The Shooting of More O’Ferrall returns to Longford's Backstage Theatre by popular demand

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The Shooting of More O'Ferrall is returning to the Backstage Theatre by popular demand.

The play is an adaptation of a historical event leading up to a fatal shooting which took place at Lissard House, Edgeworthstown in 1935.

In a time where fenianism and unfair landlordism were rife and evictions, disease, starvation and extreme poverty were commonplace, the residents of Sanderson’s Estate took it upon themselves to stand up to, Gerald More O’ Ferrall, the social climbing landlord at the time who was obnoxious, self-righteous, intolerant and a womaniser to boot.

A Tenants Association was set up to protect their rights so they drafted in the help of the IRA, The Blueshirts and others to take a stand against unfair landlordism.

Unfortunately things went a step too far and an innocent man was fatally injured, but in spite of trials and court cases, no one was ever held accountable nor charged for the outrageous murder of a young man in his prime.

There is a big Leitrim connection in this saga. The local activists from Mostrim who were secretly involved with the IRA, went down to Dromod, Rooskey and Bornacoola areas of Leitrim to seek the help of the IRA and Blueshirts there.

These people were already experiencing unfair landlordism, capitalism and materialism themselves and they had taken a stand against it, so they met in secret with the Mostrim men to come up with a plan to frighten the local landlord of Sanderson’s estate in Edgeworthstown and to try and make him lower the huge rent hikes and to put an end to evictions. Unfortunately, their plans backfired and the rest is indeed history.

With a cast and crew of 43 strong we hope to bring to life this piece of forgotten history in the locality after many years.

As this production is an adaptation of The Shooting of More O’Ferrall, this means that dates, times, events, and people’s placements may not concur fully with other people’s perception of the incident.

Prior to writing the script, Pauline Flood carried out in-depth research on the story, and spoke to the families, neighbours and locals of those involved.

“I soon learned that there are many accounts and variations of what actually took place in the run up to and on the night of the shooting,” she said.

“I have written an interpretation of this story for the purpose of stage entertainment. I have tried to keep it within the lines of the local folklore, in as far as I possibly could.

“None of this play has been copied directly from any other works. I have applied a poetic licence in some scenes so as to provide an artistic production.”

There are some excellent actors from Mostrim plus actors from the Bea Masterson group in Legan and some from Longford also.

This serious piece of drama is directed by Vanessa Flood, who has added her own touch of music, song and dance plus a couple of joyous comical pieces to the production.

Vanessa has a BA in Performing Arts and is very accomplished in directing and acting for theatre having won awards for her work.

“We have been rehearsing for a few months now and are getting excited and a bit nervous at this stage,” said Pauline.

“I hope that you will all find something in this play that you did not know before.”

Remember to book in time for Thursday and Friday, September 5 and 6 by calling 043 33 47888 or visiting www.backstage.ie.

PICTURES | Cast of 48 hits the Longford stage with The Shooting of More O'Ferrall