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IFI Ireland on Sunday presents a celebration of Deirdre O'Connell, founder of Dublin's Focus Theatre


IFI Ireland on Sunday presents a celebration of Deirdre O'Connell, founder of Dublin's Focus Theatre

A Tribute to Deirdre O'Connell (1939-2001)


Hold the Passion by Ronan O'Leary  June 20th 1pm


One of the most colourful personalities of Irish theatre in the second half of the twentieth century, Deirdre O'Connell is remembered for her dedication to Focus Theatre which she founded, and her influence on many of Ireland's most well-known actors including Gabriel Byrne, Tom Hickey, Johnny Murphy and Olwen Fouéré - all of whom are interviewed in the film.


O'Connell founded the Focus Theatre in 1963, bringing with her the training in the Stanislavski ‘Method' she had learned at Lee Strasberg's Actor's Studio New York. With the financial support of her then husband Luke Kelly of The Dubliners, Focus moved in 1967 to its tiny permanent home off Pembroke Street, went on to employ and train a generation of Irish actors with a rigorous approach to acting training, and develop a reputation for quality productions of contemporary writers and modern classics.


Hold the Passion is a moving tribute to O'Connell's ceaseless work at the Focus that was filmed just before her death in 2001. The documentary contains some extremely rare footage of Deirdre O'Connell on stage as well explaining her actor training: both a valuable historical record and a film likely to trigger fond memories in many Dublin theatre goers.


IFI Ireland on Sunday is a monthly series of screenings showcasing new Irish film material that provides and opportunity for the audience to discuss the work with the filmmakers. Hold the Passion was directed by Ronan O'Leary and produced by Ann McRory. The screening will include a discussion with the filmmakers and appearances from Michael D. Higgins and Tom Hickey.




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