Jerry O’Neill: publican, playwright, novelist and founder of The Sugawn Theatre

This year’s Irish in Britain Seminar Series concludes next Thursday evening at London Metropolitan University with:

Jerry O’Neill: publican, playwright, novelist and founder of The Sugawn Theatre, The Duke of Wellington, Balls Pond Road

Prof. Ken Worpole, London Metropolitan University

In 1967, Jerry O’Neill, former bank-worker and hiring agent for construction firm John Murphy, took over The Duke of Wellington pub in Balls Pond Road, Dalston. He turned it into a centre of London-Irish literary and musical life, converting the rear snooker hall into The Sugawn Theatre which, among many other achievements, premiered Hugh Leonard’s important play Da. The pub was a meeting place for Irish writers and musicians, and ‘The Sugawn’ a venue for both experimental and popular theatre and music. As well as being a playwright himself, O’Neill was the author of five very fine novels, dealing with the lives of Irish building workers in London, amongst other political and social themes.  Ken Worpole got to know O’Neill in the 1970s, whilst organising poetry events at The Sugawn, and has since been a keen advocate of O’Neill’s important and lasting novels.

Ken Worpole is the author of a number of books on London’s social and literary history, and on architecture and landscape.  He is Emeritus Professor at London Metropolitan University.

Thursday 19 November

6.30 – 8.00 p.m       

 Attendance is FREE and there is no requirement to register in advance.

Room TM1-45, London Metropolitan University, Tower Building, 166-220 Holloway Road, N7 8DB

Tube: Holloway Road (Piccadilly line)

Buses: 43, 153, 263, 271, 393

How to get there:

Over the last three centuries, Irish migration to Britain has been marked by a number of recurring social and cultural characteristics. Personal experiences of migration, however, invariably reveal nuances and differences to these norms and encourage us to continually reassess our understanding and appreciation of what it means to leave one country and go to live and work in another. This year’s seminar series focuses on five prominent public figures in Britain and explores how migration became a formative and enduring influence on the shape of their careers and their sense of Irish identity.

The Irish Studies Centre is located in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at London Metropolitan University and has provided a forum for teaching, learning and research since 1986. The Irish in Britain Seminar Series offers an opportunity for members of the public as well as students and scholars to debate and disseminate the latest research on Ireland, migration and the diaspora.

For further information contact Tony Murray: