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Home: Part One: Mother and baby home response is timely but lacking in impact

Home: Part One, abbeytheatre.ie until July 17

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Evidence: Noelle Brown reads an extract from a 1960 adoption form from Bessborough Mother and Baby Home. Photo: Ste Murray

Evidence: Noelle Brown reads an extract from a 1960 adoption form from Bessborough Mother and Baby Home. Photo: Ste Murray

Evidence: Noelle Brown reads an extract from a 1960 adoption form from Bessborough Mother and Baby Home. Photo: Ste Murray

The Abbey Theatre’s response to the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes report is timely. It includes a number of extracts from the 2,865 page report, chosen to give a broad picture of the voices of survivors. The publication last January was greeted with dismay by many who felt their testimony was misrepresented. A number of pieces here are an opportunity for survivors to express disappointment at the report’s conclusions.

Each testimony is read from the Abbey stage, mostly by actors, including Brenda Fricker and Fionnula Flanagan; some read by public personae including Olivia O’Leary and Catherine Connolly TD; a number of the survivors themselves also feature, including Melissa Nolan and Susan Lohan. The decision to have only women performers, when some of the testimony they read is from male survivors, is an odd one, and seems antithetical to the project’s inclusive spirit.


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