A new workshop at LJMU will explore Ireland’s revolutionary past through contemporary theatre.

The workshop, organised by Professor of Irish Cultural History, Gerry Smyth, will explore issues raised in a play by award-winning Liverpool-based playwright and musician, Lizzie Nunnery, about the murder of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington. ‘To Have to Shoot Irishmen’, will be playing at the Everyman Theatre for three nights from Thursday 25th October as part of the Liverpool Irish Festival.

Francis Sheehy-Skeffington (1878-1916), atheist, socialist, feminist and anti-militarist, was also a fervent nationalist who longed to see the connection with Britain severed. A rationalist radical who ploughed his own furrow with great courage, he himself agreed that he was a crank –“a small instrument that makes revolutions”. Although he had broken with John Redmond over the latter’s support for the first World War, Sheehy-Skeffington was not prepared to give uncritical support to the republican leadership that was planning violent insurrection. Ironically, his murder during the 1916 Rising, on the orders of a deranged British officer, extinguished an important and distinctive voice for a different kind of non-violent resistance, a vision arguably made all the more vital, but impossible, by the executions of the other leaders.

The session will take place in Room 2.29 in the John Foster Building, Mount Pleasant, from 2-4 pm on Thursday 25th October. It will take the form of short introductory talks by Professor Gerry Smyth and Lizzie Nunnery, followed by group work on short extracts which should be read in advance, and finishing with a plenary of invited speakers.

The session is free and open to all, but please contact Professor Smyth on G.A.Smyth@ljmu.ac.uk for further details and to confirm attendance.