ON McQUILLAN'S HILL by Joseph Crilly

by On McQuillan's Hill in London, England, United Kingdom

ON McQUILLAN'S HILL by Joseph Crilly
We did it
On 13th November 2019 we successfully raised £14,475 with 84 supporters in 69 days

The English premiere of acclaimed Northern Irish playwright Joseph Crilly’s ON McQUILLAN'S HILL at the Finborough Theatre in February 2020.

by On McQuillan's Hill in London, England, United Kingdom

Joseph Crilly's ON McQUILLAN'S HILL is being brought to the London stage for the first time. The play was last performed twenty years ago at the Lyric Theatre Belfast but has since been largely overlooked, and was only recently published after the tragic death of the playwright in 2017.

We are raising funds for a four week run at the critically renowned Finborough Theatre in February 2020.

The Play

Fra Maline, an IRA prisoner, is released early under the Good Friday Agreement to his secret gay lover and disreputable clan. As they gather to celebrate his release inside an isolated community hall, bitter memories from the past are resurrected and long buried lies are calamitously exposed…  

A vicious black comedy played out in rural Northern Ireland from a playwright called “Ulster’s Martin McDonagh” (The Guardian), ON McQUILLAN'S HILL exposes the absurdities of sectarian violence and the corrosive legacies of conflict frequently with humour and always with insight. 

The Creative Team

JOSEPH CRILLY (1962-2017) was an acclaimed writer and actor from Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland. His first play, Second-Hand Thunder, produced by Tinderbox Theatre Company in 1998, won the Stewart Parker Trust New Writing Award and as an actor he appeared in both television (The Bill, A Time to Dance and Bergerac) and film (Resurrection Man, Children of the North and Crossfire). In 2018, The Crilly Trilogy, a volume comprising three of his most acclaimed plays – Second-Hand Thunder, On McQuillan’s Hill, and Kitty and Damnation – was published, featuring a preface by Queen’s University Belfast academic Dr Mark Phelan and a tribute from actor Hugh Bonneville.

JONATHAN HARDEN returns to directing for the stage following a prolific career as an actor, director and producer in television and film. He has appeared in everything from BBC period dramas to Ridley Scott produced Sci-Fi and has directed for stage at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast. Most recently, he directed two short films, Guard and Troubles, which have competed at over forty festivals and won awards including the European Independent Film Award for Best Short Film 2017 and the Northern Ireland Short Film Award for Best Drama 2018.

DOREEN PRODUCTIONS is made up of TOM AARVOLD and LUCY KATE LEE. Tom met Joe Crilly through the Peabody Trust where Joe ran the Well Met befriending scheme, introducing volunteers to some of the more isolated residents and generally taking care of those most in need. Joe was a consummate care professional, but never once mentioned he was also an accomplished actor and critically acclaimed playwright. Having been introduced to Joe’s work through the posthumous publication of The Crilly Trilogy, Tom and Lucy are incredibly honoured and excited to be introducing ON McQUILLAN’S HILL to a new audience.

The FINBOROUGH THEATRE is a multi-award-winning venue, led by Artistic Director NEIL McPHERSON with a focus on presenting thought provoking text-based new writing, as well as rediscovering genuinely neglected works from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Finborough Theatre has an unparalleled track record of maintaining an excellence throughout all their work. 

The Press on Joseph Crilly and ON McQUILLAN'S HILL

“It’s not far short of a miracle, the number of fine playwrights Ireland produces. Here comes another: Joseph Crilly.” The Daily Telegraph 

“I was blown away by the tumbling, lyrical flow of language and the relish of telling a tale. The sheer energy of the dialogue: raw and piercing, adventurous and full of mischievous glee.” Actor Hugh Bonneville

“ON McQUILLAN'S HILL's strength is its unapologetic visceral quality. The viciousness of the story, the wild musicality of the language and the boldness of what Joe’s story challenged – ideals of community and heroism when underneath there was self-delusion, self-aggrandisement and abuse.” Stephen Wright (Creative Director of Two Cities Television, former Head of Drama for BBC Northern Ireland)

The Press on Jonathan Harden

“Harden has crafted a lyrical and disconcertingly tense thriller... More, please.” Irish Times

“Harden's production of The Young Man with the Cream Tarts is the most intriguing production of the year.” Belfast Telegraph

“A master-stroke... the production ideas, values and set-ups are terrific.” The Vacuum

Where Your Money Will Go

All money raised will ensure that the production is of the highest professional standard and that the actors and creative team are paid Equity rates as a minimum. A full breakdown of production costs is available on request. The production is not for profit and costs include:

  • Rehearsal Space & Venue Hire
  • Creative Team & Cast Salaries
  • Set Build, Props & Wardrobe
  • Production Administration
  • PR & Marketing

A Note From Us --

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit this page and for supporting our project, any donations are gratefully received.

The play runs from Tuesday 4th to Saturday 29th February 2020 and tickets can be purchased HERE.

If you have any further questions please feel free to email:



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