Interview with Louise O’Meara & Katie McCann – Brontë at Smock Alley


Interview with Louise O’Meara & Katie McCann – Producers of Brontë at Smock Alley

We had the chance to talk to Louise and Katie about their new production Brontë which is runs at Smock Alley until March 11th. You can see the results below.

Producer: Louise O’Meara
Associate Producer: Katie McCann

Smock Alley Theatre, 6th – 11th March @ 7:30pm
Dlr Mill Theatre, Dundrum, 16th – 18th March 8pm (Matinee Saturday 18th @ 1:30pm)

The play is written by British playwright Polly Teale in 2005. Which one of you came across it, and how?

Louise O’Meara – Katie came across it. A friend gave it to her when she was in college and she fell in love with it. We had both read Jane Eyre before so the interest in the Brontes was there.

Katie McCann – When I read this play I knew it was something I really wanted to work on but back then I didn’t have the skills or knowledge of how to put the show on. Thankfully we have now assembled a brilliant team of artists and the show has grown into so much more than I could have ever imagined back then.

What story is it telling? What part of their lives does it focus on?

Louise O’Meara – The show focuses on the influences that helped to create the three sisters greatest works: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It jumps through the most significant moments in their lives, the moments and interactions that shaped them. There is a perception that has grown around the Brontë’s over time that they were the epitome of conservative Victorian ladies but that’s really not the truth. The play shows the wilder aspects of their lives and how difficult it was for them to succeed as writers at a time when women weren’t even allowed to be members of a library.

Your role is as producer of the play. What does that actually entail?

Katie McCann – The main job of a producer is to keep the wheels moving and the creative team and company working together towards a shared goal. We both, Katie and Louise, work as creative producers so we are very hands on with the entire process. We are there in rehearsals making sure that everyone is communicating and that things are progressing as they need to. Communication between departments is the biggest thing and then also of course getting word out about the show!

If the Bronte sisters lived today, every aspect of their lives would be dissected. Were they famous in their time?

Louise O’Meara – Charlotte was very famous. Jane Eyre was a sensation, people couldn’t get enough of it. There was a huge amount of mystery around the author when it was first released as all three sisters wrote under pseudonyms and pretended to be men in order to get published. When it was revealed they were women it was a bit of a scandal. Especially for Emily and Anne as their books were considered very racy at the time and for women to have written them was very controversial. Emily was least willing to play the fame game overall. She was fiercely private and refused even to go to London to meet her publisher. Anne was more willing to go along with things, visiting London on occasion, but Charlotte was the driving force of their success and a celebrity in her own right.

Tell me about your company, Illustrated Productions?

Louise O’Meara – Illustrated Productions is an ensemble based theatre collective dedicated to developing exciting and dynamic theatre that aims to capture the imagination of the audience through text and imagery. Born out of a passion for creating visual art and theatre, the collective aim is to focus on work which is complemented and enhanced by a visually compelling aesthetic. This is our fourth production to date and we are incredibly excited to bring this beautiful story to life.


Cast and Creatives:

Cast: Ashleigh Dorrell, Desmond Eastwood, Ruairi Lenaghan, Katie McCann and Louise O’Meara

Director: Clare Maguire

Playwright: Polly Teale

Set Designer: Sinead Purcell

Costume Designer: Nicola Burke

Lighting Designer: Brian Nulty

Sound Designer: Shell Dooley

Stage Manager: Sinead Purcell

Producer: Louise O’Meara

Associate Producer: Katie McCann


Categories: Header, interview, Theatre

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