Lay Up Your Ends

The Charabanc Theatre Company

About the book…

In 1983 the Charabanc Theatre Company hit the audiences of Belfast like a whirlwind, bringing hundreds of people out to the theatre who had never been there before. Their first play, Lay Up Your Ends, which told the story of the Belfast mill strike of 1911, was a collaborative effort between playwright Martin Lynch and the five actresses who comprised the company at that stage: Marie Jones, Maureen MacAuley, Eleanor Methven, Carol Moore and Brenda Winter. The play became a legend in its own time and a high point in the Northern Irish theatre of the 1980s for its powerful action, vibrant humour and dynamic staging. It attracted huge national and international attention but has been in danger of being forgotten and disregarded because, until now, it has remained unpublished. With this edition, which includes newly-written material from many of the major figures involved in the production, a critical introduction by Brenda Winter, as well as a generous selection of reviews from the time, Lay Up Your Ends is made available for new audiences to appreciate what made it one of the most important plays to come out of Belfast in the last twenty-five years.

Photo of the author, The Charabanc Theatre Company

About the author…

Charabanc Theatre Company was formed in 1983. It was born out of the frustration of five Belfast-based actresses at, not only the lack of work available to women in theatre, but also the quality of what was available. 

The company initially worked as a team to research, improvise and write plays reflecting the experiences of Belfast women, but also branched out to produce new and existing texts of relevance to audiences throughout Ireland. 

Over the next ten years the company become one of Ireland's most significant independent companies, producing many award winning shows and touring throughout Ireland and around the world. 

As well as Lay Up Your Ends, they also produced several plays by Marie Jones: The Girls in the Big Picture, Somewhere Over the Balcony, Oul Delf and False Teeth, Weddin’s We ‘ins and Wakes. Other productions included The Vinegar Fly by Nick Perry and October Song by Andy Hines and Bondagers by Sue Glover.