To Have to Shoot Irishmen

A new play with songs by Lizzie Nunnery

Directed by Gemma Kerr

★★★★ The Guardian
★★★★ The Stage
★★★★ Spy in the Stalls
★★★★ The Stage Review

Buy the published play text

‘Could peace come after? After what? Who will we be?’

Easter morning, 1916. Gunshots ring out in the Dublin streets.

In her suburban sitting-room Hanna prepares for revolution.

While Frank walks through the crowds calling for peace, John walks through his nightmares of the trenches and sees a city soaked in blood.

18-year-old William fearfully reports to the barracks for duty, determined to serve the British army with honour. But can honour survive the chaos of conflict, and once unleashed can violence ever be contained?

Inspired by true events, the production weaves movement and live folk song into a stirring tale of militarism, corruption and the power of rebellion.

Designer                                                         Rachael Rooney
Sound Designer/Composer            Vidar Norheim
Lighting Design                                        Richard Owen
Dramaturg                                                   Lindsay Rodden
Assistant Producer                              Alex Stringer
Assistant Director                                Chantell Walker


Produced in association with Liverpool Irish Festival and Claire Bigley
Supported by Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust
Originally commissioned by Druid Theatre
Image by Andy Donovan

Supported-by-Unity-Theatre-Trust-Web  LIF logo Stacked Black No Dates

Tour dates 2018

Omnibus Theatre, London

Tue 2nd – Sat 20 October, 7pm (Sundays 4pm)

0207 498 4699/

Everyman Theatre, Liverpool      

As part of Liverpool Irish Festival

Thurs 25 Oct, Fri 26 Oct & Sat 27 October, 7.30pm

0151 709 4776 /

Marlowe Theatre Studio, Canterbury

Tue 30 October, 8pm

01227 787787 /

Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury

Thur 1st & Fri 2nd November, 8pm

01743 281281/

Mumford Theatre, Cambridge

Mon 5 November, 7.30pm

01223 352932/

The Arts Centre at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk

Tue 6 November, 7.30pm

01695 584480/


The Cast:

Frank            Gerard Kearns

Hanna           Elinor Lawless

William         Robbie O’Neill

Vane               Russell Richardson

Irishmen cast 1

‘To Have To Shoot Irishmen’ Reviews 




Actor, Robbie O’Neill

“I started acting because I wanted to make work with a real social and political conscience, and this play does so.”

Designer, Rachael Rooney

“I normally imagine what the characters would look like and what they would wear, but my familiarity with them, has meant that I am inspired by real life.”

Assistant Producer, Alex Stringer

“One marketing plan might not work for another etc.. so you’re almost starting fresh with each venue you go to which is exciting but daunting!”

Director, Gemma Kerr

Frank and Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington were a fascinating couple, ahead of their time in many, many ways, and the way in which their story intersects with that of the Easter Rising in Dublin, just opens up all of those questions of ‘what might have been?’”