Jack Clitheroe

Sean O'Casey

Shivaun O'Casey

Zellerbach Theatre, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US.

Additional Cast:
Madeleine Potter, Des Keogh, Alan Mooney, Pauline Flanagan, Helen Ryan, Jarlath Conroy

Completed play

This story is set in the Dublin tenements in the year 1916. It centres on a young married couple, Jack and Nora Clitheroe, and portrays the destructive effects of the Easter Rebellion of 1916 with stark, but compassionate realism.

Jack is a member of the Irish Citizen Army.  Nora is ambitious to move out of the tenements and to prevent her husband from involving himself further in politics.  Jack learns that she has burned a letter which tells him that he has been promoted Commandant and he is to lead a reconnaissance attack on Dublin Castle. Jack is furious and leaves the house at once. 

We get some insight into the particular quality and tragedy of tenement life through the various characters.


  • Originally scheduled to open in Belfast, the tour's premiere was moved to Philadelphia following the bombing of Belfast's Grand Opera House. For many, the bombing underscored the play's tragic timelessness.  - The Morning Call


  • The play was performed by The O'Casey Theater Company, presented by the Philadelphia Drama Guild and Annenberg Center in Philadelphia.  After Philadelphia, it toured to:  Belfast, Cork, Dublin, and Derry, but I cannot be sure if Brendan continued to perform with the Company.

  • Nora1:34
  • Excerpt from The Plough & the Stars3:04

"Three Plays Step Back In Time, Sensibility"

By Clifford A.

Say, what year is it around here, anyway?  A Philadelphia theatergoer might well ask. At the Zellerbach Theatre in the Annenberg Center, the play on view is Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars, written in 1924...


"The O'casey Company's 'Plough And The Stars'"

By Clifford A.

Sean O'Casey's ideal kind of theater, according to his daughter Shivaun, had "a lament in one ear and a song in the other."...