Plays by Stacey Gregg


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stacey Gregg’s play Lagan is a kaleidoscope of stories from post-Troubles Belfast, an intimate portrait of the city and its inhabitants. It was first performed at the Ovalhouse Theatre, London, on 26 October 2011.

The play weaves together ten interconnecting monologues, with repeated references to the Lagan, the river running through the city of Belfast. An uptight brass band conductress vilifies her pregnant teenage daughter, whilst her son reluctantly returns to his hometown after making a new life in London. A taxi driver bemoans the influx of immigrants into the city and is father to two wayward children. A woman talks to her son’s ghost amidst the city's scaffolding, while her remaining son unexpectedly falls in love with a young woman. Stories move in and out of focus as the connections between the characters are gradually revealed. And although the spectre of the Troubles looms, Gregg portrays the city as moving tentatively out of those shadows and into a new light.

The Ovalhouse premiere was directed by Jane Fallowfield and designed by Cecilia Carey. It was performed by Kathy Keira Clarke, Pauline Hutton, Sean Rea and Alan Turkington.


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stacey Gregg’s Override is a science fiction play for two performers that explores the impact of technology on the modern world and questions what it means to be human. It was first performed at Watford Palace Theatre on 2 October 2013 as part of the theatre's Ideal World Season.

The play takes place in a rural cottage, an 'unplaceable contemporary space' ('the style might feel retro or bricolage, as though we could be in the 1960s, or 1990s ... As long as we do not feel we are seeing something "futuristic"'). It is, however, a world where using technology to erase one’s imperfections and disabilities is increasingly normal. But Mark and Violet are rejecting those values: they are looking forward to the natural birth of their first baby. Still, overriding the system has its perils, and when one half of the couple reveals that they were ‘augmented’ as a child, the whole relationship is thrown into doubt as their ideologies clash.

The play explores whether people can retain their sense of self in the face of a myriad of artificial augmentations. In the world of the play, the human race has meandered down this path to a frightening extent, but where does one draw the line? And what about using technology to help eliminate birth defects, or disabilities? The play offers no easy answers to such troubling questions.

The Watford Palace premiere was directed by Selina Cartmell and designed by Alex Lowde, with Geoffrey Breton as Mark and Matti Houghton as Violet.


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stacey Gregg’s play Perve tackles the thorny subject of paedophilia and the hysteria that surrounds it. It was first performed on the Peacock stage at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, on 31 May 2011.

Gethin has recently completed a course in film-making and, while his mum wants him to shoot her friend’s wedding video, he is interested in a much more daring project. He sets out to make a documentary about people’s reactions to a self-instigated rumour that he is a paedophile. Intent on proving society's paranoia over the subject, he quickly loses control of the project, landing himself in deep water and threatening his relationship with his family and friends.

The Abbey Theatre premiere was directed by Róisín McBrinn and designed by Alyson Cummins. It was performed by Ciarán O’Brien, Peter Campion, Andrea Irvine, Roxanna Nic Liam, Hilda Fay, Kerrie O’Sullivan and Jane Brennan.


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stacey Gregg's Scorch is a play for a solo performer, telling the story of first love though the eyes of a gender-curious teen. It was first performed at the Outburst Queer Arts Festival, Belfast, in 2015, co-produced by Prime Cut, MAC and Outburst. It was later presented in Paines Plough’s pop-up venue, Roundabout, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, on 5 August 2016, before touring Ireland.

The play is narrated by a teenage character called Kes ('like the kid on the front of that Ken Loach film'), who, though female by birth, has a developing identification with male characters in videogames and movies. When Kes meets Jules online, and the latter believes that Kes is a boy, the two start a relationship. When Jules discovers the truth about Kes, it unleashes a whirlwind of confusion for Kes, and indeed everyone else.

An author's note in the published script states that 'Scorch was inspired by recent UK cases.' Stacey Gregg, in an interview published in The Guardian (27 September 2016), explains that 'These were [court] cases taken by women who had been deceived into thinking they were having a sexual relationship with a man, but discovered that their partner was a woman or, in one case, a trans man. The accusations were of "gender fraud", which for me is a contested term. I thought that the media coverage sensationalised these cases, and this drove me to try to communicate the questions they raised in a more complex way.'

The premiere production was directed by Emma Jordan and designed by Ciaran Bagnall. It was performed by Amy McAllister.

The play won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best New Play and the Writers Guild of Ireland ZeBBie Award for Best Theatre Script. It also won a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stacey Gregg's Shibboleth is a play about working-class life in Belfast, and the impact of a globalised economy on a city divided both physically and culturally. It was co-commissioned by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, and the Goethe-Institut, and first performed during the Dublin Theatre Festival on the Peacock stage at the Abbey Theatre on 7 October 2015.

The play is set in Belfast in the present. A group of construction workers is building an extension to the Peace Wall that separates 'Themens' from 'Usens'. When Polish worker Yuri’s daughter starts having serious problems with her boyfriend, they rally round in support. But good intentions can easily go too far…

In an Afterword to the published script, Gregg writes: 'In 2008 the Abbey Theatre and the Goethe-Institut commissioned me as part of a European-wide response to the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. My subject was the interface barriers that separate communities across our region. Unlike other barriers of international conflict, this wall is generally wanted by the communities around it, restricting movement but not vital supplies, a nuisance to most, an oddity that no one feels strongly enough about to address wholeheartedly. ... Brick by brick by brick by I grew up among the bricks, the sand, the men. Boundaries and no-go zones criss-crossed the landscape of my childhood. ... The play didn’t present itself, but it knew it was a cacophony, chaos and bacon butties and men on a worksite building a wall. I called it Shibboleth, a Hebrew word for words or customs one tribe uses to mark itself apart from others.'

The Abbey Theatre premiere was directed by Hamish Pirie and designed by Paul Keogan. The cast was Piotr Baumann (as Yuri), Rhys Dunlop, Charlie Farrell, Sophie Harkness, Vincent Higgins, Andy Kellegher, Conor MacNeill, Louise Mathews, Jake O’Loughlin, Kerri Quinn and Cara Robinson.

When Cows Go Boom

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stacey Gregg's short play When Cows Go Boom is an oblique parable of love set against a horrific imagined landscape. It was first performed as a rehearsed reading at the Peacock Theatre, Dublin, in 2008 as part of the 20:Love play-reading series commissioned by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

The play explores the devastating effects of an ongoing battle for oil in an unnamed country. The gap between those at the top and those at the bottom is laid bare as a man and a woman attempt to find some sort of humanity amidst the wreckage of their lives. The play references the Niger Delta oil conflict, where local ethnic groups clashed with oil corporations over the country’s resources, and the Shell to Sea campaign, which calls for safe exploitation of the Corrib gas field in County Mayo and a fairer share of the profits for the Irish State.

The Abbey Theatre reading was directed by Rachel West and performed by Emmet Kirwan and Fiona Bell.

Picture of Stacey Gregg

© Nina Sologubenko

Stacey Gregg’s plays include When Cows Go Boom (part of the Abbey Theatre’s 20: Love series of public readings, 2008); Perve (Abbey Theatre, 2011); Lagan (Ovalhouse, 2011); I’m Spilling My Heart Out Here (NT Connections, 2013) and Override (Watford Palace Theatre, 2013). Her first play Ismene was shortlisted for the Royal Court Young Writers’ Festival. She was subsequently on attachment at RADA, and commissioned through Rough Magic’s SEEDS programme to develop Grand Tour. Stacey also writes for the screen and her television work includes Raw (Ecosse Films/RTE, 2011) and Coming Up (Channel 4/Touchpaper TV, 2012). She is Creative Associate at Watford Palace Theatre.