Body & Blood at King's Head, Islington


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A new play about an unheard-of subject - arranged marriages in Ireland -opens The King's Head's festival of new writing, Festival 47, this July. Inspired by the writer's grandmother who had an arranged marriage, Body & Blood, by Lorraine Mullaney, is a dark comedy that tackles a tough subject with humour and live music. It's 1956, and young Aileen comes to London looking for her sister, who fled Ireland to escape an arranged marriage with an elderly farmer "with a face like the Turin shroud". Aileen finds a new life of freedom and possibility in the Big City, but will she find her sister? Will Aileen choose this new life or return to Ireland and make the sacrifices required to stay true to her roots? And will she discover why her Uncle Colm refuses to return home? The drama explores the conflicts and culture clash that result from migration and the pull of traditional Irish values. As Ireland is on the brink of electing its first openly gay prime minister, the play highlights how far Ireland has come since the 1950s. Second-generation Irish writer, Lorraine Mullaney says: "When my mother got engaged to my father in 1960, my grandmother told her she'd come to her marriage with my grandfather with a dowry and cows but my mother had come to hers with nothing. The story always fascinated me. "I'd love to talk to other women - and men - who've experienced arranged marriages - either themselves or via a friend or family member. There are many stories that haven't been told." If you have a story about arranged marriages you'd like to share, contact Lorraine on Lorraine will collate the stories gathered as research for a book. Your story will not be published without your express permission. Body & Blood by Lorraine Mullaney Director: Fumi Gomez Cast: Pamela Flanagan, JB Newman, Luke McGibney, Sorcha Brooks About arranged marriages in Ireland Arranged marriages in Ireland continued well into the 1970s and homosexuality was illegal in the Republic until 1993. Marriages were arranged by matchmakers and the girls, some as young as 15, were often taken to the altar against their will, with the brides' dowries balanced against the land and livestock of their future husbands. Irish farmers often deferred marriage, so they sought younger wives to bear sons to inherit the land and keep the family name alive. A matchmaking festival held during the month of September in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare has been running for over 150 years.

Venue Details & Map

The King's Head Theatre

115 Upper Street
N1 1QN
+44 (0)20 7226 0364

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