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Lyric Players Theatre collection

Collection MS-2002-020: Lyric Players Theatre collection


  • Creation: 1944-2001, undated
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1956-1979

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the activities of the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast. It includes correspondence relating to the operation of the in-house literary magazine, Threshold. Of note is correspondence between editor Mary O'Malley and author John Montague. The collection also contains Ray Rosenfield's collection of the theater's playbills, programs, and publications. Rosenfield was a writer who was a literary correspondent for the Irish Independent and Irish Times and an early mentor of Seamus Heaney.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Historical Note

The Lyric Players Theatre was founded in in 1951 by Mary and P. Pearse O'Malley. The group originally had no permanent home. Instead plays were performed in private residences or other theaters, such as the Abbey Theatre. In 1952 the Lyric Players had a theater built on Derryvolgie Avenue in Belfast. They focused primarily on poetic drama, especially the works of Irish playwrights such as W. B. Yeats and Sean O'Casey. In the late 1950s the theater was expanded to include first a drama school and later a children's theater. The theater moved locations in 1965 to Ridgeway Street, where it still operates today, and poet Austin Clarke placed the cornerstone for the new building.

An in-house quarterly literary journal, Threshold, was established in 1957, edited by Mary O'Malley, with John Hewitt as poetry editor.


Hartnoll, Phyllis and Peter Found. "Lyric Players Theatre." In The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre, Oxford University Press,, 1996.

Rosenfield, Ray. "It all started like this ..." In Lyric Theatre: 1951-1968, Belfast: Lyric Theatre, 1968.

Welch, Robert. "Threshold." In The Concise Oxford Companion to Irish Literature, Oxford University Press,, 2000.


.25 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



Collection of programs and playbills from the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


The collection is arranged into two series: I. Threshold magazine correspondence and II. Printed materials.


Purchased from Emerald Isle Books (2002).

Related Materials

Abbey Theatre collection, MS.1986.135, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Boston College collection of Belfast and Ulster theater and arts, MS.2004.027, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Boston College collection of Sean O'Casey, MS.1986.037, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Robert G. Lowery papers and collection of Sean O'Casey, MS.1996.025, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Lyric Players Theatre Collection
1944-2001 (bulk 1956-1979)
Jennifer McGill-Walker, Summer 2002; revised by Annalisa Moretti
February 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States