The Factory Girls

by Frank McGuiness

Arcola Theatre’s 5th Year Anniversary Production

“Not factory women, factory girls. Everyone here is a factory girl. Factory girls never grow old and they don’t fade away”

1982. A shirt factory in Buncrana, Donegal. The livelihood of 5 women is threatened by the recession. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Surprising even themselves, these five women find the strength and spirit to stand up for what they believe to be right. With rapier sharp wit and huge heart, these women pull together as one and take on the might of big business that is just beginning to rear its ugly head.

This stirring, funny and moving play celebrates the strength and vivacity of Irish working women in the face of adversity.

Frank McGuinness – in his first play – took inspiration from his grandmother, mother and his aunts who all worked in the local shirt factories of Buncrana. ‘I was’ he says ‘brought up to appreciate a beautifully made shirt’.


by Frank McGuinessBorn in Buncrana, Co Donegal, in 1953. His plays include The Factory Girls (1982); Baglady/Ladybag (1985); Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (Dublin, The Abbey Theatre,1985); Innocence (1986); Carthaginians (1988); Mary and Lizzie (1989); The Bread Man (1990); Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (1992); and Dolly West’s Kitchen (1999). He has adapted Yerma (Lorca, 1987); Rosmersholm (Ibsen, 1987); Peer Gynt (Ibsen, Dublin, The Gate Theatre, 1988); Three Sisters (Chekov, 1990); and The Threepenny Opera (Brecht/Weil, 1991). He has also written for television, including Scout (BBC, 1987)); and The Hen House (BBC, 1989). His awards include several for Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, including The London Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright; the Prix de l’Intervision and the Prix de l’Art Critique at the 1990 Prague International Television Awards for The Hen House. He has published two poetry collections, Booterstown (Loughcrew, Co Meath, The Gallery Press, 1994); and Stone Jug (Gallery, 2003). He is a member of Aosdána and lives in County Dublin.