An archive of material by and related to the playwright Teresa Deevy, donated by her estate to Maynooth University.
Teresa Deevy was born in Waterford in 1894 and her first staged play, ‘The Reapers’ debuted in the Abbey Theatre in 1930. Throughout that decade a number of her plays were produced by the Abbey. Deevy fell out favour with the national theatre by 1939 and from then on her writing was most likely to be performed for radio – though her work was frequently performed by a range of dramatic groups, both amateur and professional.
While Teresa Deevy passed away in 1963 interest in her work has continued and even grown. Since 2010 the off-Broadway Mint Theatre has been engaged in ‘The Teresa Deevy Project’, reviving her plays to critical acclaim and publishing collected editions of her work.
In the Spring of 2010, Mint Artistic Director Jonathan Bank travelled to Ireland to meet with members of the Deevy family and to see Landscape, the Deevy family home where Teresa was born and spent her final years. Teresa’s papers, which had been stored in Landscape were deposited with the Library, Maynooth University in 2011, for their long-term preservation and so that they could be made available for research.
The items in this collection fall into several categories. The first category is scripts – these include draft and finished versions of Deevy’s performed plays, previously unknown works for the theatre, essays, children’s stories and a treatment for a ballet. Some are complete works, some are fragments. Deevy rewrote and revised plays even after publishing or staging, so dating many of these has been difficult - however dates are provided where possible.
Then there are newspaper clippings. In the main these are reviews of first night theatre performances and they show how Deevy’s work was received by a contemporary audience. Of particular interest is the range of reactions to themes and characters in the plays and how these reflect deeper cultural and social ideals.
The third category is made up of the published versions of Deevy’s writings, these appeared in books of her own collected works, in anthologies such as ‘Irish Writing’ and the ‘Dublin Magazine’ as well as collections of children’s stories and elsewhere.
Finally the archive contains a range of correspondence, highlighted here is a letter from well known literary figure A.J Leventhal.
Not all of the material deposited with Maynooth University is available through this online archive. Some extra material including theatre programmes and scholarly essays are available online at http://deevy.nuim.ie
This entire physical archive is available to researchers in the Special Collections department of Maynooth University Library. Please contact the Library if you wish to consult it. https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/library/contact-us