The McCooeys was one of the most successful programmes ever made in Northern Ireland. Focusing on the lives of an ordinary, working-class Belfast family, streets across the province emptied every Saturday night as more than a third of the population tuned in to listen at its peak in the 1950s.
Marking the 110th anniversary of Portaferry-born Tomelty’s birth, The McCooeys is presented by Centre Stage Theatre Company – co-founded by the actor-playwright’s daughter, Roma Tomelty – and includes his granddaughter, Hannah Carnegie, as the McCooeys’ eldest daughter, Sally.
Bringing the fondly remembered family back to life are six of Northern Ireland’s finest acting talents – Maria Connolly, Christina Nelson, Patrick McBrearty, Hannah Carnegie, Colin Carnegie and Dan Gordon – directed by former BBC Radio Drama producer Michael Quinn.
Expect laughs aplenty as news of an unlikely marriage causes more than raised eyebrows, Sally’s on-off romance with Leslie McGoogle comes under scrutiny, Henrietta Toosel makes a surprise business proposition, and Granda’s dream of a free holiday is dashed when he loses his winning raffle ticket.
Audiences will be transported to a radio studio where they will see the inner workings of a radio play as it is broadcast live, including the creation of sound effects.
Performances on March 17 and 20 at 3pm will be available free of charge to residential, nursing and care homes. The second live stream (March 20 at 3pm) will be open to a public online audience on March 20 at 3pm (tickets: £10) and will be available online until March 27.
Residential, nursing and care homes interested in either of the free streams should contact Hannah Carnegie at [email protected]
The McCooeys is produced by Centre Stage Theatre Company in association with The Portico of Ards with funding from Community Foundation Northern Ireland. The McCooeys will be staged in accordance with Covid-19 safety guidelines and protocols.