lyons and Ria Nolan.
For more information please contact Maz at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jessie Anand at email@example.com