Anne-Marie O'Sullivan (producer, director) is the founder and director of Strokestown-based Enchanted Croí Theatre, located in Co. Roscommon. She studied Theatre Acting at Bretton Hall and trained with the Creative Arts Team in New York, where she worked as a community theatre facilitator. Anne-Marie has toured Europe extensively as a performer and theatre-maker, working across cultures on stage, in television and film, including the award-winning feature film "Fish n Chips" (2010). She has directed and toured her own one-woman show to Pakistan's Rafi Theatre Festival, and toured with the Caravan Stage across the Aegean Sea. In 2019 she founded Enchanted Croí Theatre, based on the grounds at Strokestown Park. Since then she has been creating theatrical events and plays locally. In addition to producing and directing the debut of "In the Midst of Plenty" and designing sets and costumes for the production, Anne-Marie originated the role of Henrietta Mahon.
Since its founding in 2019, Enchanted Croí Theatre has been creating live theatre events ranging from magical faerietales for children and one-woman shows for all ages, to musicals, site-specific theatre, and digital theatre. It was Enchanted Croí Theatre’s 2021 digital theatre piece about Olive Pakenham Mahon in the World War I era that brought Enchanted Croi’s founder Anne-Marie O’Sullivan and writer Amy Day together out of a shared interest in the Strokestown archive and the stories it holds.
Amy Day (playwright, composer, lyricist) is a San Diego-based musician, writer, professor, and mother of three. She has written for and performed with a number of Americana and indie-folk bands, including the 2020 San Diego Music Awards-nominated duo The Spiritual Motels. Amy has studied playwrighting with Aleta Barthell (Window of Shame, finalist for National Playwrights Conference 2020-2021 and 2016 HUMANITAS/CTG Playwriting Prize) and musical theatre songwriting with Mark Hollmann (Urinetown, winner of 2002 Tony Award and 2001 Obie Award for best music and lyrics). Amy has served on the board of directors for and taught at Rock and Roll Camp for Girls San Diego, has been an active member of the Lady Brain Collective, and participates in writing groups for songwriters, playwrights, and musical theatre composers. An academic, Amy teaches Legal Writing at California Western School of Law. During the summer of 2019, Amy taught a course in human rights at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. While there, she visited the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park; it was this visit that inspired Amy to bring the Strokestown story to life through music.
With deepest gratitude for all those who have helped bring this project into existence:
Dr. Ciarán Reilly of Maynooth University, historian of 19th and 20th century Irish history, specializing in the Great Irish Famine. An expert on the events underlying this story, Dr. Reilly authored major texts and essays upon which this project relies. Through countless emails and Zoom calls across time zones, he has given generously of his energy and expertise in explaining the complex history involved and bringing historical figures to life.
Roscommon County Council's Local Live Performance Programming Scheme and Ireland's Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports, and Media, for awarding Enchanted Croi Theatre the generous grant funding that makes the first production possible. Thanks in particular to Rhona McGrath for her steadfast support for Enchanted Croi Theatre and its development of this show.
The staff of the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park, including John O'Driscoll, Sabrina Brady, Aidan McBride, Tony Aspel, Martin Fagan, and Oisin O Drisceoil, for supporting and hosting the first production of this show at Strokestown Park. In the middle of a major museum renovation, they generously incubated this production and helped in every way as it came to life.
The original cast and company of the first Enchanted Croi Theatre production of the piece: Julie Sharkey, Martin Gilligan, Anne-Marie O'Sullivan, Mary Claire Ryan, Grainne Hunt, Fia Rua, Blathnaid Daly, Gavin Sweeney, Cian Hoyne, Niall Brewster, Jules Stewart, Neil Fitzgibbon, and Amy Day.
Members of the Strokestown community for their warmth, friendship, and work on this piece, including Jonathan Cassidy and the Strokestown Town Team, Diogo Santana and Kieran Hussey, Gemma Flanagan and David Dolan, Mary Sweeney, Alan McDermott, John Levy, and Father Eamonn O'Connor.
Aleta Barthell, award-winning playwright and playwriting teacher at San Diego Writer's Ink. Aleta's classes provided a sense of accountability, and she gave wise, thoughtful, and sensitive feedback on work in progress. Thank you as well to fellow students in Aleta's classes for their generous feedback: Belle, Michelle, Susan, Lauren, Katie, and many others.
Mark Hollmann, Tony Award winner and musical theatre songwriting teacher, whose Dramatists Guild Institute class for composer-lyricists provided invaluable insights and facilitated connection with other artists.
Rachel Sarrano, Nicholas Kaminski, Joseph Osborne, Gary Kubota, Jason Eyester, and Robert Shard, a steadfast musical theatre songwriting community.
The many vocalists and instrumentalists who have been lending their talents to demos for the songs for this project: Una Ni Fhlannagain, Tony Cunningham, Leigh Jones, Audra Nemir, Omar Musisko, Jules Stewart, Dan Frechette, Jack Pennifold, Veronica May, Ted Stern, Sandi King, and Nicholas Kaminski.
Books used for historical reference:
Duffy, Peter. The Killing of Major Denis Mahon: A Mystery of Old Ireland. Harper Perennial, 2008.
Kelly, John. The Graves are Walking: the Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People. Picador, 2012.
Kinealy, Christine. Charity and the Great Hunger in Ireland: The Kindness of Strangers. Bloomsbury, 2013.
Kinealy, Christine et. al. Women and the Great Hunger. Quinnipiac University Press, 2016.
Nicholson, Asenath. Annals of the Famine in Ireland in 1847, 1848, and 1849. E. French, 1851.
O'Rourke Murphy, Maureen. Compassionate Stranger: Asenath Nicholson and the Great Irish Famine. Syracuse University Press, 2015.
Reilly, Ciarán. The Famine Irish: Emigration and the Great Hunger. The History Press Ireland, 2016.
Reilly, Ciarán. Strokestown and the Great Irish Famine. Four Courts Press, 2014.
Scally, Robert James. The End of Hidden Ireland: Rebellion, Famine, and Emigration. Oxford University Press, 1995.