2016 marks the centenary of the Easter Rising, known as "the poets' rebellion", for among their leaders were university scholars of English, history and Irish. The ill-fated revolt lasted six days and ended ignominiously with the rebels rounded up and their leaders sentenced to death. The signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic must have known that the Rising would be crushed, must have dreaded the carnage and death, must have foreseen that, if caught alive, they would themselves be executed. Between 3 and 12 May 1916, the seven signatories were among those executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol. Now 100 years later, eight of Ireland's finest writers remember these revolutionaries in a unique theatre performance. The forgotten figure of Elizabeth O'Farrell - the nurse who delivered the rebels' surrender to the British - is also given a voice. Signatories comprises the artistic responses of Emma Donoghue, Thomas Kilroy, Hugo Hamilton, Frank McGuinness, Rachel Fehily, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, Marina Carr and Joseph O'Connor to the seven signatories and Nurse O'Farrell.They portray the emotional struggle in this ground-breaking theatrical and literary commemoration of Ireland's turbulent past.
A performance introduction on the staging of the play is given by Director Patrick Mason, and an introduction by Lucy Collins, School of English, Drama and Film, UCD, sets the historical context of the play.