The Teresa Deevy Archive

Repository: Maynooth University

Identity Statement

TitleThe Teresa Deevy Archive
Archive ReferenceIE MU/PP/6
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1914-2000
Extent Medium237 items


Creator(s): Deevy, Teresa, 1894-1963, playwright

  • Administrative History ↴

    Teresa Deevy was an Irish playwright known principally for her work with the Abbey Theatre in the 1930s. Deevy was born in county Waterford on the 21st of January 1894. She attended the Ursuline convent in Waterford, where she excelled as a student and went on to study at University College Dublin in 1913. Her plans to become a teacher however, came to an abrupt end during her first year at the University when she contracted Méniére’s disease which left her totally deaf. In 1914 she moved to London to learn lip-reading, and lived there, with her sister, for five years. During this period she became a theatre enthusiast and began writing her own plays in the 1920s. By 1925 she was submitting her first plays to the Abbey Theatre. Her first attempts were rejected by the theatre but she persevered and in 1930 her three-act-play The Reapers was accepted. The play, directed by Lennox Robinson opened on the 18th of March 1930 and was well received by theatre critics. This began a series of extremely productive years writing for the Abbey. Her plays during this period include A Disciple (August 1931), Temporal Powers (September 1932), The King of Spain’s Daughter (April 1935) and The Wild Goose (November 1936). Deevy’s best known play Katie Roche was also written during this period. Her third full length play, it opened at the Abbey on the 16th of March 1936. Katie Roche reflects a theme common in her plays, that of the role of women in Irish Society and tells the story of a spirited young woman trapped in a love-less marriage. The Abbey also toured the play and it was the opening production in an Abbey Tour that visited America in October 1937. However Deevy relationship with the Abbey Theatre was about to come to an end with the rejection of her play Wife to James Whelan (1942). The play was not staged until 1956, when a production opened at the Studio Theatre Club on Upper Mount Street and ran for three weeks. In the intervening years Deevy embarked on a career writing for radio with the BBC broadcasting an adaptation of Wife to James Whelan in 1946 and Radio Éireann the following year. She continued to write adaptations of her plays for the radio through the 1940s, as well as writing original works for radio. Both The King of Spain’s Daughter and In Search of Valour were broadcast on the BBC in 1939 and Within a Marble City won first prize in the Radio Éireann drama competition of 1948. Deevy also wrote reviews and article for a number of Irish publications including Dublin Magazine, Theatre Arts Monthly, The Bell and Irish Writing. She also contributed to a children’s book entitled Lisheen at the Valley Farm and other stories (1945). Deevy returned to live at the family home, ‘Landscape’ in Waterford, after the death of her sister and remained living there until her death in January 1963.
  • Archival History ↴

    The archive was held at the Deevy family home 'Landscape' County Waterford before its deposit. The collection was deposited with the Library, National University of Ireland Maynooth in 2011
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴

    Permanent Loan

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Deevy, Teresa, 1894-1963, playwright ↴

    The Deevy archive consists of a selection of documents relating to Deevy’s work and legacy. It includes correspondence to Deevy from her contemporaries, in praise of her work including Jack B. Yeats and Frank O’Connor. Also includes letters to Deevy’s nephew, Jack Deevy, concerning his aunt’s work and his memories of her (1980-2000).
    Documents relating to her work include theatre programmes from the Abbey Theatre, and Peacock Theatre, scripts from plays including Temporal Powers, The King of Spain’s Daughter, Wife to James Whelan, Light Falling and Within a Marble City, some of which are heavily annotated by Deevy.
    In addition the collection includes newspaper cuttings and reviews of Deevy’s work and copies of some of the published works she contributed to including Lisheen at the Valley Farm and other Stories and Irish Writing.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Accruals ↴

    No further accruals expected
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection is arranged as follows:
    A. Correspondence [1930-2000]
    B. Theatre Programmes [1930-1994]
    C. Dramatic Scripts
    D. Non-dramatic Works
    E. Reviews and Press Coverage

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Open to students of Maynooth University and Saint Patrick's College Maynooth. Open to external readers by appointment. Please contact: library.specialcollections@nuim.iePlease see our website for Reading Room opening hours.
Conditions Governing ReproductionNo reproduction allowed
Creation Dates1914-2000
Extent Medium237 items
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteMaynooth University
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997.
Date of Descriptions2013