Staged production of 'Juggernaut' (2024)

Written by David Sears
Produced by Karen Carleton with the assistance of
Directors Conall Morrison & Thomas Conway

Performed on 8, 9 & 10 February 2024 in dlr LexIcon, Dun Laoghaire

Mark Coen and Aoife Meagher
Mark Coen (Captain Hardy) & Aoife Meagher (Margery Halpin)

In a contribution to the national Decade of Centenaries project, Balally Players presented a forgotten play, David Sears' Juggernaut (1928), in a series of public readings at the Pearse Museum, and the dlr Mill Theatre Studio in 2023. There is more about those readings in the Productions section. This staged production of the play followed in February 2024 at dlr LexIcon, Dun Laoghaire.

The project was supported by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative.

David Sears wrote his play, Juggernaut, in the early 1920’s and entered it for competition in the Tailteann Games of 1928, which it won. It gained a production from Micheál Mac Liamór and Hilton Edwards, the co-founders of the Gate Theatre a year later. Sears was part of a generation looking to bring Irish theatre into line with progressive cultural movements outside the fledgling state. He was also someone profoundly marked by the revolutions at home. He was a student of Padraic Pearse's at St. Enda's and fought in the Easter Rising and the War of Independence. Sears sought, in his play, to reconcile his experiences of insurrection with recent developments in the Free State. He likewise sought for his dramatic writing a mix of the old and the new. What emerges in the tragedy he set out to write is a beguiling mix of the old—in the form of melodrama—and the new—in the form of drawing-room realism.

Kevin Stanton and Aoife Meagher
Kevin Stanton (Captain Dermot Barry) & Aoife Meagher (Margery Halpin)

Sears sets the action during the War of Independence, and centres it around a middle-class family whose immunity from the struggle is shattered with the arrival of a wounded gunman looking for refuge. The dilemma for the family is sufficiently clear-cut for the melodrama of high emotion to play out around it. Should the family lie on behalf of a scoundrel whose actions — a murder and a theft — are in breach of the norms of civilised society they uphold? But, in doing so, are they not themselves betraying the bonds that unite all Irish people engaged in a righteous struggle? This dilemma takes on a more acute dimension when the daughter of the household finds herself in love with an officer in the British Army. She comes to realise that his life will be endangered by the Irish rebel should the secrets he has stolen—a list of British operatives in Ireland—reach his superiors. Her central encounters with the rebel and the British officer, respectively, constitute the heart of the play, and they are dramatized with an emotional and ethical complexity to rival the dramas of Noel Coward and R. C. Sherriff playing in the West-End.

The photography and design for the posters and web banner were by Declan Brennan. To view larger copies of both posters, the following links will open the files in a new tab on your internet browser:

'Juggernaut' in 2024
Mark Coen as Captain Hardy and Aoife Meagher as Margery Halpin. Photography & Design by Declan Brennan.


dlr LexIcon is situated at Moran Park, Dún Laoghaire. It houses a public library - a key community space, a municipal gallery, the Studio theatre space, where 'Juggernaut' was performed, extensive exhibition and performance spaces, a local history level and meeting rooms.

dlr LexIcon was designed by Carr Cotter Naessens Architects. The upper level at Haigh Terrace reconnects to the grounds of the Royal Marine Hotel and includes a pond. The building is clad in a granite, and the Haigh Terrace block is made of red brick set in stone bands. The interior features dramatic views over the Harbour and Moran Park from various angles on levels 3, 4 and 5.

'Juggernaut' in 2024
Construction of dlr LexIcon in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin started in May 2012 and was completed in September 2014. Cork-based architects Carr Cotter & Naessens designed the building, which was built by John Sisk & Son.


The full staged production of 'Juggernaut', which was presented in dlr LexIcon, Dun Laoghaire in February 2024, was directed by Conall Morrison.

Conall Morrison
Conall Morrison

Born in County Armagh in 1966, Conall Morrison is a Dublin-based director and writer. As a director, he has worked extensively for companies such as the Gate Theatre, Abbey Theatre, and Storytellers Theatre Company in Dublin; the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, and Bickerstaffe Theatre Company, Kilkenny. He has also worked at the Royal National Theatre, London, and otehr theatres in England.

He co-directed the two-part drama The Bailout which was broadcast on Virgin Media One television. It was screened to mark the tenth anniversary of the bank bailout, one of the biggest political crises in the history of the Irish State. Adapted by Colin Murphy from his original stage play, it takes us through the corridors of power in Dublin and Brussels to the IMF, ECB, and the US Treasury Department during the chaos of 2008.


The 2023 events were curated by Thomas Conway, dramaturg, lecturer and tutor.

Thomas Conway
Thomas Conway

During his time as literary manager and dramaturg with Druid, Thomas Conway gave dramaturgical support to world premières by Tom Murphy, Enda Walsh, Stuart Carolan, Lucy Caldwell, and Meadhbh McHugh and to revivals of plays by Eugene O’Neill, Martin McDonagh, Sean O’Casey, Tom Murphy, William Shakespeare (adapted by Mark O’Rowe) and Samuel Beckett, among others. He has also adapted Shakespeare’s Richard III for Druid. Dramaturgy for independent theatre-makers and choreographers includes work with Michael Keegan Dolan, Pan Pan Theatre Company, Una McKevitt, Dick Walsh, and Painted Bird—the latter an ongoing collaboration with director, Fiona McGeown, to investigate women’s experiences throughout 20th century Ireland. His most recent project, The Lost Tenement Plays of O’Casey’s Dublin was presented at 14 Henrietta Street, the Tenement Museum, in November 2022.

Thomas Conway has taught acting students from many third-level institutions, including the Tisch School at New York University, Trinity College Dublin, National University of Ireland, Galway and The Lir, National Academy of Dramatic Art. He has been teaching Contemporary Theatre Practices in the Lir Academy's MFA programme since its commencement in 2011.

The photographs in the slideshow below were taken during the dress rehearsal for 'Juggernaut' in dlr LexIcon on Tuesday 6 February 2024.

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Photographs © Declan Brennan


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