Plays by Elaine Murphy

Little Gem

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Love, sex, birth, death and salsa classes. Three generations of women. One extraordinary year.

Little Gem won the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award, 2009, the BBC Northern Ireland Drama Award in Association with the Stewart Parker Trust and the Fishamble Award for Best New Irish Writing.

Amber has fierce bad indigestion and the sambucas aren't getting rid of it. Lorraine attacks a customer and her boss wants her to see a psychiatrist. Kay's got an itch 'down there' that Gem can't scratch. And if all that wasn't bad enough, Little Gem makes his presence felt and – well – life is never the same again.


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

A short play from writer Elaine Murphy, which was originally staged as part of The Fairer Sex play-reading series at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 2009. Ribbons was subsequently given a full production in a double bill with Nancy Harris’ Love in a Glass Jar at the Abbey Theatre in 2013.

Glenda has invited her estranged son, Lewis, over for dinner. After little contact for five years, Glenda has some big news to impart to her son. However, Lewis wants answers to questions that his mother can’t explain. It seems both parent and child have been concealing their true identities – and find it hard to cope when everything starts to unravel.

Ribbons was written the year after Murphy’s smash-hit play Little Gem had premiered and cemented her status as one of Ireland’s strongest new playwrighting talents.


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Elaine Murphy’s follow-up to her international hit Little Gem once again focuses on the female experience and, in particular, the highs and lows of female friendship.

It’s Breda’s birthday, but life’s not been going according to plan of late and she’s in no mood to celebrate. Her department at work is downsizing leaving her to reapply for her own job, her husband’s just left her for another woman and she’s too frightened to get on a plane to visit her only child, Colm. However, her friends Marie, Irene, Ursula and Marie’s daughter, Clare, have gate crashed and they’ve bought cava, Bacardi and a rather disgusting ‘health’ cake. As the night wears on however, Breda’s mask of faux happiness begins to slip. Shush develops Murphy’s authentic conversational style and is an insightful glimpse into the lives of five ordinary Irish women.

Shush was commissioned by and first performed on the main stage of the Abbey Theatre (the National Theatre of Ireland) in Dublin in 2013.

Picture of Elaine Murphy

Elaine Murphy’s debut play Little Gem premiered at the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2008 where it picked up the Fishamble New Writing Award, before transferring to the Traverse Theatre during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Bush Theatre London, and the Flea Theater in New York. In 2009 she was awarded the BBC Northern Ireland Drama Award from the Stewart Parker Trust, the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award and a Zebbie from the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild. Other plays include Shush (Abbey Theatre, 2013) and Ribbons (Peacock Stage at the Abbey Theatre, 2013). Elaine was also chosen as a participant of Six in the Attic, an Irish Theatre Institute Resource Sharing Initiative.