Play based on life of remarkable nurse to stream from Newbridge's Riverbank


Play based on life of remarkable nurse to stream from Newbridge's Riverbank

Sister Black by Maggie Hannon will stream on Thursday

Riverbank Arts Centre is presenting an online version of a brand new play by Maggie Hannon, based on the remarkable memoir of Nurse Catherine Black, on Thursday, February 25. It will be the second play streamed by the Newbridge theatre, following their broadcast of Tom Crean last Thursday.

Born in Ramelton, Co. Donegal in 1878, Catherine Black trained as a nurse in England and worked in the slums of Whitechapel, at the Somme in World War 1, and became King George V’s private nurse in the last seven years of his life. Maggie Hannon based her play on Catherine’s own memoirs, King’s Nurse, Beggar’s Nurse along with other materials and war diaries from her time.

Acting coach and former doctor Maggie Hannon came across Sister Black several years ago: “I heard about Nurse Black when I was scoping out the Town Hall in Ramelton with a view to giving acting classes there,” she said. “The administrator Jean Winston showed me a poster of famous people born in Ramelton. Catherine Black was the only woman on it so she stood out! Jean told me her memoir was in the library and I read it there.”

Condensing such an extraordinary life into a 60 minute play was a tough task. “It’s a beautiful book and there are several great stories. It was challenging to pick the stories to tell and also to find her in them. She focuses on other people and doesn’t give a lot of herself away,” said Maggie, who hopes to stage the play in front of a live audience when Covid-19 restrictions ease.

Sister Black by Maggie Hannon is being streamed by Riverbank Arts Centre this Thursday, February 25. Tickets €10. Booking