Brian Friel's _The Blind Mice_ at the Lyric Players Theatre


The Archive document of the Month for March is from the Lyric Theatre/O'Malley Archive.

The documents relate to the October 1964 production of The Blind Mice written by Brian Friel. This was the first and only production of the play at the Lyric Theatre and the play has since remained unpublished. The Blind Mice had received its Irish premiere in 1963 at the Eblana Theatre and produced by Orion Productions, which were founded by the late Phyllis Ryan. 

Brian Friel's The Blind Mice (4)

This extensive collection of papers relate to the foundation by Mary O'Malley of the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast in the early 1950's and charts its growth from a theatre based in O'Malley's own house to becoming one of the most important cultural venues in Northern Ireland.

With specific reference to this 1964 production of The Blind Mice, the records of the Lyric Theatre archive contain the original and annotated scripts for the Belfast production, with scripts present marked "Stage Management" (as pictured) "Lighting" and general copy with marked-up text of the play.


Brian Friel's The Blind Mice (3)‌‌


Also pictured here is a manuscript letter by Brian Friel written to Mary O'Malley written just weeks after the Belfast production of the Blind Mice and referring to the September 1964 and original production of Philadelphia Here I Come! saying "The Dublin play went very well. It was one of those scripts that could have fallen flat on its face – and happily did not". Friel continues to outline his beliefs on writing a good satire and states where he falls somewhat short of his own expectations on this.


Brian Friel's The Blind Mice (2)


 In the final paragraph of the letter, Friel wishes O'Malley continued good wishes for the Lyric Players Theatre: "Good luck with the new theatre – it could be great – and that is entirely up to you."


Brian Friel's The Blind Mice (1)

The catalogue of the full Lyric Theatre/O'Malley archive is accessible here