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Marie Jones

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Sarah Marie Jones OBE (born 1951) is a Belfast-based actress and playwright. Born into a working-class Protestant family,[1] Jones was an actress for several years before turning her hand to writing. Her plays have been staged on Broadway in New York as well as in Northern Ireland.[2]

Charabanc / DubbelJoint

She helped found the Charabanc Theatre Company, an all-women touring group. It was created to help counteract the lack of roles for women, and which produced a series of collaboratively written original works. The group’s first play, Lay Up Your Ends, based on a strike by mill girls in the early part of the 20th century, was an immediate hit. She remained with Charabanc until 1990 when she left and co-founded the DubbelJoint theatre group in 1991.


She wrote five plays for the Replay Theatre Company, including Under Napoleon’s Nose (1988). The play for which she may be best-known is Stones in His Pockets, a play based on the idea of a Hollywood film company filming a movie in a small Irish village and the resulting impact on that community.[3] This was performed on Broadway to critical acclaim.

She has written a number of stage and television plays, including Tribes (1990), The Hamster Wheel (1991), Fighting the Shadows (1992), Wingnut and the Sprog (1994) and A Night in November (1994). A Night in November, about The Troubles, was performed in London's West End and in New York City off-Broadway. Most recently, she wrote the book for a new musical, The Chosen Room, performed in Belfast in August 2008 by Youth Music Theatre UK. She then wrote Act 2 of this musical, which was staged again the following year in 2009 at the same venue.

Fly Me To The Moon (2012), performed in New York and Belfast, tells the story of Davy, an 84-year-old Frank Sinatra fan and his two carers Francis and Loretta.[2][4]

In 2018 as part of the theatre's 50th anniversary season the Lyric Theatre, Belfast produced the world premiere of 'Dear Arabella' a series of three monologues for three women.

Film roles

As a film actress, she is best known for playing Sarah Conlon in In the Name of the Father, a film about The Troubles.

Plays written by Jones

  • The Government Inspector 1993
  • A Night In November 1985
  • Women On The Verge Of HRT 1995
  • Stones In His Pockets 1999
  • The Blind Fiddler 2004
  • A Very Weird Manor 2005
  • Rock Doves 2010
  • Dancing Shoes: The George Best Story 2010
  • Fly Me To The Moon 2012
  • Dear Arabella 2018


  • 2001 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy - 'Stones in His Pockets'[citation needed]
  • John Hewitt Award for outstanding contribution to culture, tradition and the arts in Northern Ireland[citation needed]
  • 1999 Irish Times/ESB Theatre Award for Best Production[citation needed]
  • Awarded the OBE in 2002[5]
  • Honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from University of Ulster in 2006[6]

Marriage and family

She is married to Northern Irish actor Ian McElhinney. They live in Belfast and have three sons.[7]


  1. ^ Gardner, Lyn (11 August 2004). "The bard of Belfast". Guardian (UK). Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b O'Doherty, Cahir (15 September 2012). "New Marie Jones play "Fly Me to the Moon" triumphant on a New York stage". Irish Central.
  3. ^ Cooper, Neil (2 July 2012). "Something out of nothing". Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  4. ^ Blain, Terence (1 February 2012). "Fly Me to the Moon by Marie Jones (Review)". Irish Theatre magazine. Archived from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ "Fly Me to the Moon". Culture Northern Ireland. 11 January 2012. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ "UU Doctorate for Playwright Marie Jones". University of Ulster website. 20 December 2006. Archived from the original on 25 February 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ McCarry, Gráinne (7 August 2008). "Me and my health: Marie Jones". Belfast Telegraph.
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