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Northern Star

or McCracken's Night Thoughts


  • Playwright

    Stewart Parker 

  • Setting

    A semi-derelict labourer's cottage on the slopes of Cave Hill, just outside Belfast, in 1798.

  • Notes

    The play was originally produced as 'Northern Star or (McCracken's Night Thoughts)'. All subsequent productions have referred to the play as simply 'Northern Star'.

  • Synopsis

    After the "botched birth" of the 1798 rebellion, Henry Joy McCracken struggles to compose his last address to the people of Belfast before he hangs, and recalls the seven ages of his life, from youthful idealism to disillusion and despair. Each age is presented in the style of a famous Irish writer, including Boucicault, Behan and Beckett. In the end, his last words are drowned out by the thump of a Lambeg drum.

  • Play Type

    Plays General

    Number Of Acts


  • Cast Size Male


  • Cast Size Female


  • Cast Notes

    Cast doubling is possible. See original production for details. The original production also featured one musician.


Original Cast  
Peggy Barclay Marcella Riordan (1)
Mary-Anne McCracken Marcella Riordan (1)
Thomas Russell John Hewitt
Second Orangeman John Hewitt
Shanaghan John Hewitt
Gorman John Hewitt
Sergeant of Dragoons John Hewitt
Patrick Hamill Paddy Scully
Wolfe Tone Paddy Scully
McFadden Paddy Scully
Warden Paddy Scully
Interrogator Paddy Scully
Henry Joy McCracken Gerard McSorley
Jimmy Hope Louis Rolston
Girvan Mark Mulholland
Edward Bunting Mark Mulholland
Haslett Mark Mulholland
Mary Bodle Emer Gillespie
Belle Martin Mary Jackson
Cecily Hamill Mary Jackson
Phantom Bride Mary Jackson
Samuel Neilson Liam O'Callaghan
Teeling Liam O'Callaghan
Captain of Dragoons Liam O'Callaghan
Musician Sean Corcoran
Production Team  
Director Peter Farago
Designer Joe Vanek
Lighting Designer Trevor Dawson
Production Manager Trevor Dawson
Stage Manager Rose Morris
Deputy Stage Manager Nick McCall
Assistant Stage Manager Katherine Maeso
Assistant Stage Manager Kim Wiesener
Set Construction Jim Carson
Wardrobe Mistress Jacqueline Berryman
Wardrobe Assistant Christine Sterritt



  • Territory

    All Territories

  • Rights Type

    All Rights

  • Contact

    Alexandra Cann Representation

  • Address

    Box 116, 4 Montpelier Street
    London SW7 1EE

  • Phone

    + 44 (0)7796954969

  • Email


Information for this entry was taken from the original production programme and from the published text.