Wednesday 17 January 2018

Mary Raftery's powerful drama on abuse reduced me to tears

Though it was her theatrical debut, the late journalist relished the challenge, writes Fiach Mac Conghail

The first time I met Mary Raftery we had a heated discussion about Irish theatre. In fact, this discussion happened to be overheard by 300 delegates at a Theatre Forum conference in Cork in 2008. We disagreed publicly over what the Abbey Theatre should be doing as a national theatre but she showed a graceful sense of respect and listened. I had no doubt about her integrity, her humanity and her rigour but we both stood up to each other that day.

In May 2009, the Ryan Report into institutional child abuse was published. I was profoundly moved by the testimonies but didn't know what to do about it. How could the Abbey Theatre respond artistically to the findings of this report?

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