The rich and colourful story of Alice Milligan

Actor Diona Doherty who will be playing the part of Alice Milligan in the Aisling Ghéar production, A Girl of Genius, during the August Féile and Phobail Actor Diona Doherty who will be playing the part of Alice Milligan in the Aisling Ghéar production, A Girl of Genius, during the August Féile and Phobail
By Ciara Quinn

FRESH from its success at the recent McCracken Summer School. The story of the life and times of one of Ireland’s most extraordinary human rights campaigners is set to be performed at the August Féile.

Aisling Ghéar Theatre Company will bring the story of Alice Milligan – A Girl of Genius to the Cultúrlann on August 6 for two performances only.

Directed by Bríd Ó Gallchoir, the unique one-woman show charts the life of a prolific poet, political activist, journalist and organiser of the Irish language movement in Ulster in the 1920s.

Portraying the character of Alice, actress Diona Doherty told Daily Belfast that it was important to bring her story to life “as it’s one name that doesn’t pop up in as many history books as much as some of the other figures from the era of the 1916 centenary and early 1920s”.

“Alice Milligan was really something of a large personality, her roster of friends included WB Yeats, Arthur Griffith, Maud Gonne and James Connolly to name but a few,” said Diona. “She was heavily involved in the Irish language movement and a lot of eyebrows were raised about this at time, especially as she was born into a unionist, Protestant, middle class family. She was very radical for the time, starting two newspapers and she campaigned tirelessly for the Irish language throughout the country and rubbed shoulders with very prominent figures in Irish history along the way. However, despite all this Alice Milligan seems to be one of the forgotten figures of Irish history, not many people know who she is, who she was.”

Diona continued: “Especially in the year of the 1916 centenary I think it’s very apt that we are doing this play. There has been a lot of retelling of the stories from that time that have omitted the women who did so much. With the newspapers that Alice brought out they were able to reach the working class masses and that was her goal, to educate.”

Alice Milligan – A Girl of Genius will be performed in the Cultúrlann as part of Féile an Phobail on Saturday, August 6 at 2pm and 8pm. Tickets are priced at £6 and £8 and are available from the Cultúrlann.

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