It will be a game changing production when Rough Girls, a new play by Tara Lynne O’Neill, takes to the stage of the Lyric Theatre Belfast 4th– 25th Sept 2021. Proudly supported by Electric Ireland, Rough Girls tells the story of the first all-female football team in Belfast at the end of the First World War.  Featuring an impressive eleven strong female cast, audiences will also have the unique opportunity to sit amongst the action on stage.

Directed by Kimbelery Sykes (recently directed Regent’s Park’s Romeo and Juliet), this ambitious, large-scale production is an original Belfast story based on true events which resonates with the history of the city and chimes with the recent equality movements across the sports industry and the cultural sector.  Live music by Katie Richardson (Good Vibrations) will help recreate the heartbeat of the city at the time.

Set in Belfast 1917-1921 and based on true events, Rough Girls, is the untold story of Belfast women who stepped onto a pitch in society-shocking shorts and footie boots, a ball at their feet and a point to prove.  Rebels with a ball, who kept kicking their way through the outraged defence of a male-dominated game, they raised thousands of pounds for those returning from war.

The Lyric Theatre is delighted that Electric Ireland, a company committed to raising the bar for women’s football locally through their Game Changers NI campaign, is supporting Rough Girls.  One hundred years on since the formation of the first female football team in Northern Ireland, this partnership makes the connection between the magic and skills of live theatre with the magic and skills of being on the pitch.  It also aims to bring a new sporting audience to theatre and sport to an arts audience.

Looking forward to Rough Girls, Jimmy Fay Executive producer at Lyric Theatre Belfast said:
“We are delighted to be getting back to live theatre and what a way to continue our season than with an exhilarating original piece of work from the fantastic Tara Lynne O’Neill. Audiences will be enthralled by this ambitious large scale production featuring an impressive all female cast, directed by the amazing Kimbery Skyes and with live music from the talented Katie Richardson.  Rough Girls will be game changing on so many levels and its perhaps apt that our sponsor for the production is Electric Ireland, who are supporting women’s football at every level through their Game Changers NI campaign. Join us from the stalls or on stage, as we watch theatre and football entwine, as well as journey with these rebels with balls who kicked the way forward for change for women in Belfast and beyond.”

Sponsorship Specialist with Electric Ireland, Anne Smyth, commented:
“Electric Ireland are thrilled to support the
Rough Girls production as part of our wider Game Changers NI campaign which, in partnership with the Irish FA,  supports all levels of girls and women’s football here in Northern Ireland. Live theatre is just magic and we have all missed it, what better way to return than with an original production about fearless women who want to play sport. We want to bring that story to a new audience, bringing the arts to sports fans and sport to arts lovers.”

This production of Rough Girls is generously supported by Garfield Weston and Electric Ireland. The Lyric Theatre is supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funding.

Rough Girls will run at Lyric Theatre Belfast, 4-25 September, 2021. Tickets start at £12 with limited availability for on stage seats. Covid guidelines apply.  Age recommendation: 12+.  For further details visit www.lyrictheatre.co.uk.  Follow Lyric on Twitter and Instagram @LyricBelfast and Facebook @LyricTheatreBelfast #RoughGirls.


GERTIE                                                                                  CAROLINE CURRAN

MRS C                                                                                   CAROL MOORE

SHE                                                                                        TARA LYNNE O’NEILL

DUNCHER                                                                            NICKY HARLEY

TILLY                                                                                      RUBY CAMPBELL

MRS STOTT                                                                         JO DONNELLY

MRS O’NEILL                                                                      CLAIRE COGAN

MOLLY                                                                                  ELOISE STEVENSON

MAGGIE ANN                                                                    CATRIONA McFEELY

MRS M                                                                                 SUZIE SEWEIFY

SPIT                                                                                       NUALA MCGOWAN



PLAYWRIGHT                                                                     TARA LYNNE O’NEILL

DIRECTOR                                                                            KIMBERLEY SYKES

SET & LIGHTING DESIGNER                                          CIARAN BAGNALL


PERCUSSION DIRECTOR                                                 EMMA KING

MOVEMENT DIRECTOR                                                  DYLAN QUINN

COSTUME DESIGNER                                                      KIMIE NAKANO


PUPPETRY DIRECTOR                                                      SARAH LYLE

CAMERA DIRECTOR                                                         SAM O’MAHONY

FIGHT DIRECTOR                                                               LEMUEL BLACK

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