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Ladies and Gentlemen (1996)  My second work for theatre was commissioned by Glasshouse Productions and the Arts Council of Ireland. A memory play in which a vaudeville star on the night of her final comeback relives her two marriages (one to a man, one to a woman), Ladies and Gentlemen is closely based on the life of the late nineteenth-century male impersonator Annie Hindle.

Cast: three women, two men.


Poster for Shee Theatre Company production, 2003



Ladies and Gentlemen is published in Emma Donoghue: Selected Plays (London: Oberon Books, 2015).



Project Arts Centre, Dublin, directed by David Byrne, produced by Glasshouse Productions, 18 April 1996. (World Premiere)

Burtness Lab Theatre (University of North Dakota), Grand Forks, North Dakota, directed by Kathryn O’Donnell, 3-5 December 1999.

Outward Spiral Theatre, Minneapolis, directed by Suzy Messerole, 14 April 2000. (US professional Premiere)

Exit Theatre, San Francisco, directed by Virginia Reed, produced by the Shee Theatre Company, 20 February to 15 March 2003.

Bread & Water Theatre, Rochester, NY, directed by Elizabeth Chacchia, produced by Bread & Water Theatre, 2010.



'Extraordinary love story... she tells it wonderfully: simply, tenderly and eloquently... it grabs the interest, the pace never flags' – Sunday Independent

Ladies and Gentlemen plays wonderful theatrical games, gently blurring the sexual boundaries... a deeply satisfying and moving meditation on life in love and theatre’ –Sunday Tribune

‘A must-see for anyone who enjoys a good, tragic love story, and a sure thing for those seeking the emotional purge of laughter through tears.’ – San Francisco Examiner



Karen Raphaeli, 'The Clothes Make the Man: Theatrical Crossdressing as Expression of Gender Fluidity in Seventeenth- through Nineteenth-Century Performance

J. Paul Halferty, 'Performing politics: queer theatre in ireland, 1968-2017,' in The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance, eds. Eamonn Jordan and Eric Weitz (2018), pp.181-99.

Charlotte McIvor, ' "Albert Nobbs", Ladies and Gentlemen, and Quare Irish Female Erotihistories,' in Irish University Review, 43.1 (2013), 86-101.

Samuele Grassi, Looking Through Gender: Post-1980 British and Irish Drama (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011), 114-15.

Maria Kurdi, Representations of Gender and Female Subjectivity in Contemporary Irish Drama by Women (Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2011), Ch. 2.

Cathy Leeney, ‘Emma Donoghue’ in The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary Irish Playwrights, ed. by Martin Middeke and Peter Paul Schnierer (Methuen, 2010), 73-88 (74-76, 81-86).

Maria Kurdi, ‘Lesbian Versions of the Female Biography Play: Emma Donoghue’s I Know My Own Heart and Ladies and Gentlemen’, in Deviant Acts: Essays on Queer Performance, ed. David Cregan (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2009), 37-54.

Maria Kurdi, ‘Foregrounding the Body and Performance in Plays by Gina Moxley, Emma Donoghue and Marina Carr’, in Irish Literature Since 1990: Diverse Voices, ed. Scott Brewster & Michael Parker (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009), pp.67-70, https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1wn0rxk.8?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=Emma+Donoghue&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3DEmma%2BDonoghue%26so%3Drel&ab_segments=0%2Fbasic_search_gsv2%2Fcontrol&refreqid=fastly-default%3Ae3d93a1b824daccf890c8dee9e1e0a29&seq=1

Maria Kurdi, ‘All the World’s a Dressing-room? Crossing Boundaries and Liminality in a Play about American Male Impersonator Annie Hindle by Irish Writer Emma Donoghue,’ Focus: Papers in English Literary and Cultural Studies (Special Issue on Frontiers, Borderlines, and Frames, ed. Gabriella Vöő (Pécs: University of Pécs, 2006), 126-37.

Kathryn J. O'Donnell, 'The Way We Were (Are): Directing Memory, Gender and Identity in Emma Donghue 's Ladies and Gentlemen,' thesis (U of North Dakota) 2000. Analyses realist and postmodernist aspects of the play in the context of directing a production, and includes an interview. https://commons.und.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1978&context=theses

Emma Donoghue, ‘A Tale of Two Annies’, in Butch/Femme: Inside Lesbian Gender, ed. by Sally Munt (London: Cassell, 1998).