SHAM – Tragedy, comedy and supernatural

GúnaNua Theatre Company presents the world premiere of SHAM, a contemporary take of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, set in Limerick. Written by award-winning playwright Paul Meade and directed by acclaimed actor and playwright, Amy Conroy – the play will look at the complexity of social and economic factors at work in this culture and explores how the characters are trapped within it. SHAM will take place with both live and digital audiences and is designed to be a hybrid live/streamed event with digital technology used throughout the performance. It premiere’s at the Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick on November 17, and after this live run the play will be streamed on-demand for general theatre audiences, and as part of an educational package for schools – via Project Arts Centre, Axis Ballymun and Belltable Limerick in January 2022.

Originally commissioned by Belltable: Connects initiative with a previous staged reading in November 2019: SHAM is a young woman who returns home from her studies in England on the death of her father, to find the home and community she once knew has utterly changed. The play conflates the mythical with the modern in the Ireland of today. Stark and wry in tone SHAM places its central character in a world of tragedy, comedy and the supernatural. In leaving Limerick has SHAM lost her place in the hierarchy of both business and family and which of her old friends can she now trust?

The story unfolds in the middle of a deprived urban estate where she becomes embroiled in the paranoid dynamics of her father’s gang and vows revenge on his killer. Mixing spoken word, poetry and prose this play captures the linguistic energy of it setting while also exploring the social context for the drugs trade in a city context. Inspired by the verse and storytelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this new play will aim to find poetry and music within a violent, secretive and sometimes amoral sub-culture.

Written by Paul Meade and Directed by Amy Conroy and with a cast of 6 stellar performers including Karen McCartney in the tltle role, Andrea Irvine, Aidan Crowe, Karl Quinn and Bláithín Mac Gabhann.

Core funded by the Arts Council of Ireland / An ChomhairleEalaíon


The show will be accompanied by a pre/post show work pack for schools to assist them in decoding the language of theatre and accessing the themes of the play in the classroom.

Suitable Attendance Age is 15+  This production contains references to sex, violence, sexual violence, alcohol and drug use.


CAST: Karen McCartney (SHAM) / Bláithiín Mac Gabhann (Phelia) / Andrea Irvine (Trudy) / Gary Murphy (Audie) / Karl Quinn (Ogle) / Aidan Crowe (Kid)

Director: Amy Conroy
Written by: Paul Meade
Set and Costume Design: Irene Enguita
Lighting Design: Jay Kavanagh
Sound Design: Chris Somers

Video Design: Dominik Kosicki


Amy Conroy, Director

Amy Conroy is an actor, playwright, and theatre maker. Her first radio play, Hold This, was recorded and broadcast on RTÉ Radio One in September 2010. Her first stage play, I ♥ Alice ♥ I, won the Fishamble Award for New Writing in the 2010 Dublin Fringe Festival and has enjoyed sold out runs in the Dublin Theatre Festival, the Peacock stage of the Abbey Theatre Dublin, and has toured extensively worldwide. It is published by Oberon.

Her second show, Eternal Rising of the Sun, won the Best Female Performer Award when it premiered at Dublin Fringe Festival 2011. The show has enjoyed successful runs in the Dublin Theatre Festival 2012, Fringe World in Perth, Australia, and a staged reading in Sydney Theatre Company. In September 2013, Amy and her company HotForTheatre presented Break, which combined spoken word, music and text in Dublin Fringe Festival. Luck Just Kissed You Hello premiered at the Galway International Arts Festival in 2015, concluded a sell out run for the Dublin Theatre Festival later the same year, it was nominated for Best New Play in the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2016 and toured nationally. Her most recent play, The Boy Who Talked to Dogs, a commission by Australian theatre company Slingsby, premiered at the Adelaide Theatre Festival 2021.

Amy has performed in countless production over the years, most recently Citysong, directed by Caitriona McLaughlin (Abbey Theatre and Soho Theatre, London), for which she was nominated as Best Supporting Actress in the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2019, and This Beautiful Village for the Abbey Theatre, directed by David Horan.

She directed Me Sara (Priming the Canon) for the Abbey Theatre, which played in the Peacock and toured nationally, Looking Deadly (Dublin Fringe – National tour) and Here and Now by Veronica Dyas, performed as part of Thisispopbaby’s Where We Live Festival.


Read more about GúnaNua Theatre Company and the playwright Paul Meade at this link on Pinocchio Magazine

STRONGER – Restorative justice and redemption


Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick
Previews: Wednesday 17 November @ 8:00pm  | €18 – €16
Opens: Thursday 18 November @ 8:00pm  | €18 – €16
Runs until: Saturday 20 November @ 8:00pm  | €18 – €16
Belltable Box Office – Tel: 061 953 400 /

Running Time: 2hrs approx.




Social Media:

@GunaNua / @LimeTreeTheatre


@GunaNuaTheatre / @LimeTreeTheatre


@GunaNuaTheatre / @limetreetheatre


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts