Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alums are in the cast and creative team for The Kelly Girls, a new drama running February 17 through April 1 at the Factory Theater, located at 1623 W. Howard in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Student discounts are available. For tickets, click here.
The play is written by Columbia College alum Shannon O’Neill ’07, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting, who is also the Factory’s co-artistic director. O’Neill’s new play is set in 1960s Belfast, Northern Ireland, where a pair of sisters join the fight to free their homeland from British occupation, only to find themselves committing acts of terrorism and engaging in guerrilla warfare. In her program note for the play, O’Neill writes:
“Early 2013, a friend of mine, who knew I was researching women of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), sent me a text with a link attached. It was to a New York Times article with the headline “Dolours Price, Defiant I.R.A Bomber, Dies at 61.”As I read on, I learned about Dolours and her sister Marian’s deep IRA and Irish Republican roots, their recruitment to the Provisional IRA group the “Unknowns,” and the details of their hunger strike while imprisoned. While easily accessed information pointed to a shared, yet complex, experience between these sisters – further research revealed signs their once unified belief system diverged throughout its course. And it’s at this point I knew this was a human relationship I wanted to explore more deeply, amongst a backdrop and history I cared about so profoundly.
“I am 5th generation Irish-American. As distant as that may seem, even as a kid, I had a kinship with Ireland. I remember in my Columbia College dorm room taping pictures of Irish landscapes horizontally to my nightstand so those wistful images were the first thing I saw every morning. I had the fortune of visiting Ireland twice in my lifetime and I got to see all those landmarks in the pictures. But my adventures never included Northern Ireland, which I regret. I didn’t know it then but this region would become the basis of my research for the next decade. All because of that text from my friend.”
The show’s cast includes Columbia College alums Mandy Walsh ’99 and Vic Kuligoski ’15, both graduates of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting, and Katy Campbell ’19, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Musical Theatre Performance with a Minor in Public Relations.
The production’s lighting designer is Columbia College alum Benjamin Carne ’18, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Design program. And the show’s technical director is Columbia College alum Line Bower ’22, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Theatre Design and Technology with a Minor in Stage Combat.