The Big Fellow

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Updated: November 21st, 2018

Ballina Arts Centre in association with Co-Motion Media presents

The Big Fellow

by Declan Gorman

based on Frank O’Connor’s biography of Michael Collins


Lime Tree Theatre | Fri, Mar 8th | 8pm | €18/€16

“If there were no wild boys, there would be no great men” Frank O’Connor’s mother wrote to him in 1922, when he was a prisoner-of-war at Gormanston prison camp.

This original play, based on O’Connor’s writings, captures the life and times of the wildest boy of them all, Michael Collins, as he graduates from masterminding the most dare-devil raids, prison breaks and escapades of the War of Independence, to commanding the official army of a newly-formed state. Greatness did indeed follow Collins but so too did division, torment and tragedy. And herein lies the mystery. Frank O’Connor fought against Collins’ side in the Civil War. So why did he divert from a glittering literary career just a few years later to write a book apparently in praise of his dead enemy?

“The Big Fellow” is an imaginative and entertaining piece of non-stop, high-energy theatre, from the action-packed opening images to the gripping conclusion. It is driven by a powerful score composed by Colin Blakey (ex-Waterboys) and Cillian McNamara’s evocative lighting. “Outstanding performances by Gerard Adlum (O’Connor) and Ian Toner (Collins) bring to vivid life a nation caught up in the excitement and turmoil of formation.”  It has already mesmerised audiences from Mayo to Mumbai, Dublin to Delhi, Birr to Bengalore.  Now, in a new co-production with Ballina Arts Centre, don’t miss this wonderful drama on its first ever visits to Cork, Limerick and Belfast

A combination of physical energy and historical passion … totally engaging.”  Emer O’Kelly, Sunday Independent
Insightful, inspiring and profoundly moving… A wonderful use of humour is what differentiates Gorman’s drama from other historical narratives.”  Orla O’Dea, Westmeath Examiner
A mischievous and refreshing production.”  Saoirse Anton, The Reviews Hub
Engaging and original”  Sara Keating, Sunday Business Post
A clever, powerful theatrical story. The audience saluted the writer and two actors with a resounding standing ovation.”  Liam Murphy, Munster Express
Script developed with support from The Abbey Theatre literary department
  • Contains strong language and simulated gunfire.
  • Not recommended for children under 12 years.
  • Script developed with support from The Abbey Theatre literary department

  • Please note all ticket prices include a booking charge.
  • No exchanges or refunds.
  • Wheelchair spaces can only be booked over the phone. Please call our box office on (061) 953400 if you wish to book a wheelchair space.
  • No late comers admitted to the theatre once show commences.
  • Limited parking available for patrons, please arrive early. Disability and bus parking on campus.

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Fri 08 Mar