Casting is complete for Irish Repertory Theatre's New York premiere of Jaki McCarrick's Belfast Girls, which begins previews May 11 on the Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage with opening night set for May 19. The limited Off-Broadway engagement will run through June 26.
Labhaoise Magee (Pumpgirl) will star as Ellen Clarke alongside Aida Leventaki (Power Book III: Raising Kanan) as Molly Durcan, Mary Mallen (Manchester by the Sea) as Hannah Gibney, Caroline Strange (London Assurance) as Judith Noone, and Sarah Street (Afterwards) as Sarah Jane Wylie.
Nicola Murphy (A Girl is a Half-formed Thing) directs. The creative team also includes set designer Chika Shimizu (The Great Wave), costume designer China Lee (Autumn Royal), lighting designer Michael O’Connor (A Girl is a Half-formed Thing), and sound designer Caroline Eng (The October Storm). Avery Trunko (This Space Between Us) will serve as production stage manager with Mary Garrigan (Marie Antoinette) as assistant stage manager.
Belfast Girls follows five young women setting out on their own as they sail from Belfast, Ireland, to Sydney, Australia in 1850, seeking new lives while realizing they cannot escape the lives they want to leave behind. The work imagines the lives of women who participated in the British empire's real-life program called the Female Orphan Emigration Scheme. The program sent "morally pure" girls to Australia to address the crisis of young women left destitute by the Great Famine in Ireland and the shortage of women and labor in Australia.
Developed at the National Theatre Studio in London in 2012, productions have previously been mounted in Chicago, Portland, and Pittsburgh.